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The Tax Man and Small Business
CNBC.com | April 14, 2010 | 09:01 AM EDT

"There are so many taxes, I have three different tax attorneys that have to advise me on them."

Good for tax attorneys.

Not good for Casey Lloyd, President of Cal Spas, one of the few small manufacturing businesses still based in California. Lloyd's few hundred workers make and sell backyard equipment, and he, like other small businesses, is figuring out what he owes the IRS by Thursday.

It's more than last year.

There were some tax breaks for small businesses in 2009. They can charge losses against profits going back to 2003, as long as their average gross sales over the last three years have been no more than $15 million a year. And investors in qualifying small businesses—those with assets worth less than $50 million—won't have to pay capital gains on 75% of profits when they cash in the stock.

Still, Lloyd and others say taxes are terrible, especially on the state level in California. "Property taxes kill us," he says. Workers comp is still very high. Soon he'll have to pay for healthcare for everyone. But the biggest gripe comes from the hike in sales tax. "They did that in the middle of the economy trying to come back to life...it made no sense." He said sales took a ten to fifteen percent dive.

"The sales tax was a big hit," says Ann Kinner, who owns SeaBreeze Books & Charts in San Diego. "It slowed things down" at least 25 percent at her store.

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