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5 Things to Know About Small Business This Week: May 10

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What happened in small business this week?

1. Senate passes Internet sales tax legislation; could get held up in the House. Sales tax collected by online merchants just got one step closer to becoming a reality this week after the Senate passed legislation that is supposed to "level the playing field" between bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce retailers. The Marketplace Fairness Act still needs to pass the House, which observers say could be a challenge as some Republicans view the measure as a tax increase, according to Marketwatch.

While bricks-and-mortar retailers, yes, even small businesses, can be pleased with the bill's traction, opponents say that the tax requirements will be burdensome on growing online small merchants, according to CNBC .

2. Should small businesses accept bitcoin? Virtual currency bitcoin is popular with a growing number of e-commerce businesses, especially those that operate across international borders because it isn't regulated. According to a Small Business Trends article, accepting bitcoin as a form of payment means lower costs for the merchant, however small-business owners wondering if they should accept the payment form should really consider the nature of their business.

"If you're actively engaged in the online community, Bitcoin may be a better bet than the dollar. If you live in the brick-and-mortar world, you may have a hard time spending it," one blogger writes.

3. Big bank loan approvals for small businesses jump in April. Banks are lending again to small businesses. Biz2Credit's monthly small-business lending index reported all-time highs for approval rates by big and small banks. Small business loan approvals by large banks (those with more than $10 billion in assets) rose to 16.8% from 15.7% in March, Biz2Credit found in its monthly analysis of 1,000 loan applications on its Web site. Year-over-year, large bank approvals are up more than 50%, Biz2Credit said.

Biz2Credit analyzed loan requests ranging from $25,000 to $3 million from companies in business more than two years with an average credit score above 680.

"Big banks such as TD Bank (TD), Sovereign and Wells Fargo (WFC) are investing heavily in new technology to increase speed and service of approvals," Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora said in a statement. "As the economy continues to rebound, lending conditions are gradually improving. Higher credit-quality customers are electing to apply to loans from big banks first now that they are more willing to lend and the service has improved."
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