Sen. Hoffman Unveils Next Generation Main Street Act to Help Small Businesses Thrive


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SAINT PAUL, Minn – Tuesday morning legislators unveiled a package of bills designed to eliminate bureaucratic red tape and simplify practices for Minnesota small business owners. Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), a Senate author of the Next Generation Main Street Act says these initiatives will reduce costly audits, simplify tax filing for businesses, and make it easier for owners to transfer their businesses to a next generation owner.

“I hear from a lot of small business owners in my district about red tape and how fixing some of the bureaucratic headaches at the state level would free up a lot of time for them to focus on their actual business. We are trying to build an economy that works for everyone – and small business owners are the backbone of Minnesota’s economy; this package of bills is an acknowledgment of their hard work and contributions to our state,” said Sen. Hoffman.

The Next Generation Main Street Act includes the following:

Supporting Small Business Start-Ups & Entrepreneurs:

  • Make sure that every person that starts a small business in Minnesota is contacted and provided information about the resources available to them to navigate sometimes complicated regulatory requirements as well as potential development loans, grants, and technical expertise.
  • Assist business start-ups with gap financing through the Minnesota Initiative Foundations. These loans can help leverage additional investments in new businesses.

Helping With Succession Planning

  • Provide grants to Small Business Development Centers to provide transaction services to business owners and next generation, non-family proprietors to help them take over a business.
  • Assist with succession planning, helping match rural business owners looking to exit their business with business managers looking to buy and run their own business. This concept has proved successful in Nebraska.
  • Provide additional funding to Minnesota Initiative Foundations who help provide gap financing to maintain existing businesses as they transition to new ownership.

Streamlining Audits:

  • Change statutes so the Department of Revenue “may” rather than “must” assign penalties.
  • Waive penalties for minor or inadvertent compliance issues (less than $50).
  • Not penalize businesses for actions taken in reliance on a previous audit.
  • Authorize the Department of Revenue to issue private letter rulings to allow small businesses to get advice in advance of an audit rather than after the fact.

Simplifying Tax Filing for Small Businesses:

  • Enact federal tax conformity so that Minnesota businesses can file taxes without delay and uncertainty in 2016.
  • Make tax conformity automatic so that the annual uncertainty over what rules apply for state taxpayers is eliminated.
  • Fully conform on section 179 expensing, easing tax filing burdens and providing tax relief to small businesses and farmers on their capital purchases.
  • Simplify sales tax compliance and lower costs by providing a refund for costs that a small business might incur by using a third party vendor or automated system to collect and remit the tax on their behalf.
Senator John Hoffman
John Hoffman represents District 36, which includes portions of Anoka and Hennepin County.

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