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Financial Education


  • Submitted on 11 February 2015

    Created on February 11, 2015
     

    The Internal Revenue Service has announced the launch of a new, online public directory of tax return preparers.

    Tax HelpThis searchable directory on IRS.gov will help taxpayers find a tax professional with credentials and select qualifications to help them prepare their tax returns.

    “This new directory will be a practical tool for the millions of Americans who rely on the services of a paid return preparer,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers can also look to these tax professionals for help if they have questions about the new health care provisions on this year’s tax forms.”

    The directory is a searchable, sortable listing featuring:  the name, city, state and zip code of attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents and those who have completed the requirements for the voluntary IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). All preparers listed also have valid 2015 Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN).

  • Submitted on 23 December 2014

    Created on December 23, 2014
     

    Did you know that the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program has been helping small business access capital for more than fifty years?

    What’s the SBIC Program?

    The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program is a multi-billion dollar program that, in fiscal year 2013 alone, invested $3.5 billion in financing dollars to small businesses! So how does it work?

    SBIC flow chart depicts private investor funds and SBA funds funneling into SBICs funneling into small businesses

    SBICs are privately owned and managed investment funds. They’re licensed and regulated by SBA and use their own capital plus funds – borrowed with an SBA guarantee – to make equity and debt investments in qualifying small businesses.

  • Submitted on 19 December 2014

    Created on December 19, 2014
     

    Business CreditBuilding business credit is just as important as building and taking good care of one’s personal credit. In the business world, a company does not have a consumer FICO® Score. Instead, it has business credit scores, ratings maintained and calculated by business credit reporting agencies.

    “Just as your personal credit has a big impact on your financial health, your business credit can help you get competitive business loan rates and terms from potential suppliers,” says Marc Kirshbaum, president of Experian's Business Information Solutions group.

    Unfortunately, many small business owners don't even know there is such a thing as a credit score for a business and therefore lose opportunities to improve their own, says Jeff Stibel, CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.

    Many times, small business owners make the mistake of assuming that positive personal credit scores will be enough to obtain good business credit ratings. While lenders and suppliers may initially consider personal credit history, once a business pays its first invoice, it will begin building its own credit history.

  • Submitted on 13 November 2014

    Created on November 13, 2014
     

    National Journal Next AmericaAccording to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, the United States will not have a clear racial or ethnic majority by 2043. America's deepening diversity has huge implications for the country's economy, and is creating challenges and opportunities for the nation's financial system as it works to increase minority access to the financial mainstream.

    San Francisco, California—a hub of technological innovation—is one of the many U.S. communities experiencing extraordinary population growth. However, experts say that the recession has hindered its residents' ability to accumulate wealth, and asserts that increased financial literacy, financial services innovation and improved access to credit and capital are fundamental to growing the region's economy.

  • Submitted on 12 November 2014

    Created on November 12, 2014
     

    Tax Credit EstimatorIf you’re an employer who may be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, you can use this Estimator. The credit is designed to encourage small businesses to offer health insurance coverage for the first time or maintain coverage they already have.

    For some employers and tax-exempt organizations, this could save thousands of dollars by providing a credit against income tax (a refundable credit for certain tax-exempt organizations).

    The Estimator can help determine whether you’re eligible for the credit and if so, estimate the amount. This tool is meant to be educational. To find the actual amount, you must complete Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums, or consult a qualified tax professional. The Estimator also provides links to forms, instructions, and guidance to help you learn more about the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.

  • Submitted on 01 October 2014

    Created on October 1, 2014
     

    Business Loan Application Form

    Veterans Advantage program also extended, expanded to loans up to $5 million

    Good news for entrepreneurs seeking SBA financing to purchase or grow a small business. The SBA will continue its provision to eliminate the upfront fee paid by all borrowers for the guaranteed portion of 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less, and will expand the no upfront-fee program for veteran-owned small businesses, through Sept. 30, 2015. 

    Before this change, borrowers using the SBA guarantee through participating lenders would pay up to two percent of the guaranteed portion on these loans, which would cost a small business owner up to $2,700 in fees.

    However, if two or more SBA guaranteed loans are approved within 90 days of each other, the guaranty fee is determined based on the aggregate amount of the loans. Thus, if the total amount of multiple loans approved within 90 days is greater than $150,000, the normal fees will apply. Lenders are not permitted to split loans for the purpose of avoiding fees for their small business borrowers.

