Here are five important things that small businesses need to be aware of looking ahead into 2015.
- Health Care
Small businesses that purchased employee health insurance policies before the end of 2013 are looking at a 10-20% increase in their costs when it is time to renew those policies, says Michael Stahl, chief marketing officer of HealthMarkets Inc. With the new health insurance laws, these businesses will also have to decide on a plan. Policies have experienced significant changes, including the requirement that pre-existing medical conditions now be covered. Some small business owners may decide that it is more economical if their employees purchase their own government-subsidized health insurance coverage.
Companies whose policies took effect January 1 of 2014, and complied with the law, could only see an increase between 5-10% for 2015. Companies with 50-99 employees have until 2016 to decide, and companies with fewer than 50 workers are exempt.
- Internet Security
With the recent news of large companies such as Target, Home Depot, and Jimmy Johns, being hacked and having all of their customer’s information leaked, small businesses are even more prone to hacking. Many don’t have strong Internet security and that should be improved.
Businesses should have software installed that is designed to prevent computer viruses and malware. If companies offer WiFi to their customers, it needs to be a separate entity from their operations. Owners should also consider hiring an Internet security expert who can locate and explain where their vulnerabilities lie, and how to fix them.
- New Technology
New technology is something that small businesses need to be aware of, and on top of. Businesses interested in accepting Apple Pay, the digital payment system linked to the new iPhones, will need to invest in equipment that processes contactless payments. Other new trends that are surfacing include swapping out cash registers for iPads, and other mobile payment apps like Google Wallet, Square Cash, and Moocho.
Small businesses should also look ahead to October of 2015 when credit and debit cards will be required to have embedded chips rather than magnetic strips. This will require updated processing equipment.
- Internet Sales Tax
Congress is currently determining whether it will pass a new bill that would require retailers and other companies to collect sales tax where they don’t have physical locations or brick-and-mortar stores. Under current law, online, phone, and mail-in orders are exempt from sales tax. The legislation has support in the Senate, but faces opposition in the House.
Small businesses believe it will cost them time and money to collect the tax, and they have the potential to lose business to out-of-state retailers who don’t have to collect it.
- Tax Deductions
The size of companies’ 2014 tax bills will depend on if the Section 179 deduction is raised or not. Section 179 allows companies to deduct up-front rather than depreciate the cost of equipment. The deduction was set at $500,000 in 2013 to help businesses recover from the recession; however, it fell to $25,000 this year. The House has voted to set the deduction permanently at $500,000 and Senate leaders have opposed it.
Source: MSN Money