By Jade Inglada
Local business owners gathered for a small business seminar hosted by the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). The event took place at East Los Angeles College’s South Gate Center on April 8.
The BOE is the only elected tax commission in the U.S., and has generated more than $50 billion in taxes to help fund various services and programs for people in California. The event included a resource expo, with a variety of information booths by the Franchise Tax Board, IRS, the Small Business Administration and Employment Development Department.
About 100 people attended the seminar; the majority had been in business for two to five years and a select few have been around for more than 10 years. South Gate Center’s Dean Al Rios attended the seminar, and said that he was glad that the school could take part in something that’s important to the community. Representatives from different tax organizations made keynote presentations and speeches during the morning session.
“Small business is the backbone of our economy,” said Vivian Shimoyama, regional executive director of the Southern California Regional Center for Goldman Sachs. BOE Chairman Jerome E. Horton said that he was happy that they could hold a seminar in the city, since their previous events have had successful turnouts.
It is Horton’s mission to bring these seminars to the public instead of having people go to them. “At the BOE, we’re like your partners, even if you don’t want us as your partners,” Horton said. He even made the point of stopping his speech for a moment in order for the audience to get up and exchange business cards and contact information.“For all you know, you could be sitting right next to your future business partner,” Horton said.
The rest of the seminar included the expo and eight workshops that covered several small business topics, from record keeping to the difference between employees and independent contractors. This was a new experience for business owner Marilyn Ankenbauer. The Norwalk resident was attending the event on behalf of a company that specialized in metal products.
“I found out about this seminar through a newsletter in the mail from BOE,” Ankenbauer said. “I’m learning so much from being here and have a lot to share with the company.” Erica Marin, who has been running a custom banner and sign business since 2009, said there’s a lot she’ll be taking away with her from the seminar.
“You can tell that the speakers know what they’re talking about and provide us a great amount of info,” Marin said. “It’s beneficial to business owners to take advantage of tax credits, especially now during the recession,” said Bob Jimenez, director of government relations.
Jimenez said that by learning about taxation, owners could discover better ways to manage their businesses and find ways to save money or hire another employee. Horton said he plans to bring the seminar back next year. For more information on the events or to find an upcoming BOE seminar, in person around the community or online, go to boe.ca.gov.