More Small Businesses Seeking Tax Help
(Wall Street Journal) — For the first 15 years that the Cheshire Cat, a gift shop in Grayslake, Ill., was in business, owners Sherri and Scott Comstock managed their own tax paperwork with minimal professional help. Today, they spend $40,000 a year for an in-house bookkeeper and $6,000 annually for an outside accountant. “There is no way a small-business owner could track [the tax code] and run their business,” says Ms. Comstock. “There are not enough hours in the day.” As financial-reporting rules fluctuate, small-business owners say they must increasingly invest in professional accounting support. Many are also bracing for the onslaught of 1099 forms they’ll need to file in 2012 if a new tax regulation that was tucked into last year’s health reform isn’t repealed. Over the past decade, the tax code has ballooned in size, to its current 3.8 million words from just 1.4 million in 2001, according to the Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Advocacy. As the economy has weathered two recessions, lawmakers have shepherded numerous packages of temporary tax relief through Congress – from patches for the fluctuating Alternative Minimum Tax to limited extensions of the Bush tax cuts – averaging about one revision a day to the tax code.