November, 2001
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Business Briefs

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

Small Business Resource Guide 2001 available on CD-ROM

Small businesses can research tax questions and access tax products through a new informational tool tool developed jointly by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.

“The Small Business Resource Guide 2001 - What You Need to Know About Taxes and Other Topics” CD-ROM is an interactive tool designed to provide access to all IRS business tax forms, publications and other information necessary to understand and manage tax-related issues.

“Our goal with this new product is to eliminate the time and confusion involved in understanding and complying with complex tax rules and regulations,” said Hector V. Barreto, SBA administrator.

“The Small Business Resource Guide 2001” CD-ROM provides a comprehensive resource directory aimed at every stage of a small business’ life and offers an e-filing video as well as basic tax law training modules. It addresses all small business tax issues from formation to tax filing and reporting responsibilities when starting, expanding, closing or selling a business.

It covers a range of other business tax topics as well, including:

• Special tax rules,
• Required tax records,
• Employer identification numbers,
• Employment taxes,
• U.S. labor laws and
• Pension/retirement plans.

“The Small Business Resource Guide 2001” is available through Internet access from www.sba.gov by clicking on “Online Library” and then “Publications”. Through the Internet, users can subscribe to a multi-agency e-mail newsletter, view updates to the CD-ROM and link to other government agency and nonprofit Web sites. The CD-ROM is also available free by calling 800-TAX-FORM or 800-U-ASK-SBA, or by contacting one of SBA’s Business Information Centers, One Stop Capital Shops, Women’s Business Centers or Small Business Development Centers. All locations are listed at www.sba.gov/services.

For more information about all of the SBA’s programs for small businesses, call the SBA Answer Desk at 800-U-ASK-SBA or TDD 704-344-6640. Also, visit the SBA’s extensive Web site at www.sba.gov.

E-Government examined

According to a study issued by the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University, “State and Federal E-Government in the United States, 2001”, both state and federal e-government services are improving in the U.S. E-government was defined as the delivery of government information and services online through the Internet or other digital means. The study included data from 1,680 state and federal government Web sites.

The biggest improvement was in the access to publications online, with 93 percent available in 2001, up from 74 percent in 2000. Twenty five percent of the sites offered services that were fully executable online, which was slightly up from 22 percent last year. Filing income taxes was the most frequent online service followed by being able to order publications online, filing complaints, filing vehicle registrations and ordering hunting licenses.

Although there is a long way to go, strides have been made in online security policies. In 2001, 28 percent have some form of
privacy policy online, up from 7 percent in 2000. The numbers were down in government response to sample e-mail queries, with 80 percent responding, compared with 91 percent responding last year.

Overall, the federal government did a better job than state governments in offering services and information online. Top rated federal sites included those by the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture,  Department of Housing and Urban Development, Internal Revenue Service,  Department of Education, Consumer Product Safety Commission,  and the Small Business Administration.

States varied widely in their ratings. The highest rated included Indiana, Michigan, Texas, Tennessee, Washington, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.