(Washington, DC) – Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today delivered the following opening statement at a hearing on the impact of the current tax structure on American small businesses.

(As prepared for delivery)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important hearing on removing the burdens our tax code imposes on small businesses.

Our tax code is in desperate need of reform.  It’s too long, too complex, and it creates a burden on middle class families and small businesses across America.

Today’s hearing is an opportunity to discuss relieving some of these tax burdens on small businesses so they can focus on what they do best: creating jobs and growing our economy.

When I hear from small businesses in New Hampshire about cutting red tape, they’re often referring to our antiquated tax code.

According to the National Taxpayer Advocate Service, small businesses spend 2.5 billion hours complying with IRS rules each year. 

For entrepreneurs, time is one of their most valuable resources.  Every hour spent filling out forms or navigating confusing tax rules is an hour they don’t spend marketing their products or thinking about how to grow their business.

That’s why, as Congress considers tax reform, we need to put the needs of small businesses on the front burner. 

We can do that by taking common-sense steps to simplify taxes for small businesses and relieve the burden that the tax code places on them.

We should also look at ways to reduce the financial burden of taxes on small businesses in a fiscally responsible way that does not create opportunities for the wealthy or well-connected to game the system and abuse the tax code.

We need to close loopholes that allow large businesses to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and leave middle class families and small businesses on the hook. 

And we must ensure that our tax code is up-to-date so that it encourages economic growth and competitiveness in emerging sectors like renewable energy.

A lot has changed in the 30 years since we last updated our tax code.  As Congress considers tax reform, we need to make sure that our 29 million small businesses have a seat at the table. 

I look forward to hearing more from our witnesses today about the most effective ways to reform the tax code to help unleash the potential of our small businesses.