SBA helps figure stimulus benefits

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Internal Revenue Service issued a revenue ruling that addresses how to apply the limitation on the deduction for meals and incidental expenses by an employee truck driver when the driver is furnished by an employee leasing company. For a copy of Revenue Ruling 2008-23, published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2008-18, visit www.irs.gov and search IRB 2008-18.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s revised budget allocated an additional $48 million to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to help small trucking operations comply with regulations aimed at cleaning up diesel emissions from trucks and buses. CARB says the funds will combine with previously allocated Proposition 1B funding to help truckers pay for engine retrofits and replacements that could be required beginning in 2010 if the agency approves and implements planned regulations.

Both deal volume and value in the transportation and logistics industry declined during the first quarter of 2008, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Q1 2008 edition of Intersections: Global Transportation & Logistics Mergers and Acquisitions Analysis. To access the full report, go to www.pwc.com/transport.

TransCore released the findings of its first broker benchmark survey based on customer feedback. The data offers an industry overview with benchmarks focusing on broker operations, business and financials, as well as staffing. The entire report is available on a complementary basis at www.3sixty.transcore.com.

By now, most individual taxpayers have received checks that range from $600 to several thousand dollars depending on marital status and the number of dependents. But the benefits of another major part of the recent economic stimulus package have received far less attention and aren’t so easy to estimate. So the Small Business Administration has launched a tax savings resource center to help businesses understand the benefits.

The economic stimulus law provides a 50 percent bonus depreciation allowance on equipment purchased and placed in service in calendar 2008 and an increase of nearly 100 percent – from $128,000 to $250,000 – in the amount that a business can expense for equipment purchased and placed in service in the business tax year beginning in 2008.

“The stimulus package is designed to spur the economy by putting money back into the pockets of American workers and encouraging small businesses to invest and expand,” said SBA Acting Administrator Jovita Carranza. “However, many small business owners are unaware of how it could boost their bottom line. In the roundtables I held with dozens of small business owners on tax policy, many were amazed to learn how much their companies could benefit from the temporary tax incentives in the package.”

SBA’s tax savings resource center at www.sba.gov/stimulus includes a fact sheet explaining the tax benefits, a depreciation calculator and an online seminar. SBA cautions, however, that due to exceptions and additional requirements, businesses should contact their tax advisers before completing any transactions based on the assumption they will receive the tax benefits.

The Internal Revenue Service also has issued a fact sheet outlining the business-related provisions of the economic stimulus package. To view the fact sheet, visit www.irs.gov and search for FS-2008-21.


NAFTA surface trade up in March
Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners, Canada and Mexico, was 1.5 percent higher in March 2008 than in March 2007, reaching $70.8 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the Department of Transportation. The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 2.0 percent in March from February; month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal variations and other factors. Surface transportation consists largely of freight movements by truck, rail and pipeline; about 90 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moves on land.