Taxpayer Recovery Program Offers Help to Businesses
The economic downturn has forced many small businesses in Moore County to the brink of bankruptcy this year.
Some have recovered — others haven’t.
The N.C. Department of Revenue is trying to help entrepreneurs get back on their feet through the Small Business Taxpayer Recovery Program, which was launched last July by the department and the N.C. Small Business Commissioners Office.
The program offers penalty and fee waivers, as well as longer-term payment plans to companies that have fallen behind on sales, withholding and other trust taxes.
Trust taxes are the taxes paid by a customer or withheld from an employee and held in trust by the business until they are filed and paid to the Department of Revenue. The following tax types are trust taxes:
Motor vehicle lease and rental.
Sales and use.
Scrap tire disposal.
White goods disposal.
Franchise tax is also included in the program, but is not considered a trust tax.
So far, more than 1,000 businesses across North Carolina have saved almost $7 million in fees and penalties.
All services are confidential and protected from public information requests. But perhaps the greatest upside is the fact that the program runs through June 2013.
“It has helped a lot of businesses catch up,” says Marilyn Neely, director of the Small Business Center at Sandhills Community College. “I can’t name names, but a lot of restaurants have used it. The economy has gotten them a little and they’re behind on their taxes.”
If a business has 10 employees or less, it comes to talk to Neely or one of her 57 counterparts in the N.C. Small Business Center Network (SBCN). Larger companies can get help through the nearest N.C. Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC), such as the one at Fayetteville State University.
“We have everything from restaurants, automotive centers and health care services to landscaping and building companies that are using this program to get back on their feet,” Secretary of Revenue David Hoyle says.
Businesses with 200 or fewer employees qualify for the program and must agree to use the counseling services of the SBTDC or SBCN. Both organizations are available to assist with financial planning and other business needs.
“These are the types of programs that ease regulatory burdens and make doing business with state government more efficient,” Gov. Beverly Perdue says.
The goals of the program include reducing the number of noncompliant taxpayers.
“Most of them are smart people,” Neely notes. “It’s interesting to me because I get to talk with people already in business, which is unusual for me because I’m always advising would-be entrepreneurs.”
Small businesses that qualify for the program will have any penalties and collection assistance fees waived on the aforementioned tax types. In addition, they will receive more favorable payment plan terms than are normally offered for delinquent trust taxes.
Further, the department will not issue liens for delinquent trust taxes included in the program.
There is one caveat: Failure to comply with the terms of the agreement will automatically disqualify you from the program.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at email@example.com.
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