    Participating lenders also will continue to see a break; the SBA will eliminate the servicing fee paid by them each month on loans $150,000 or less. The servicing fee paid by lenders each month on 7(a) loans greater than $150,000 will drop to 0.519 percent on the guaranteed portion of the outstanding balance beginning Oct. 1, 2014.

  • Submitted on 05 August 2014

    Created on August 5, 2014
     

    Supply Chain

    Originally posted on the SBA.gov Blog

    Three years ago, entrepreneur Maurice Brewster made one of the best business decisions of his life: He signed his limousine company, Mosaic Transportation, up for IBM’s Supplier Connection – a collaboration between small businesses and the supply chains of Fortune 500 corporations

    It was a wise decision because small firms that enter the supply chains of major corporations grow their revenue by an average of 250 percent and their workforce by an average of 150 percent.

    In three years, Maurice has signed contracts with seven major corporations, grown Mosaic from 20 to 46 employees, and tripled his annual revenues. His company had lost half of its business during the Recession, but now it is reaping record profits. Maurice credits this remarkable turnaround to two things: he joined a corporate supply chain, and all seven of his new clients pay him up front with a corporate credit card.

  • Submitted on 24 July 2014

    Created on July 24, 2014
     

    ReadySaveGrow myRAThe U.S. Department of the Treasury will develop the myRASM (“My Retirement Account”) program, offering a new retirement savings account for individuals looking for a simple, safe, and affordable way to start saving. Savers will be able to open an account with as little as $25 and contribute $5 or more every payday. myRA balances will never go down, and there will be no fees. Initially, myRA will be made available through employers and the investment held in the account will be backed by the U.S. Treasury.

    WHO WILL myRA BE FOR?

    myRA will be Roth IRA accounts available to anyone who has an annual income of less than $129,000 a year for individuals and $191,000 for couples. myRA will be for savers who do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan. myRA is designed for savers who want an investment with a low opening amount.

    HOW WILL myRA WORK?

    The myRA investment will earn interest at the same variable rate as the Government Securities Investment Fund in the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees. Savers may voluntarily roll over myRA to private-sector retirement accounts at any time. Once a saver’s myRA reaches $15,000, or after 30 years, the balance will be transferred to a private-sector retirement account. Treasury will finalize transfer procedures when it launches the myRA program later this year.

  • Submitted on 18 July 2014

    Created on July 18, 2014
     

    Originally posted on the SBA.gov Blog

    Credit RatingIf you run a company, your business credit profile is related to your reputation. With a strong business credit profile, you have access to much greater financing opportunities with favorable terms and lower interest rates.

    For lenders, a company with a creditworthy profile is considered a good risk. Whether you own a startup or existing business, managing and protecting your profile with all three major business credit reporting agencies is crucial.

    Here are ten essential tips for establishing, maintaining and protecting your business credit profile:

    1. Keep all company data identical – Whether applying for a D-U-N-S Number, submitting a credit application or opening a business bank account, provide all the same information in order to avoid any potential issues. Inconsistent data can cause a denial of credit due to mismatched data or even cause your company to have a duplicate credit file.

  • Submitted on 14 July 2014

    Created on July 14, 2014
     

    Reason for Declined Loans

    Originally posted on the Manufacturing Innovation Blog

    Access to capital, especially access by small privately held companies, is a component of growth.

    According to an article in Forbes magazine, citing data from Pepperdine University’s  2014 Capital Markets Report, while nearly 89% of business owners report having the enthusiasm to execute growth strategies, only 46% report having the necessary capital resources to successfully execute the growth strategies. Among the smallest businesses (those with less than $5 million in revenue) that sought bank loans in the previous three months, only 39% in the same study reported they were successful in securing a loan. It is also quite common for these small company owners to be turned down for loans and not know exactly the reasons why.

    The Reasons Business Loans are Rejected

    The President of New Markets and Community affairs at Northside Bank in Adairsville, Georgia, acknowledges that he often hears from business owners whose loan applications have been rejected by other banks and many times they are not told the reason for the denial.   His bank is currently working with those clients to help them understand any credit-related shortcomings.

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