Deducting business meal expenses under today’s tax rules
You probably spend a bundle “wining and dining” customers, vendors and employees. Under current tax law, entertainment expenses are no longer deductible. But you can still deduct 50% of the cost of business-related food and beverages, if you meet certain requirements. What if you buy food and beverages at an entertainment event? You can still deduct 50% of the expenses incurred at entertainment events, but only if business was conducted during the event or shortly before or after. And keep receipts that separately state the meal costs. Contact us with questions.
Understanding how taxes factor into an M&A transaction
If your company is merging with or acquiring another business, it’s important to understand how the transaction will be taxed. For tax purposes, a transaction can basically be structured in two ways: stock (or ownership interest) or assets. For tax and nontax reasons, buyers usually prefer to purchase assets, while sellers generally prefer stock sales. Buying or selling a business may be the most important deal you’ll ever make, so seek professional tax advice as you negotiate. After a deal is done, it may be too late to get the best tax results. Contact us.
2019 Q2 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers
Here are a few key tax deadlines for businesses during Q2 of 2019. APR. 1: File with the IRS if you’re an employer that will electronically file 2018 Forms 1097, 1098, certain Forms 1099 and/or Form W-2G. APR. 15: If you’re a calendar-year corporation, file a 2018 income tax return (Form 1120) or file for a six-month extension (Form 7004) and pay any tax due. APR. 30: Employers report income tax withholding and FICA taxes for Q1 2019 (Form 941) and pay any tax due. Contact us to learn more about filing requirements and ensure you meet all applicable deadlines.
When are LLC members subject to self-employment tax?
Limited liability company (LLC) members commonly claim that their distributive shares of LLC income (after deducting compensation for services in the form of guaranteed payments) aren’t subject to self-employment (SE) tax. But the IRS has been seeking back taxes and penalties from LLC members it claims have underreported SE income, with some success in court. At the greatest risk are LLC members who are comparable to general partners in a partnership. We can help you assess whether the IRS might successfully claim that you’ve underpaid SE taxes.
Depreciation-related breaks on business real estate: What you need to know when you file your 2018 return
Commercial buildings and improvements generally are depreciated over 39 years, which essentially means you can deduct a portion of the cost every year over the depreciation period. (Land isn’t depreciable.) But special tax breaks that allow deductions to be taken more quickly are available for certain real estate investments. Some were enhanced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and may provide a bigger benefit when you file your 2018 tax return. But there are two breaks you may not be able to enjoy due to a drafting error in the TCJA. Contact us to learn more.
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.
How entrepreneurs must treat expenses on their tax returns
Have you recently started a new business or are you contemplating starting one? Keep in mind that not all start-up expenses can be deducted on your federal tax return right away. Some expenses probably must be amortized over time. You might be able to make an election to deduct up to $5,000 currently, but the deduction is reduced by the amount by which your total start-up costs exceed $50,000. You can also deduct $5,000 of the organizational costs of creating a corporation or partnership. Contact us. We can help you maximize deductions for a start-up business.
Divorcing business owners need to pay attention to tax implications
If you’re getting a divorce, you know it’s a highly stressful time. But if you’re a business owner, tax issues can complicate matters more. For example, you can generally divide most assets, including business ownership interests, between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse without any federal income or gift tax consequences. When an asset falls under the tax-free transfer rule, the spouse who receives the asset takes over its existing tax basis and existing holding period. Contact us. We can help minimize the adverse tax consequences of settling your divorce.