Support Municipal Tax Reform: Take Action Today

COSE continues to support the passage of House Bill 5 (HB 5) based on its ability to simplify municipal tax reporting and improve the ability of small businesses to more easily comply. After more than a full year of hearings in Columbus, the Ohio General Assembly is creeping ever-so-closely to approving meaningful municipal tax reform. On Wednesday, November 19, COSE submitted written testimony to the Ohio Senate Ways & Means Committee in support of HB 5, urging elected officials to act. 

COSE continues to support the passage of House Bill 5 (HB 5) based on its ability to simplify municipal tax reporting and improve the ability of small businesses to more easily comply. After more than a full year of hearings in Columbus, the Ohio General Assembly is creeping ever-so-closely to approving meaningful municipal tax reform. On Wednesday, November 19, COSE submitted written testimony to the Ohio Senate Ways & Means Committee in support of HB 5, urging elected officials to act. 

It’s no secret that it can feel like a constant battle for a small business owner to ensure that there is enough time to devote to the variety of issues and challenges that proprietors face on a daily basis. As small businesses continue to grow and engage in operations outside of their primary location, many encounter differences in municipal tax deadlines, definitions, and forms. Ohio has one of the most complex municipal income tax structures in the country – with nearly 600 local jurisdictions that have their own unique requirements – and the current system can be costly and difficult to follow for a business of any size. While taxes are a necessary revenue stream for political subdivisions to provide crucial services, the complexity of abiding by inconsistent rules detracts from the time, attention, and financial resources an owner could be devoting to maintaining and growing their business. Simplifying the municipal tax code would add much-needed relief to small businesses, who can then redirect their efforts to areas that will result in the advancement of their work and contribute to the economic growth for our state. 

In anticipation of a potential vote on municipal tax reform, we encourage you to contact your State Senator today and encourage them to vote “YES” in support of HB 5.  Urge your State Senator to include the following provisions in the final version of HB 5 in order to improve the economic climate in Ohio for small businesses:

1. Establish a five-year net operating loss (NOL) carry forward period.  The use of carry forwards would be delayed until 2017 and limited to 50% of the available NOL for five years.  With close to 600 local jurisdictions, carry forwards vary considerably but the majority of jurisdictions permit a five-year NOL carry forward.  A uniform NOL policy would improve Ohio’s ability to compete in the marketplace and reduce tax liability for many small businesses that drive our economy.

2. Adjust the occasional entrant rule from twelve days to twenty days.  The employee would not be exempt from paying taxes during the twenty days but instead would pay taxes to the city where the employee’s principal place of work is located.  This would ultimately help cut compliance costs for small businesses.

3. Tax pass-through entities (PTEs) at the entity level.  Individual owners would be subjected to taxation only in their resident city and receive a credit for taxes paid by the entity to other cities.  Currently, the income of a PTE is taxed at the owner level for federal and Ohio income tax purposes.  For municipalities, however, it is more complicated for a small business owner to understand and comply with because it varies across local jurisdictions with regard to the tax on net profits of the business, the tax on the owner with respect to the income of the business, and whether the owner is resident or non-resident.

4. Create a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” to create uniform audit and appeal procedures which would lower costs of compliance and administration and ensure fair enforcement.  It would also establish uniform due dates for all municipal tax returns and withholding requirements for all employers, simplifying the process and providing for equal treatment.

COSE is a proud member of the Ohio Municipal Tax Reform Coalition, comprised of 33 groups representing businesses and professionals.  For more information on House Bill 5 and to learn more about ways you can act today click here. For questions about how to make your voice heard regarding municipal tax reform or other issues impacting you, contact COSE's Advocacy team at advocacy@cose.org.

Tweet your story at @cosesmallbiz @OHMuniTaxReform #COSEadvocacy


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  • Next up: Taking Good Care Ensures Good Customers

    Taking Good Care Ensures Good Customers

    Here’s a true story: A friend of mine went into a business with a firm idea of what he wanted in the configuration he desired. The salesman made no offer to find the exact product.

