December 11, 2020

Webinar Recap: 2021 Illinois Business Forecast

On December 8, the Daily Herald Business Ledger hosted a webinar (co-sponsored by Weiss and Company LLP) highlighting the challenges facing Illinois businesses – particularly small businesses – as 2021 approaches.

The webinar panel included Weiss partner Steve Goluch, who focused on taxation issues. He stressed that as 2020’s PPP program was “put out on the fly,” there is still a measure of uncertainty – particularly among small business owners – as to what constitutes taxable income, what will be deductible and what will be forgiven. He also discussed the possible new stimulus, tax changes from an upcoming Biden administration in 2021, and the potential impact on legislation from the upcoming Georgia Senate run-off elections.

The panel, which also included Michael O’Rourke of Signature Bank and Elliot Richardson of the Small Business Advocacy Council, stressed the need for strong banking relationships and organized, collective political advocacy in these uncertain times.

Goluch led an-depth discussion of 2020’s shift to a work-from-home business model, and the fact that it’s not likely to go away anytime soon, regardless of the new Washington administration or its schedule for a vaccine rollout. “Many of the service businesses, and ours included, have adapted and gone to a work-from-home model,” Goluch stated. Richardson added, “I think work at home is not going away…I am very concerned for small property owners because I do think that this has opened up a lot of people’s eyes about working from home.” The panel also pointed out that, in addition to its impact on workflow and human resources, work-from-home presents very legitimate opportunities for many small business owners to take advantage of the home office deduction in 2020.

However, the panel agreed that while 2021 is likely to present challenges to all Illinois businesses, the outlook is promising. The rejection of the graduated “fair tax” by Illinois voters would seem to reduce state revenues in the short term, but there are strong possibilities for reversing this trend by retraining employees, consolidating local schools where possible, and property tax reform. With an impending new stimulus package in the offing, they stressed the importance of business owners to educate themselves about all available resources, while continuing organized political advocacy in the challenging months ahead.

The full webinar can be viewed here. In addition, the Daily Herald’s summary article can be viewed here: For more details on PPP fund deductibility, you can also reference our previous summary article on this issue. And for additional up-to-date information, we encourage you to contact your Weiss tax professional.

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