Government regulatory relief
It’s hard enough to attract customers and make sales, hire and manage employees, and pay your bills.
Small businesses must also comply with government regulations of which there are thousands upon thousands, and more are on the way. According to last year annual report on federal regulationsof the 3,852 federal regulations in the works, 635 would affect small businesses.
You probably lack the staff to keep up to date with all new regulatory issues or have the funds to pay for outside assistance to help you stay compliant. You again to have to do what the law requires or you risk fines, penalties, interest and the risk of bankruptcy.
What do you have to do ?
Monitor developments through trade associations and other venues. But if you’re having trouble, learn which federal agencies can provide you with free help when you need it.
Office of the SBA National Ombudsman
The Office of the National Ombudsman, part of the SBA, is authorized to assist small businesses with complaints about federal regulatory practices and actions. If you have been subject to federal action against your company for regulatory violations, the bureau can help you reduce excessive fines.
For example, a few years ago, a small business was fined $515,968 by the Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly violating the Clear Air Act. The The Office of the National Ombudsman was able to help the parties reach a reasonable settlement without litigation. If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, the office can help you resolve contract disputes and help you receive federally owed payments that have been delayed.
By law, the federal agency involved in your issue is required to respond to the Ombudsman within 30 days of receiving a communication.
- How to contact the National Ombudsman: Call toll-free at 888-REG-FAIR (734-3247) or email [email protected]
Learn more about the Office of the National Ombudsman. Don’t confuse this office with the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, which ensures that proposed regulations are fair to small businesses.
Taxpayer Defense Service
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent office within the IRS responsible for ensuring that taxpayers are treated fairly. If you have a tax problem with the IRS that you haven’t been able to resolve, CAS may be able to help you…no guarantees.
For example, the TAS can help a small business receiving a refund of levy proceeds or resolving tax issues when a third-party payroll provider illegally retains employment taxes instead of remitting them to the IRS.
A few years ago I approached them on behalf of a client and had a favorable outcome (attorney-client privilege prevents me from divulging details).
There are TAS offices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. There is a TAS qualification tool which you can use to see if your situation is suitable for TAS assistance. You can determine this in 3 ways: financial hardship, problem with the IRS system, or fair and equitable treatment.
- To note: Due to IRS processing issues for 2020 returns, it is unlikely that TAS will be able to assist you with tax refunds or other questions on an unprocessed return.
- How to contact the CAS: Select your state then call the toll-free number of the office near you.
Stay in business long enough and you may run into a regulatory problem. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t easily solve the problem. Be persistent. But if efforts fail, contact a government office that can help find a solution and save you money along the way.