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Businesses that make certain paperwork violations of state laws would be spared the assessment of fines for first-time offenses under legislation that passed the Assembly on Monday. NJBIA supports the bill, A-1677 (Dancer, Houghtaling).

“This 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,” said NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Andrew Musick.

“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,” Musick said. “This bill may not seem like a big deal to many people, but for the thousands of small businesses in the state, these types of penalties can be the most aggravating.”

Specifically, a state agency or regulatory authority would be required to suspend any administrative fine or civil penalty for paperwork violations regarding the collection of information. Businesses that employ 50 or fewer workers and qualify as a small business under the federal “Small Business Act” would be impacted.

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.