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Congress Talks Bitcoin, Small Business: 3 Tidbits

Congress held a hearing on Bitcoin and small businesses Wednesday. Though no action was taken, the discussion could impact the virtual currency and businesses that currently accept it (or are considering it) for payment.

In case you're still in the dark, Bitcoin is the world's first decentralized, peer-to-peer virtual currency. This means that it's not backed by any banks, credit card companies, or governments, according to The Washington Post.

So before you get on board with Bitcoin, here are three tidbits to ponder from the House Committee on Small Business' Bitcoin hearing:

Businesses Add 'Obamacare Fee' to Customer Bills

Some businesses -- mainly restaurants -- "are asking customers to help foot the bill for Obamacare" by adding an Affordable Care Act surcharge on their tabs, CNNMoney reports.

Case in point: At least eight Gator's Dockside restaurants in central Florida are now charging a so-called "Obamacare fee" that amounts to 1 percent of a customer's check.

Should your business include an Obamacare fee or surcharge on customer bills?

NLRB Won't Fight 'Poster Rule' Decisions

The National Labor Relations Board has opted not to challenge two federal court decisions that invalidated the NLRB's so-called "poster rule."

The NLRB's Notice Posting Rule sought to require businesses to post notifications reminding workers about their right to unionize. But business groups fought the rule in federal court.

Here's a breakdown of what happened and what this means for employers:

Lawyers for craft store Hobby Lobby will get a chance to challenge Obamacare's contraceptive mandate before the U.S. Supreme Court, after justices agreed to take the appeal on Tuesday.

The case centers around Hobby Lobby's refusal to comply with the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate -- one that would require the company to provide its employees with a minimum level of "preventative health benefits, including contraception," reports The Associated Press.

Small business owners nationwide have been challenging Obamacare, but will Hobby Lobby succeed by arguing for corporate religious freedom?

A Florida business owner is suing over Obamacare's employer mandate delay, after allegedly spending substantial time and resources preparing to be ready by the original 2014 deadline.

Larry Kawa, an orthodontist from Boca Raton, had a suit filed on his behalf by the public interest firm Judicial Watch on Tuesday, alleging that "the delay harmed [his] business," The Daily Caller reports.

Are suits like Kawa's even possible?

The government shutdown began at midnight on Tuesday, and already businesses are wondering how they will feel the pinch from the federal gridlock.

For many small businesses, life and profits will continue as usual. But for some, the shutdown could throw a wrench into the works.

Here are five examples of how the government shutdown could make Q4 more interesting for small business owners:

Some small businesses may be eligible for tax credits under Obamacare for providing health insurance to their employees, depending on the size of the company and a few other factors.

Businesses with 50 full-time employees or more will be required in 2015 to provide their employees with a minimum level of health insurance.

What if your business has fewer than 50 full-time workers? Then you can choose whether or not to offer health coverage; if you do, then it's possible you may even qualify for a tax break.

Is your small business eligible for Obamacare tax credits?

Don't Forget: 'Obamacare Letters' Due Oct. 1

Small business owners, listen up: Don't forget that your so-called "Obamacare letters" must be mailed to employees by October 1.

While small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees are generally not required to offer employee health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the "Obamacare letter" requirement still applies to almost all companies.

If your business falls under the Fair Labor Standards Act, then you are required to notify your employees about the Affordable Care Act's health-care exchanges, Fox News reports.

What does this letter need to say? Here's a breakdown:

UPS will be dropping health care coverage for some 15,000 employees' spouses, citing "costs associated with" Obamacare.

United Parcel Service told employees in a July memo that "limiting plan eligibility" is a prudent way to maintain coverage for current employees "now and into the future," especially in light of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), reports The New York Times.

Even if it's just to save a dime, should your business cut employee benefits?

Teen clothing outlet Forever 21 is coming under fire on social media after a leaked memo declared that many of its full-time employees would be moved to part-time positions before the end of August.

While many cited Forever 21's move as a reaction to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the retailer insists its decision was based on "projected store sales" and not the controversial health care law that includes an employer mandate, reports The Washington Post.

Even if Forever 21 is trying to skirt Obamacare, is it possible for a small business to simply demote its full-time employees to part time?