Within the past year the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have been partnering to provide SBA counseling in conjunction with IRS assistance and education for small businesses. This service is being provided through the SBA’s Business Information Centers (BICs) (53 locations) and One Stop Capital Shops (4 locations). The IRS also will be providing tax forms and publications at the BICs.
The IRS services are targeted at new and prospective business owners and includes small business workshops and one-on-one counseling. However, the IRS assistance is intended to be educational in nature and is not provided as a means of assistance with tax delinquencies or other taxpayer disputes. It is hoped that by providing IRS services at BICs, a greater array of business services will be available to businesses seeking SBA counseling. In this vain, the IRS has stated that “[b]y partnering with the SBA, the IRS can reach small business entrepreneurs during their earliest planning stages or soon after they open their doors. Providing educational assistance at these junctures can help familiarize business owners with their tax obligations and improve the chances of positively influencing tax behavior.” Accordingly, small businesses may now have a resource for acquiring federal tax information and basic counseling through the same agency that in the past has provided so much needed advice and assistance to the business community.