It looks as if 2006 is going to be a pleasant year for local business owners, according to a recent survey that found a large number of respondents expect to see increased sales and employee numbers.
The survey was conducted by San Diego-based TEC International and polled more than 1,600 chief executive officers of small to midsized businesses, including several in San Diego. It is done on a quarterly basis.
More than 60 percent of those surveyed expect to increase payrolls during the next 12 months, while only 5 percent will decrease payrolls. Of those planning to hire, one-third will hire steadily throughout 2006, an additional 30 percent will increase employee numbers in the first half of the year. Also, more than 80 percent of respondents say that they will see an increase in revenues during the next 12 months.
The survey results were significantly more optimistic than those found in an identical survey conducted in the third quarter, when several local business owners preparing to craft their 2006 budgets said that high gas prices would adversely affect their plans in the new year.
“Prospects for the economy have improved substantially from the lows recorded immediately following the Gulf Coast hurricanes and the surge in gas prices,” said Richard Curtin, a consultant for the TEC International survey and director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan.
While last fall, nearly half of all survey respondents chose the cost of oil and gas as their No. 1 economic concern, only one-fifth felt the same in the fourth-quarter survey, which found the current No. 1 economic concern among small to midsized business owners to be rising interest rates and the rising deficit.
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There’s good news this month for small-business owners used to filing quarterly returns with little to no employment tax due with the Internal Revenue Service.
The IRS announced that as of Jan. 1, employers fitting that description would no longer have to file quarterly returns. Instead, those eligible employers could make a single payment on those dues annually. By “little to no employment tax,” the IRS means employers with an estimated annual employment tax liability of $1,000 or less. The agency plans to notify eligible employers by mail between Feb. 1 and 15.
“This is just one more burden reduction step the IRS is taking to make it easier for small-business employers to comply with the tax laws,” Small-Business Commissioner Kevin Brown said. “Replacing four quarterly forms with one annual form is a significant benefit for small-business taxpayers.”
The new form that will be used by small-business owners switching from quarterly to annual filings will be available online at irs.gov by Jan. 31.
Send small-business news to Jessica Long at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can also be reached at (858) 277-6359, Ext. 3114.