Business Forum

IACCGH Business forum a BIG success

The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) has the pulse on the opportunities available to local businesses. With NFL bringing the Super Bowl to Houston, the opportunities are innumerable for a motivated entrepreneur. IACCGH was invited by the NFL organizers to identify and provide prospective vendor lists to NFL contractors who are scoping the city for minority businesses which provide services they are looking for. The estimated amount of business Houston can expect from the Super Bowl is in the range of $300 million of which $25 million is the piece of the pie minority businesses can expect. IACCGH moved swiftly to organize an informative seminar on February 27th for businesses on how to get minority certified. Minority certification is required for vendors to get on the bid list. The Chamber was able to organize two knowledgeable speakers, from the City of Houston and the Houston Minority Business Council. The speakers outlined all the general requirements and the benefits of becoming minority certified and they even brought application forms to speed up the certification process. Mr. George Edwards, Manager of the Affirmative Action Department of the City of Houston, said that the certification process usually takes 21 days after a completed application with all the supporting documents are received. The time includes the following seven step process which all businesses have to go through to certify. The seven steps are: 1) Pre-certification workshop, 2) Preliminary screening, 3) Desk Audit, 4) Financial Audit, 5) Field Audit, 6) Recommendation and 7) Committee Review- Which results in either (a) Certification (Firms will be listed in a directory) or (b) Tentative denial (Firms may appeal). The city does this service at no cost and will work with firms to simplify the process as much as possible. Similarly HMBC also provides certification services at a nominal fee of $150 which includes a one year membership to HMBC, said Ms. Constance Jones, Director of member services for HMBC. The seminar was a two part information session, with the first part focused on certification and the second focused on taxes as the tax season is around the corner. The two speakers addressing tax issues were Mr. Jain of Jain & Jain CPA and Mr. Thakur, Tax offices of Mr. Ajit Thakur, both of whom are long term Chamber members. The combined experience the two speakers brought to the seminar is over 50 years. Mr. Umesh (Mike) Jain, President of Jain and Jain CPA since 1986, gave an engaging and informative presentation on the highlights of the �Job Creation & Worker Assistance Act of 2002�. Attendees were very pleasantly surprised to learn about the depreciation allowances they are allowed due to the downturn in the economy. Some of the highlights of Mr. Jain�s presentation were: Additional depreciation of 30% for new property acquired from 9/11/01 to 9/10/04 which can be claimed by business owners. Similarly a business owner can get a maximum tax deduction of $ 24,000 on a SUV but only get a maximum tax deduction of $3,060 on a passenger automobile. Another revelation was that the new law allows for losses from tax years ending in 2001 & 2002 to carry them back five years to recover taxes already paid. Mr. Ajit Thakur who has over 30 years of tax experience covered �Tax Compliance� in his part of the seminar. He provided a cheat sheet or a tickler list of all the important tax deadlines for both individuals and corporations to all the attendees. He also cleared quite a few misconceptions regarding how, why and when one should file taxes to avoid penalties. Attendees were surprised to know that Texas does have an income tax for business owners, but it is just called Franchise tax instead of Income tax. He also suggested general routines which employers can adopt to avoid common pitfalls regarding federal tax deposits which an employer makes on behalf of the employee. The attendees participated in a spirited and interactive Q & A session with questions addressed to all the speakers. The IACCGH is a not for profit organization fast growing in strength and reputation. It was established in 1999 and is proud to be recognized & associated with business leaders in all areas of commerce. The chamber provides networking and business opportunities to professionals. You can learn more about the Chamber and its activities at or call 713-624-7131. For more information on the IACCGH please visit: You can learn more about the Chamber and its activities or call 713-624-7131