- The Washington Times - Monday, March 15, 2010

To spur job creation, the small-business package should include measures that make it easier for firms to hire workers on a telecommuting basis (“Creating jobs on Main Street,” Opinion, Tuesday).

Telework limits the financial risk of expansion. It helps small firms add staff without adding real estate and other overhead costs and helps them hire the best applicants from the widest geographic area while minimizing recruitment expenses. Once hired, telecommuters can increase organizational efficiency and help assure business continuity in the event of emergencies such as a severe flu outbreak, terrorist threat or major storm.

Pro-telework measures should include tax incentives, such as employer tax credits based on the number of workers hired to telecommute. They also should include the elimination of tax disincentives. For example, states currently can tax nonresidents choosing to telecommute part time to their in-state employers both on the wages they earn in-state and on the wages they earn in their home states. Because telecommuters’ home states also can tax the wages the telecommuters earn at home, Americans risk double taxation if they telecommute. The risk deters people from accepting telework positions and, therefore, frustrates small firms trying to use telework to grow. Substituting telework tax credits for such powerful tax deterrents would maximize the number of small firms that could use telework for cost-effective hiring.


Scarsdale, N.Y.

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