Small business owners oppose tax reform proposals

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A majority of small business owners oppose the tax reform plans now being considered by Congress, according to a new survey.

The opinion poll released Monday by an advocacy group known as Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform shows the majority of small business owners oppose the tax plans under consideration in Congress, with 51 percent of respondents saying they oppose the tax plan while only 34 percent support it.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 794 small business owners nationwide on November 17 and 18. It found 52 percent of small business owners indicated the current proposals favor large corporations over small businesses (with just 37 percent disagreeing). Nearly six out of 10 of the small business owners polled (58 percent) said they believe the wealthy and corporations will benefit most from the plan, while only 32 percent think the middle class and small businesses will benefit most from the tax reforms now being contemplated. A 60 percent majority of the respondents indicated they don’t believe the current tax proposals put small businesses on a level playing field with big businesses (only 24 percent believe they do).

While 36 percent of the respondents identified as Republican, 29 percent said they were Democrats and 35 percent considered themselves independent or other.

The current tax proposals cap or eliminate deductions most small business owners can take. The majority of small business owners polled don’t want Congress to eliminate or restrict these deductions: 53 percent oppose capping the mortgage interest deduction and eliminating the state and local tax and the home office deductions in favor of reducing their income tax bracket several percentage points. The poll found 82 percent of respondents take the state and local tax deduction on their federal taxes, 62 percent claim the federal mortgage interest deduction, and 45 percent take the home office deduction.

According to the survey, 37 percent of respondents reported a household income of less than $75,000 per year, while 54 percent reported an annual household income of $100,000 or less.

When asked about the deficit, 61 percent oppose increasing the national debt by $1.5 trillion to pay for tax reform, as the current proposals would do.

“As the owner of a small service business that wouldn’t see a dime in savings from these plans, I hope members of Congress slow down the process and come up with a plan that puts small businesses and the middle class at the heart of tax reform—instead of bowing to America’s biggest businesses,” said Anne Zimmerman, president and CEO of Zimmerman & Co CPAs Inc. in Cincinnati, and co-chair of Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform. "Big corporations, which would see the lion’s share of benefits from these proposals, don’t need the assistance and aren’t creating the majority of new jobs. Small businesses need the help and we deliver the goods. We hire, we grow the economy and we bring value to our communities.”

The survey also found that 58 percent of the respondents oppose a tax bill that would eventually end tax cuts for pass-through businesses such as S corporations, LLCs and sole proprietorships while making corporate tax cuts permanent (although 20 percent said they support it). In addition, 69 percent of the survey respondents oppose permitting corporations to continue to deduct state and local taxes from their federal taxes, but not allowing the owners of pass-through businesses, such as S corps, LLCs and sole proprietorships, to do the same.

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Tax reform Trump tax plan Tax deductions Tax planning Small business