    Taking Good Care Ensures Good Customers

    Here’s a true story: A friend of mine went into a business with a firm idea of what he wanted in the configuration he desired. The salesman made no offer to find the exact product.

    #1 On the contrary, he tried to talk my friend into something else.

    #2 So, my friend left the business. He went to another dealership that sells the same thing. They didn’t have the exact product on hand but the salesman searched and found it. They schedule an appointment to sign the paperwork. That meeting was set for 5pm the following day. My friend arrived on time for the meeting but was kept waiting until 6:30. 

    #3 Yes, that’s right – an hour and ½ later. They finally got the deal done but my friend was less than thrilled. He now knows he will never do business there again.

    As I said, this is a true story. Unfortunately, it is NOT unfamiliar. I’m sure you’ve heard or experienced something similar. While I run the risk of stating the obvious, these are not the ways to build customer relationships.

    #1 Failure to find the exact product

    When you sell something that comes in multiple configurations or with several options it is unrealistic to expect you to have every combination on hand at all times. However, you either can or can’t provide exactly what the prospect wants. The way to build relationships is to get them what they want when you can.

    When you can’t, tell them and point them toward someone who can.

    #2 Don’t try to talk them into something else

    The message you send is that you don’t appreciate the client. It’s disrespectful. You aren’t validating them. People want to be respected, listened to, and validated.

    You also invalidate your product. You are, in essence, saying that one item is just as good as another. If that were true, why offer more than one option?

    #3 Don’t keep the client waiting.

    Speaking of disrespect! Your client’s time is valuable. Frankly, your client is valuable. When you have an appointment with someone, keep it. If you are running late, call them and let them know that. Reschedule it if you have to.

    The main theme here is respect. The way to build good client relationships is to first, last and always respect your client. Respect their taste, their needs and wants, their time, and their value to your business. Remember, without them, you have no business!

    In the end these are really simple things that anyone, and everyone, can implement immediately. The payoff is tremendous. Think about how you can take good care of your prospects so they turn into good customers. Learn the lessons from the mistakes of others – the ways they DIDN’T take good care of their prospects.

    Copyright© 2015 Seize This Day Coaching

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  • Next up: Target Your Most Profitable Customers

    Target Your Most Profitable Customers

    All customers are not created equal. Some are more profitable than others. Focusing on those customers who are more profitable can mean a big bottom-line increase for your business. But how do you do that? Jeff Susbauer, co-developer of the COSE Strategic Planning Course, has identified three key steps businesses should take to find out the answer to that question.

    All customers are not created equal. Some are more profitable than others. Focusing on those customers who are more profitable can mean a big bottom-line increase for your business.

    But how do you do that? Jeff Susbauer, co-developer of the COSE Strategic Planning Course, has identified three key steps businesses should take to find out the answer to that question.

    Step 1: Know your own cost.

    At the end of the day, Susbauer says, customers don’t care in the least what your costs are. They just want to satisfy their own needs. This means it’s up to the individual business to keep a watchful eye over its own cost structure. 

    All businesses should ask these questions of themselves, Susbauer says: “Can you fulfill customer needs with the cost structure that’s in place? Does that cost structure enable you to make a profit?”

    Step 2: Understand what the competition is doing.

    If the business down the street is selling the same thing you are for less than you are, you will probably be in trouble when that business starts going after your customers. What are your options if this happens? Susbauer says in addition to changing your cost structure, you can also improve the perceived value of what you’re offering.

    How do you do that? It could be as simple as offering a “buy one, get one” deal, coupons, or a free consultation.

    Step 3: Know your market.

    As hard as you might try, you’re never going to be able to take down Wal-Mart, Susbauer says. The retail giant can afford to lose money by selling below cost. You can’t. What you can do is know your own market inside and out. You should have a laser-like focus on those customers who meet what you have to offer. Figure out who those customers are and go after them.

