SBA increases several loan limits

Limits for general small-business loans under some Small Business Administration programs have been increased.

A temporary increase for SBA Express loans is good for one year, the agency said Friday.

The SBA has permanently increased 7(a) and 504 limits from $2 million to $5 million; and for manufacturers and certain energy-related projects seeking 504 loans, to $5.5 million. The maximum for International Trade and Export Working Capital loans also has been increased from $2 million to $5 million.

The SBA also permanently increased microloan limits from $35,000 to $50,000 and raised the limit on Export Express loans from $250,000 to $500,000, and made the program permanent.

Also noted by the SBA in a release Friday were additional resources to help increase lending to small businesses, including the State Small Business Credit Initiative, from the Department of Treasury, that will support $15 billion in lending through local programs; and the Small Business Lending Fund, which will provide capital to local, community banks to increase their lending to small businesses.

Additionally, the new law contains $12 billion in tax credits targeted for small businesses. Also included are higher deductions for investing in new machines and equipment, zero capital gains for those who buy and hold small-business stocks for five years, and a doubling of the maximum deduction for startups to $10,000. It also allows self-employed Americans to completely deduct health insurance costs for themselves and their families.