Washington, DC — In a new nationwide poll, Main Street Alliance found small business owners overwhelmingly (81%) support legislation to require businesses to list the true identity of their owners when forming, in order to address issues of fraud and abuse. Even when presented with arguments for and against, owners overwhelmingly (72% to 17%) side with an argument that owner transparency would level the playing field and protect small businesses over an argument that it is an unnecessary burden.
The survey, which included businesses with 50 employees or less, was conducted by Lake Research Partners between August 31 – September 16, 2020 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percent.
On the release of the poll results, Cynthia Ward Wikstrom, Campaigns Director for Main Street Alliance had this to say:
“Small business owners constantly assess risk. Which is why it shouldn’t be a surprise that they overwhelmingly support measures to protect their businesses from fraudsters and con artists.
“Requiring secretive companies to come out from the shadows will benefit small businesses in several ways. It will reduce conflicts of interest and cronyism in contracting, it will curb false billing of contractors, and it will reduce fraudulent certification for small, disadvantaged, veteran, or disability-owned businesses. Furthermore, ownership information will help prevent those who previously defrauded taxpayers from establishing a new sham operation and winning new contracts. And, speaking for those businesses who honestly pay their taxes, transparency will make it harder for bad corporate actors to gain advantage through tax evasion.”
Nearly universally, small business owners see it as a problem that people have used shell companies to fraudulently win contracts or obtain government set-asides reserved for small businesses. Across subgroups, over eight-in-ten see this practice as a problem.
Over three-quarters of owners agree that Congress should pass a law that would require businesses to list the true identity of their owners when forming. A solid majority strongly agree. Across subgroups owners agree that Congress should require businesses to list the true identity of their owners.