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Kauffman Smallbiz Expert On Taxes, Fiscal Cliff

Q. What is the biggest issue with the fiscal cliff?

A. The fiscal cliff is not only about the tax code. It's just the uncertainty. I know that's a catchall term that everyone uses, but it's for real this time. Everyone always says businesses hate to deal with uncertainty, and it kind of has a hollow ring to it because just the nature of running a business, you're always dealing with uncertainty. But at times like this, when politicians have manufactured a crisis, this is serious uncertainty, because no one knows how it's going to change. If we do go over the cliff, we're sort of going to get whipsawed because the Internal Revenue Service is preparing for the government going over the cliff, putting in place all the new tax forms, and then, six weeks later, when they reach a deal, we're going back to the way things were. That uncertainty and that expectation of being whipsawed back or forth is really a serious issue, whether or not you're worried about higher rates. It's just that hassle of dealing with all this.

Q. Is there any long-term damage done by this kind of situation to small business?

A. There are probably very few people, especially among the community of entrepreneurs and business owners and potential entrepreneurs now who would bet against the long-term strength of the U.S. economy. We've obviously got challenges. But there's very few people who would bet against the U.S. in the long term. That is borne out by the fact that we continue to see a strong level of entrepreneurial activity â¿¿ people starting business. That act is itself a signal of optimism and confidence in the U.S. and its long-term growth.

Q. No matter how the cliff is resolved, it's expected that eventually, there will be billions of dollars in cuts to the federal budget? What will be the impact on small business?

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