Stimulus Act: Some hidden benefits for businesses and HR

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Buried deep in the 1,079 pages of the Recovery Act — and its $787 billion —  are a few gems for small and midsize businesses, and maybe a few ideas for HR managers to discuss with their financial officers.
A spotcheck of the act shows:

  • A tax credit for businesses that hire disadvantaged workers like veterans and “disconnected youth” — defined as those who are not in school or working. If you’re considering doing some hiring in the upcoming year, you may want to put some emphasis on considering qualified people in those categories. And the measure could give you some leverage for hiring that you might not have otherwise.
  • A provision that increases guarantees for loans your company takes with the Small Business Administration. Some companies can turn those guarantees into a line of credit used for expansion or as a bridge to a time when cash flow increases.
  • A provision that allows businesses to deduct up to $250,000 for capital investments. There’s a catch here: Your company can take the deduction only in years that show a profit. So there’s no deduction if the company shows a loss.
  • A 50% bonus deduction on capital investments made in 2009 that normally would be deducted over many years. Of course, the catch there is that your company has to make the capital investments — at a time when a lot of employers are struggling to stay above water.
  • A measure allowing companies to use losses from 2008 to offset profits made as far back as six years ago. If eligible, your company would get an immediate refund. Two catches: 1. It’s only for 2008. 2. It’s limited to companies with annual revenues of  no more than $15 million.

By the way, the draft text and conference reports — complete with handwritten scribbles by members of Congress and their staff — is available here.