In a move designed to increase opportunities for U.S.-based exporters, Ex-Im Bank of the United States is investing in a series of infrastructure projects in new economic hotbed Brazil.
Ex-Im, the nation’s official export credit agency, authorized $1 billion this week to help grease the wheels, so to speak, for exporting of goods and service to be used in a serious of infrastructure projects around Rio de Janiero. Among them, will be stadiums and other venues related to Brazil’s sought-after status as host to both the FIFA World Cup (soccer) and the Olympics within the next decade. The $1 billion in financing will be available for the state of Rio de Janiero to borrow to finance purchasing supplies from U.S.-based companies to complete the work.
“Brazil is an emerging economy with extensive infrastructure needs, and this authorization will provide further opportunities for American exporters and small business owners…it is important that we encourage our businesses to compete globally,” said Ex-Im Chairman/President Fed Hochberg.
Note: In-depth sessions focused on doing business in Brazil will be featured both at NACM’s 2011 Credit Congress in Nashville in May and FCIB’s 2011 I.C.E. Conference in Chicago in April. Click the highlighted links for information on each event or to register. See more on Brazil in the upcoming edition of NACM eNews, available on the afternoon of March 31.
Brian Shappell, NACM staff writer
While the Red Flags Clarification Act may have exempted a number of very specific types of small businesses, it didn't exempt all of them.
For this reason, the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) much-discussed, oft-delayed "Red Flags" rules went into effect with the New Year, meaning many entities need to be in compliance with the amended statute. As described by the FTC, the new law "gives businesses the flexibility to tailor their written ID theft detection program to the nature of the business and the risks it faces. Businesses with a high risk for identity theft may need more robust procedures-like using other information sources to confirm the identity of new customers or incorporating fraud detection software. Groups with a low risk for identity theft may have a more streamlined program-for example, simply having a plan for how they'll respond if they find out there has been an incident of identity theft involving their business."
"We're pleased Congress clarified its law, which was clearly overbroad," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "Now we can go forward with less litigating and more protecting consumers from identity theft."
While the new legislation made the "Red Flags" rules apply to far fewer businesses, it failed to exempt trade creditors in any meaningful way. "I don't think this changes a thing for our trade creditors," said Wanda Borges, Esq. of Borges & Associates, LLC. "It's so short and almost nonsensical, I really think they accomplished very little." Specifically, Borges noted that the bill's adjustments to the definition of what constitutes a "creditor" fail to explicitly exclude trade creditors. Moreover, a provision at the end of the bill serves as something of a catch-all, noting that creditors can be required to comply with the "Red Flags" Rule if they're determined to maintain accounts subject to a reasonably foreseeable risk of identity theft.
Instead, according to Borges, the law allows businesses to better determine how at risk for identity theft they are, and how much they have to do to comply with the regulations. "They may have succeeded in eliminating the need for small law firms and small doctor's offices to have 'Red Flags' programs in place, but that catch-all at the end means our trade creditors aren't exempt," she added. "I think what it does is gives businesses a better opportunity to determine whether or not they're low risk or high risk. It's clear that they have not excluded trade credit."
NACM continues to seek further clarification from the FTC. Stay tuned to NACM's eNews and Credit Real-Time Blog for updates.
Jacob Barron, NACM staff writer
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Predicts Repeal Action Before March
After several failed attempts in the last Congress, the Senate finally voted to repeal the controversial 1099 requirement, originally passed as part of the health care reform bill.
In a bipartisan, 81-17 vote, the Senate agreed to erase the provision that would've required small businesses to file an Internal Revenue Service form 1099 for every vendor from whom they annually buy $600 worth of goods or services. The measure was originally enacted as a revenue generator, but quickly drew the ire of small business owners and advocacy associations nationwide, eventually becoming universally reviled.
The repeal came in the form of an amendment attached to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill.
"Today we provided a common-sense solution for business owners so they can focus on creating jobs, not filling out paperwork for the IRS," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who proposed the successful 1099 repeal amendment. "Since last year, I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address this problem. If left unchecked, 40 million small businesses would see their IRS 1099 paperwork increase 2000%."
Repeal efforts in the House continue, however, most recently in the form of a hearing, titled "Buried In Paperwork: A 1099 Update," held in the House Committee on Small Business. "This new 1099 requirement will cause an avalanche of additional 1099 forms to be filed, and affect over 36 million entities," said committee chairman Sam Graves (R-MO). "At a time when we should be making it easier to create jobs, promote growth and invest in our economy, small firms don't need yet another costly and burdensome mandate."
Due to the tax implications inherent in a repeal measure, any bill that eliminates the 1099 requirement will have to pass through the House's Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the tax code, before reaching the full House for a vote. However, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) has indicated that he expects his committee to take up the repeal effort before March 1, 2011.
Stay tuned to NACM's eNews and Credit Real-Time Blog for latebreaking updates on the 1099 repeal efforts.
Jacob Barron, NACM staff writer