Talk That Matters Beyond Just Taxes

Honestly, I just don’t like to do it. Pay taxes. Nobody does. Except, of course, those few ultra rich who think they aren’t quite paying enough. But they don’t count. As for the rest of us in business or in our personal lives, we don’t like paying taxes. I have no idea what you pay personally but businesses pay an average total tax rate of around 47% annually. And we all sit around and grouse about it (except for fed employees, I guess).

But what seldom is talked about and what I hate even more is all the stuff you have to do to comply. There’s hardly enough time in the day to grow a business let alone fill out mindless paperwork. And I’m a simple business. Nothing like the family bank that can hardly stay on top of new regulations. It is estimated it costs business around $1.8 trillion per year to comply with federal regulations. That breaks down to roughly $8,000 per employee. For small businesses, the cost to comply is around $10,500 per employee on average.

And here’s a devious political reality: the federal government has 2 ways to stick it to you. They can put new regulations on the books and fund it out of the federal budget. Or they can issue unfunded mandates which takes it off the federal budget but forces business to pay for it. Given all the turmoil about deficits, sequestration, and other minor reductions in the growth of federal spending (no one is actually proposing to cut the federal budget), you can expect unfunded mandates to escalate.

We talk about taxes, deficits and the growth in federal spending. But talk about compliance costs and unfunded mandates matters too.