Women Owned Business Tax Benefits

Women owned business tax benefits refer to the tax benefits a female entrepreneur can receive when operating a small business. If you are a female business owner who wants to be a part of programs that keep track of business conducted by women, you will need to obtain a WBE certification. Many government agencies on the local, state, and federal levels have programs for female business owners. To participate in any of these programs, at least 51 percent of the company’s ownership and management must be female. A woman business owner must provide evidence of capital contribution and how it correlates with her ownership of the business. Lastly, the woman business owners must prove she has an area of expertise that does not rely on resources or funding from other non-women-owned companies.

A Brief Look at the Basics of Federal Contractor Status and State and Local Certification

On the federal level, a WBE certification is not required from procurement. In place of that, a woman business owner must have self-certification in the Central Contractor Registration. On the state and local level, many assistance programs offer either WBE certification or direct certification. Current regulations are set up, so that federal agencies contact small businesses owned by women to confirm that they understand the various contract opportunities and how to apply for them.

What to do if You are Having Trouble with the WME Certificate

Any woman business owner who has reason to believe that she is at a disadvantage while operating her business can apply for certification that assists businesses that are considered socially or economically disadvantaged. This certificate is offered under the SBA 8(a) program. If you would like more information about this program, you can visit your local small business administrative office for assistance on obtaining the certificate.

Manipulating the WME Certificate is a Bad Idea

Manipulating benefits is not only unethical, it could land you in some hot water. For example, it is a bad idea for a man who owns a business to make either his wife or another woman 51 percent owner of stock to try to take advantage of 8(a) benefits. It won’t take long for the SBA auditor to pinpoint which filings are legitimate and which ones are suspicious. This 51 percent owner technique has been tried before, and the auditor will see it as a big red flag. Additionally, in the event that the auditor visits your business headquarters and notices there are more male staff members than female staff members, you won’t qualify for the WME certificate. To obtain the WME certificate, you need to be able to prove that your business is operated by a woman and that a woman is responsible for making both large and small decisions for the business.

Loans for Woman-Owned Businesses

You can use the Prequalification Pilot Loan Program to help you create a loan application and have greater success obtaining a loan. An example of an intermediaries who could help you with the loan application process include the Small Business Development Company and the Women’s Business Development Center.

For women owned businesses, The Prequalification Pilot Loan Program uses intermediaries to assist prospective borrowers in developing loan applications and securing loans. Once a loan package has been created, you will submit it to the SBA and receive an answer in approximately three business days. Your loan request is approved if you receive a letter of prequalification from the SBA. In the letter, it will state the SBA’s decision to provide you with a loan. $250,000 is the maximum loan you could receive from the SBA with a guarantee of 85 percent up to $150,000 or 75 percent for loans that are over $150,000. When you work with an intermediary, they will help you find more competitive lenders to secure a loan.

In addition to loans, other programs a woman owned business could qualify for include grants or contracts on the federal, state, county or city level as well as funding from private sources. Any woman owned business entity that meets standards set forth by the DBE could qualify for the DBE certificate.

Finding an Angel Investor

Although there are many benefits to having the DBE certificate, it is of little value to you if you don’t use their products or services. If you are a business-to-consumer business (a B2C) and you sell products or services to customers, you most likely would not benefit from the DBE certificate. Typically, it is business-to-business (B2B) businesses that benefit from the DBE certificate. Obtaining a DBE certification is only beneficial if you are forming your company as a minority or woman-owned business with plans to use government contracting opportunities. If you want to learn more about potential benefits of this certification, you should review certification programs provided by the Federal Small Business Administration.

More on Minority-Owned Businesses

A “minority” is the definition set forth by federal statutes that describes women, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and African-American. A minority-owned business is any operation in which minorities manage at least 51 percent of the business. According to the MBDA, an estimated 5.8 million businesses were minority-owned in 2006. That is a 46 percent increase from the number of minority-owned businesses that existed in 2002.

Tax Incentives for Businesses

If a business purchases their materials and supplies from a minority-owned business, there are tax breaks granted by the federal government. Tax liabilities are also reduced for any company that use services or labor provided by minorities.

One of the first official federal tax incentives provided for businesses that used the services and products of minority and women-owned businesses was created in the 1970s. However, the Small Business Act of 1953 encouraged use of women and minority-owned business in federal contract opportunities. In 2010, the MBDA reported a substantial difference in funding for non-minority and minority businesses. How much tax break a company gets for using minority-owned services or products depends on the type of program being used. A business must meet certain requirements in S.560.036(2) to be certified by the Department of Commerce as a “minority business enterprise”. A business can qualify for certain tax benefits depending on the certified firms they are using. This certification also creates special employment consideration for certain minority and woman-owned businesses.

