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22 PalletCentral • January-February 2015 hallenges to companies in the wood pallet industry are numerous. Issues in 2014 were unresolved; the same issues are likely to be the focus for 2015. It's not too soon to start addressing them. Here are five areas of key concern: 1. Tax reform With a change in the makeup of Congress, there may be comprehensive tax reform impacting your business. Look for changes affecting: • Tax rates. If the top corporate tax rate declines as favored by just about everyone, similar rate reduction may apply to business owners of pass-through entities (e.g., S corporations; limited liability companies). This could leave more money in your pocket to reinvest in your company. • Equipment purchases. You need machines and other equipment to run your business efficiently. Maybe you need to replace outdated machines or are looking to automate some operations. The cost of required machinery can be expensive but tax law write-offs help defray the cost. Favorable tax rules enabling sizable upfront deductions (instead of depreciating the cost over five years, seven years or longer periods keyed to the type of equipment) could be extended or made permanent. Plan your purchases for 2015 with tax deductions in mind. 2. Immigration Businesses can only employ workers who are legally allowed to work in the U.S. Presidential action has effectively expanded the pool of legal workers, and Congress may also address immigration questions. Comprehensive immigration reform could add burdens on employers nationwide, such as mandatory use of E-Verify (, which is currently a voluntary way for employers to ascertain through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) whether an individual is legally able to work in the U.S. It's already mandatory for employers in some states. 3. Health care obligations Businesses want their staff to be healthy. While the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate requiring companies with 50 to 99 employees to offer coverage for full-timers or suffer a penalty was postponed until 2016 (2015 for those with more than 100 employees), now is the time to settle your health care obligations. • Are you subject to the mandate? This isn't simply a body count; you need to figure both full-time employees as well as full-time equivalent employees by adding up hours for part- timers. IRS guidance ( ) can help you make this determination. Your 2014 payroll is the basis for determining whether you are subject to the employer mandate in 2015; your 2015 payroll determines the count for 2016. • Can you afford to pay for coverage? While most small businesses want to provide health coverage for their staff (and FINANCE C 5 Business and Tax Issues Facing Your Business in 2015 Guest Editorial by Barbara Weltman

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