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One provision of the new healthcare reform legislation may
significantly influence the administrative burdens of your business
unless the IRS interprets it in a way that recognizes the
challenges of small business. As of now, the legislation
states that, beginning in 2012, if you pay any person or
corporation more than $600 in a year for goods or services with
cash or a check, you must report that to both the IRS and the
entity or person whom you paid with a 1099 form.
In the past this only applied to services from unincorporated
individuals or enterprises. But under this new provision, for
example, if you bought $600 worth of toner cartridges from a big
box store with cash or credit, you would have to issue a 1099 to
the company from which you made the purchase (and if you were on
the receiving end, you would need to report the 1099 transactions
separately from gross revenues, presumably).
The IRS seems to be developing an exemption for credit and debit
card transactions, although it has not yet been finalized.
The good news is that the IRS has asked for comments
from the public. Please copy and paste the sample letter
below, edit it as you choose (adding the strength of your reaction
or personal examples, though in civil terms) and email it to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure that the
subject line of your email references Notice 2010-51and note that your email must be sent by September
We understand the government's desire to track cash
transactions, but the current system would impose an unacceptable
record-keeping and reporting burden on small businesses like
Don't hesitate to copy your Senators and Congressperson, with a little “Save small
business! Help us!” note or something similar.
Thank you for your support (and your membership in AIGA).
Subject: Notice 2010-51
I am a creative professional
operating in a small business environment. We believe there are
approximately 140,000 other designers operating as small businesses
or within small studios in the United States.
Notice 2010-51 reports amendments to
Section 6041 that would increase the record-keeping and reporting
responsibilities of my business beyond our current capacity and
would increase our costs as a small business. To this extent, we
believe this would be a burden that outweighs the revenue potential
of the action, would stifle growth in this sector in these economic
times, and would impose an inequitable burden on small
The two elements of the amendment
that are onerous are the need to report purchases of “property,”
(which would appear to include all goods), and the extension of the
reporting requirements to purchases from incorporated entities.
The proposed exemption for credit and
debit card transactions was a great step toward reducing the impact
of this change in the tax code. Unfortunately, it does not go far
Every small studio makes regular
purchases of supplies, printing, paper and equipment in excess of
$600 and may often pay by cash or check. If all purchases are made
by credit cards to avoid the reporting requirements, it can reduce
the credit available for typical working capital requirements of
We respectfully recommend that you
take steps that will not diminish the vital role that small
business plays in generating economic activity, productive
employment and innovation by proposing rules that:
Set the threshold reporting level at $5,000
Exempt reporting requirements for small businesses with 25 or
Establish the exemption for credit and debit cards
Limit the requirement to staffing expenses
Thank you for considering our
position. Adopting of any of our recommendations, if not all, would
reduce the burden.
[your name, contact info and address]
Richard Grefé is the executive director of AIGA, the professional association for design. While guiding all of AIGA’s activities, his most significant contributions are in strategy, formulating new initiatives to enhance the competitive success of designers
and advocating the value of design to business, government and the public.
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