State Tax Incentives

Many states provide registered women owned businesses with special training and networking opportunities. In states such as California and Georgia, women owned businesses are encouraged to take part in municipal purchasing programs.

If a subcontractor or contractor uses the services or products of a minority or woman owned business, there are special state income tax credits granted, according to The Official Code of Georgia Annotated. Section 48.7.38 encourages the use of minority and female owned businesses by offering state income tax credits for subcontractors and contractors using minority businesses. Those state income tax credits are different for every minority and women owned business program.

How to Know if your Business Qualifies as a Certified Minority-Owned Business

If you are interested in pursuing minority business certification, you should call the National Minority Supplier Development Council. This entity provides business opportunities for any minority or women owned businesses and helps them advance in their professional goals. Again, any business that is 51 percent minority or women owned and established as such though various interviews, site visits, and screenings could qualify for a minority-owned business certificate. Other requirements include being a United States for-profit business with a physical location in the country or in one of its trusted territories.

Receiving the official certificate could take up to three months. Throughout the application process, you should expect to provide various forms of documents related to your business in order to secure certification. After the NMSDC has granted you certification as a minority owned business, you will be able to access the various program benefits. These benefits are designed to help you move your business forward. You will be able to use both government and private contracts. These contracts are found in the NMSDC supplier database. There are also leads and alerts put out by regional agencies that allow you to gain corporate members’ procurement opportunities.

How to Know if Your Business Qualifies as a Minority-Owned Business under SBA 8(a)

The United States government’s Small Business Association offers programs and other resources that are designed to help minority and women owners build their companies. Some examples of the programs offered by the SBA are:

  • Technical advice
  • Management guidance
  • Training workshops
  • Private counseling

If you secure certification from the SBA 8(a) Business Development, you can use your certificate to access various government contracting opportunities. You can become certified under SBA 8(a) guidelines for free. So long as you meet the eligibility requirements set forth by the Business Development program, you can certify your woman-owned business. Even at an individual level, you may be able to qualify for this business program if you are considered socially or economically disadvantaged.

Social disadvantage is determined before economic disadvantages are reviewed. An individual who is considered economically disadvantaged is a “socially disadvantaged individual whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities.” To be considered economically disadvantaged, you need to send specific information to the SBA before securing an economically disadvantaged designation. An example of information you would need to provide is the narrative statement of economic disadvantage. This document is required to act as proof of an economically disadvantaged designation. Another requirement is to be able to provide pertinent information regarding personal finances. You will need to fill out certain SPA forms and provide your personal tax returns to acquire an economically disadvantaged designation. If you are married, you must also include your spouse’s financial information.

The Benefits of Certification for Minority-Owned Business

Although the process to become certified as a woman or minority-owned business through programs like the SBA’s 8(a) or NMSDC is not exactly a simple or easy one, the benefits of certification are well worth the effort. Many legal entities from private businesses to federal agencies actually prefer doing business with women and minority owned businesses in many cases. When you obtain minority-owned certification, you will be able to access new opportunities you might not have been able to participate in before.

In many cases, federal government agencies are actually required to provide a sizable number of contracting opportunities to woman or minority-owned businesses that are properly certified. The United States Department of Transportation, for example, mandates that a minimum of 10 percent of money for specific contracts on various projects must go to minority or women-owned businesses. If a certain entity is the recipient of Department of Transportation funding, they have to use DBE programs (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) for compliance purposes. But government entities aren’t the only ones that award work projects to minority and women owned businesses. Some corporations like Microsoft, Marriot, and IBM work with NMSDC members do so as well.

Additional Government Resources for Women-Owned Businesses

For more government resources that will help women owned businesses reach their fullest potential, visit business.usa.gov. On the website, you will find a questionnaire to fill out. This questionnaire serves the purpose of helping you discover government contracting. Once you have completed the questionnaire, you will be taken to a page that supplies you with a list of federal government programs you may be able to qualify for.

On the USA.gov website, you’ll also find a resource list for any businesses considered to be socially or economically disadvantaged. There are national, state, and local listing to choose from. For programs in your area, you can search the USA.gov website by plugging in your ZIP code.

You can also check out the Minority Business Development Agency, another government site that has a wealth of resources for women owned businesses. On this site, you can read plenty of advice pieces that will show you how to find and secure contracting opportunities. There are also many educational resources to take advantage of and success stories to read. The SBA also offers some resources on the Women Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program.

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