    “Sales are vanity,” Susbauer says. “Profits are sanity.”

    The COSE Strategic Planning Course is a six-month, results-oriented process that delivers concentrated executive-level business education and exceptional networking
    opportunities. The course is designed to help you overcome obstacles while building the foundation to take your business to the next stage. Learn
    more at www.cose.org/spc

    This article originally appeared in the August 31, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.


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  • Next up: Tech Growth CEO Perspectives

    Tech Growth CEO Perspectives

    All businesses go through various stages, such as start-up – growth – maturity. Tech companies are no different, albeit with a few nuances. But growing a tech company is nonetheless challenging: adding and integrating talent, staying on top of rapidly changing trends, finding funding and more. How have your peers, running successful, growing tech companies done it? What are some secrets to successfully growing a tech company in the CLE? 

    All businesses go through various stages, such as start-up – growth – maturity. Tech companies are no different, albeit with a few nuances. But growing a tech company is nonetheless challenging: adding and integrating talent, staying on top of rapidly changing trends, finding funding and more. How have your peers, running successful, growing tech companies done it? What are some secrets to successfully growing a tech company in the CLE? 

    Sharing their insights are: 

    • Ron Crowl, CEO - FeneTech. FeneTech, offers an ERP solution specifically targeted to the glass making industry. Winner of NEOSA’s Best Emerging Company award in 2011, the company expanded internationally several years ago and has dramatically grown sales in the past several years. 
    • Mark Woodka, CEO – OnShift. OnShift offers scheduling and staff management software for the healthcare industry. Winner of Best Emerging Company in 2010, and Best Software Product Finalist in 2012, the company has steadily grown sales and attracted significant capital investment.

    Listen here.


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  • Next up: Tech Growth CEO Perspectives

    Tech Growth CEO Perspectives

    AJ Hyland, CEO of Hyland Software, and Steve Potash, CEO of OverDrive, share stories from their early days with a fast forward to current challenges for a more mature tech company.

    All businesses go through various stages, such as start-up – growth – maturity. Tech companies are no different, albeit with a few nuances. But growing a tech company is nonetheless challenging: adding and integrating talent, staying on top of rapidly changing trends, finding funding and more. How have your peers, running successful, growing tech companies done it? What are some secrets to successfully growing a tech company in the CLE?

    AJ Hyland, CEO of Hyland Software, and Steve Potash, CEO of OverDrive, share stories from their early days with a fast forward to current challenges for a more mature tech company.

    Listen here.


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  • Next up: Tech Growth CEO Perspectives II

    Tech Growth CEO Perspectives II

    All businesses go through various stages, such as start-up – growth – maturity. Tech companies are no different, but with certain, definite nuances. Growing a tech company comes with unique challenges: attracting/retaining talent that’s in short supply, staying on top of rapidly changing trends, funding product development, honing the value proposition and more. 

    All businesses go through various stages, such as start-up – growth – maturity. Tech companies are no different, but with certain, definite nuances. Growing a tech company comes with unique challenges: attracting/retaining talent that’s in short supply, staying on top of rapidly changing trends, funding product development, honing the value proposition and more. 

    How have your peers, running successful, growing tech companies done it? How have they overcome challenges and successfully grown a tech company in the CLE? 

    As President and CEO, Chuck Rotuno has guided OEConnection's success, and respected industry position, since the company's formation in December, 2000. Chuck has taken the company from a single product start-up to a nationally recognized leader of comprehensive e-commerce solutions for the automotive original equipment parts marketplace. 

    Serial entrepreneur Greg Clement has been building and growing successful businesses for more than a decade. Since 2007, Greg has led Realeflow, which creates software designed to assist with real estate investing. Greg has led the organization from product conceptualization and development to making Realeflow the country’s largest SaaS company in that real estate investing niche.

    Listen here.


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