Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

In the News

January 13, 2014

Law softens 'tax cliff' for many small businesses

AUSTIN — As many as 26,000 companies statewide — or almost one in four across Texas — will see tax savings this year thanks to a major new deduction passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, according to a report published Sunday.

The law approved last year softens what small-business owners used to call "the cliff" for the state's franchise, or business margins, tax.

Since 2006, earning anything over $1 million in gross annual receipts suddenly meant a tax bill for businesses that shot from zero to thousands of dollars because the companies were taxed on all of their gross receipts, not just the amount above $1 million. Now, the cliff has become something of a slope.

Businesses making between $1 million and $3.3 million in gross receipts in 2014 will face a more gradual franchise tax bill because they will be able to deduct $1 million from their gross receipts, according to The Austin American Statesman ( ).

Many are happy to see the "cliff" fall away.

"The next dollar you earn could take you to a $7,000 tax," said Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. "It created a disincentive for businesses to keep operating at the end of the year. You were better off closing your doors."

Texas' smallest businesses, with less than $1 million in gross receipts, remain exempt from the margins tax, and the new law won't affect tax rates for companies making more than $3.3 million in gross receipts.

Critics note that the change will mean less state revenue for things like public schools. But some business owners are cheering.

"Any kind of break helps," said Mike Bennett, co-owner of Central Machine Works in East Austin, which will see its tax bill for the year fall by at least hundreds of dollars.

With nine employees, Central Machine Works in some years hovered just below or above the $1 million mark that defined when the state tax was owed.

"We usually don't have to try too hard to stay under it," joked Bennett. "We may have gone over it a couple of times."

But Patricia Whiteside, a certified public accountant in Austin who represents the company, told the newspaper she sometimes had to advise several clients at the end of the year, "Don't send out any more bills."

Dick Lavine with the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities said of the change: "It's probably a better design because you avoid the $1 million mark."

But he also notes that the change has a price.

"It reduces revenue before we have restored funding to schools and other public services," Lavine said.


Text Only
In the News
  • Realignment coming to Athens ISD

    The Athens Independent School District school board approved campus realignment Monday that will go into effect for the 2015-16 school year.

    July 29, 2014

  • Trial begins in case over Oklahoma City bombing

    The FBI has done a thorough search of its archives and found no evidence that more Oklahoma City bombing videos exist, federal attorneys told a judge on Monday during the first day of a trial that has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the devastating 1995 attack.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kendall Sanders.jpg Kendall Sanders charged with felony sexual assault, improper photography

    A University of Texas police spokeswoman says two Longhorns football players have been charged with felony sexual assault and their arrests are pending.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man gets 2nd death sentence in Dallas slaying

     A jury sentenced a Dallas man to death a second time Wednesday for the 1986 killing of a Dallas civil rights attorney and his wife.

    July 24, 2014

  • Texas woman sentenced to life in stepson's death

     A North Texas jury has sentenced a woman to life in prison for the 2011 starvation death of her 10-year-old stepson.

    July 23, 2014

  • Parsons Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    Stacie Marie Parsons, 25, walked into the Athens Police Department at 8:46 a.m. Monday and confessed to killing her 4-year-old daughter.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • g000258000000000000f99cd4724578efa27c155fb3a1dcc7c68e3109e5.jpg Suspects sought in armed robberies in Corsicana

    Corsicana Police are looking for suspects in a pair of armed robberies the past week.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Feds: Texas voting maps deliberately discriminated

     The U.S. Justice Department told judges Monday that Texas lawmakers carefully crafted electoral maps marginalizing minority voters despite the state's exploding Hispanic population in a deliberate effort to racially discriminate and protect conservative incumbents.

    July 14, 2014

  • Four children among six dead in suburban Houston shooting

      A father opened fire at a suburban Houston home Wednesday, killing four of his children as well as two adults who were with them, and critically wounding his 15-year-old daughter, authorities said.

    July 10, 2014

  • Corsicana firefighter killed in one-car crash

     An off-duty Corsicana fireman was killed and his two young sons were injured in a one-car crash on FM 709 north of Dawson Tuesday night.

    An off-duty Corsicana fireman was killed and his two young sons were injured in a one-car crash on FM 709 north of Dawson Tuesday night.

    Justice of the Peace Jackie Freeland identified the deceased fireman as Louis Lachney, 46. He was a Lieutenant with the Corsicana Fire Department.

    The crash was reported at 11:27 p.m. Tuesday and occurred  at a sharp curve in the roadway on FM 709 about two miles north of State Highway 31 near Dawson.

    DPS Sgt. Thomas Moore, supervisor at the crash site, said Lachney’s convertible Mazda was traveling north on FM 709 and failed to negotiate a sharp curve, leaving the roadway and overturning several times.

    Moore said Lachney and his two sons who were passengers in the car were all ejected from the vehicle. Moore said the three were apparently not wearing seat belts.

    The two injured boys walked to the roadway following the crash where they were discovered by a passing motorist, who notified law enforcement of the crash.

    Moore said the two boys were transported by air ambulance to a Dallas hospital. He said they were in serious but stable condition when transported from the crash site.

    DPS Trooper LaTonya Daniels is investigating the crash. Corsicana EMS, volunteer firefighters, and Navarro County Sheriff's Office deputies assisted at the crash site. - See more at:

    July 9, 2014

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue