D.C. Tax Holiday Begins Nov. 28

The District will offer its second tax holiday this year from Friday, Nov. 28 through midnight on Sunday, Dec. 7. All clothes, shoes and accessories purchased during that time period will be exempt from the 5.75 percent sales tax. The exemption will apply to each eligible item costing $100 or less. The exemption also applies to some layaway sales. Maryland will reintroduce its annual tax free shopping event (pdf) in 2010, running from Aug. 8 -14. Virginia offers tax holidays in May, August and October.

SBA Loans Decline; New Tool Helps Firms Find Financing

The Small Business Administration recently announced a "substantial decline" in the number of small business loans it guaranteed in fiscal 2008, so a new tool to help small firms find financing is welcome news.

After approving a record 100,000 loans in 2007, the SBA said the number of loans it approved in 2008 dropped by nearly 30 percent. The dollar value of the loans declined by 13 percent from $20.6 billion in 2007 to $17.96 billion in 2008. Loans approved under the popular 7(a) program declined by 30 percent while loan approvals in the 504 program for long-term financing fell by 17 percent.

While the numbers are distressing, Business.gov has launched a new search tool, Loans and Grant Search, designed to help small business owners find financing available from federal and state governments. The search includes grant, loan and venture capital programs run by federal and state agencies along with some private and nonprofit programs.

By Sharon McLoone |  November 4, 2008; 11:28 AM ET Tools and Tips
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