The most effective and desirable economic development strategy for many rural communities is small entrepreneurship. This is based on locally owned and owner-operated small businesses. Approximately 24% of Nebraskans are employed by these enterprises, 74% of whom report a microbusiness as their sole source of income.
For more than a decade, the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit has played an essential role in helping these businesses get started. Passed in 2005, the act provides tax credits for creating or expanding microbusinesses that contribute to the local economy. The credit is available to businesses that employ five or fewer employees.
An applicant must commit to hiring a new employee or making an investment that generates income in the local community. The applicant must also be personally involved in the continuous management and operation of the business.
Once these conditions are satisfied, the taxpayer is eligible to receive refundable tax credits equal to 20% of new investment or employment in the microbusiness during the tax year. Credits expire after the end of the next tax year. The total lifetime credits claimed by any one taxpayer or related person is capped at $10,000.
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Nebraska is home to more than 145,000 microbusinesses, accounting for 86% of all businesses in the state. Almost 60% of these have been operating for 10 years or more. The Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit facilitates this by spurring new investment and supporting business growth.
Johnathan Hladik, Craig
Policy director, Center for Rural Affairs