Small businesses would be spared the assessment of fines for first-time minor paperwork violations of state regulations under legislation released Monday by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Growth Committee.

The bill would apply to businesses that employ 50 or fewer workers and qualify as a small business under the federal “Small Business Act.” NJBIA supports the legislation.

“Fining small businesses for filling out forms incorrectly does nothing to protect the public’s health and safety, but it does contribute to New Jersey’s reputation as being anti-business,” says Andrew Musick, NJBIA vice president for Taxation and Economic Development. “This bill may not seem like a big deal to many people, but for the thousands of small businesses, these types of penalties can be the most aggravating.”

The bill does have limits. If the paperwork violation has the potential to cause serious harm or if failure to impose a penalty would contribute to criminal activity, penalties would not be waived.  Likewise for those violations that involve tax collections.  Additionally, if the paperwork violation is not corrected within six months, penalties could be assessed at that time.

Musick added that the bill would help New Jersey strike a better balance between a business climate that allows small businesses to grow and the need to regulate their activities.