Many tax-related limits affecting businesses increase for 2019
A variety of tax-related limits affecting businesses are annually indexed for inflation, and many have increased for 2019. For example, the Section 179 expensing limit has gone up to $1.02 million from $1 million. Also up are the income-based phase-ins for certain limits on the new-last-year Sec. 199A qualified business income deduction for owners of pass-through entities. And most limits related to employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, are higher this year. Contact us for more information about the limits that will affect your business in 2019.
Higher mileage rate may mean larger tax deductions for business miles in 2019
A higher IRS mileage rate means larger tax deductions for business miles in 2019. The optional standard mileage rate used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an auto for business has increased by 3.5 cents, to 58 cents per mile. The mileage rate comes into play when businesses don’t want to keep track of actual vehicle-related expenses. But you still must record certain information, such as the mileage, date and destination for each trip. The mileage rate can also be used for reimbursing employees. Many rules and limits apply. Contact us for details.
Is there still time to pay 2018 bonuses and deduct them on your 2018 return?
There aren’t too many things businesses can do after a year ends to reduce tax liability for that year. But you might be able to pay employee bonuses for 2018 in 2019 and still deduct them on your 2018 tax return. To be eligible for this favorable tax treatment, you must be an accrual-basis taxpayer and the bonus liability must have been fixed by the end of the tax year, which requires passing the “all-events test” and may necessitate a bonus pool arrangement. If you’re a calendar-year company, you must pay the bonuses by March 15. Contact us to learn more.
A refresher on major tax law changes for small-business owners
The dawning of 2019 means the 2018 income tax filing season will soon be upon us. After year end, it’s generally too late to take action to reduce 2018 taxes. Business owners may, therefore, want to shift their focus to assessing whether they’ll likely owe taxes or get a refund when they file their returns this spring, so they can plan accordingly. With the biggest tax law changes in decades (under the TCJA) generally going into effect beginning in 2018, most businesses and their owners will be significantly impacted. Contact us for a refresher on the changes.
6 last-minute tax moves for your business
Tax planning is a year-round activity, but there are still some year-end strategies you can use to lower your 2018 tax bill. Here are six last-minute tax moves business owners should consider: 1) Postpone invoices. 2) Prepay expenses. 3) Buy equipment. 4) Use credit cards. 5) Contribute to retirement plans. 6) Qualify for the new “pass-through” deduction. These strategies are subject to various limitations and restrictions, so consult us before you implement them. We can also offer more ideas for reducing your taxes this year and next.
Can a PTO contribution arrangement help your employees and your business?
As the year winds to a close, most businesses see employees taking a lot of vacation time. After all, it’s the holiday season, and workers want to enjoy it. But some businesses find themselves particularly short-staffed because they don’t allow unused paid time off (PTO) to be rolled over to the new year. There are good business reasons to limit rollovers. Fortunately, there’s a way to reduce the year-end PTO vortex without allowing unlimited rollovers: a PTO contribution arrangement. It turns PTO into pretax retirement plan contributions. Contact us for details.
2019 Q1 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers
Here are a few key tax-related deadlines for businesses during Q1 of 2019. JAN. 31: File 2018 Forms W-2 with the Social Security Administration and provide copies to employees. Also provide copies of 2018 Forms 1099-MISC to recipients and, if reporting nonemployee compensation in Box 7, file, too. FEB. 28: File 2018 Forms 1099-MISC if not required earlier and paper filing. MAR. 15: If a calendar-year partnership or S corp., file or extend your 2018 tax return. Contact us to learn more about filing requirements and ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines.
When holiday gifts and parties are deductible or taxable
It’s a great time of year for businesses to show their appreciation for employees and customers by giving them gifts or hosting holiday parties. Gifts to customers are generally deductible up to $25 per recipient per year. De minimis, noncash gifts to employees aren’t included in their taxable income yet are still deductible by you. Holiday parties are fully deductible provided they’re primarily for the benefit of non-highly-compensated employees and their families. If customers attend, parties may be partially deductible. Questions? Contact us.
Tax reform expands availability of cash accounting
The cash method of accounting offers greater tax-planning flexibility, allowing some businesses to defer taxable income. Under the TCJA, if your business’s average gross receipts for the previous three tax years are $25 million or less, you generally will now be eligible for the cash method for federal tax purposes, regardless of how your business is structured, your industry or whether you have inventories. Newly eligible businesses should determine whether the cash method would be advantageous and, if so, consider switching methods. Contact us to learn more.
It’s not too late: You can still set up a retirement plan for 2018
If most of your money is tied up in your business, retirement can be a challenge. So if you haven’t already set up a tax-advantaged retirement plan, consider doing so this year. There’s still time to set one up and make contributions that will be deductible on your 2018 tax return. And funds can grow tax deferred. If you have employees, they generally must be allowed to participate in the plan, provided they meet the requirements. But you might be eligible for a $500 tax credit for setting up the plan. Would you like to set up a plan this year? Contact us!
Buy business assets before year end to reduce your 2018 tax liability
Investing in business assets is a traditional and powerful year-end tax planning strategy, and it might make even more sense in 2018. Sec. 179 expensing and bonus depreciation both allow an immediate deduction for the cost of eligible asset purchases, rather than depreciating them over a number of years. The TCJA increases potential deductions under these breaks and expands the assets that are eligible. To qualify, you must place assets in service by the end of the year. So there’s still time to make purchases and reduce your 2018 taxes. Contact us to learn more.
Selling your business? Defer — and possibly reduce — tax with an installment sale
You’re ready to sell your business and want to get the return from it you’ve earned from the time and money you’ve invested. That means getting a good price and minimizing the tax hit on the proceeds. One option that can help defer tax is an installment sale. Spreading gain over several years is especially beneficial if it allows you to stay under the thresholds for triggering the 3.8% net investment income tax or the 20% long-term capital gains rate. But it’s not without tax risk. For help determining whether an installment sale is right for you, contact us.
Business owners: An exit strategy should be part of your tax planning
If you own a business, an exit strategy should be part of your tax planning so that taxes don’t trip you up when you retire or leave the business for some other reason. An exit strategy is a plan for passing on responsibility for running the company, transferring ownership and extracting your money from the business. Common exit options include a buy-sell agreement, succession within the family, a management buyout, an ESOP and a sale to an outsider. Each involves a variety of tax and nontax considerations. Contact us to discuss your exit strategy.
Research credit available to some businesses for the first time
The TCJA didn’t change the research credit, but it has an impact on the credit. Previously, corporations subject to alternative minimum tax (AMT) couldn’t offset the research credit against AMT liability, which erased the credit’s current benefits. By eliminating corporate AMT, the TCJA removed this obstacle. Pass-through businesses can still claim the credit against AMT if their average gross receipts are $50 million or less. And qualifying start-ups without taxable income can still claim the credit against up to $250,000 in payroll taxes. Contact us for details.