Itemized deductions versus the standard deduction
The TCJA doubles the standard deduction, but suspends the personal exemptions and virtually eliminates many of the itemized deductions. The law temporarily eliminates miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2 percent floor and limits the home mortgage interest deduction to home acquisition debt of up to $750,000.
With these changes, some taxpayers may see a lower taxes. Some taxpayers that itemized in the past may not for 2018. Contact us is you need to run the numbers for your tax situation. If the results are grim, you may need to adjust your employer withholding (Form W-4) and/or quarterly estimated tax payments.
Bunch charitable contributions
The TCJA temporarily increases the limit of cash contributions to public charities from 50 to 60 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The only problem (as mentioned above) is that the double standard deduction and itemized changes will leave many taxpayers left out. One solution is to bunch or increase charitable contributions in alternating years, or set up donor-advised funds.
Watch out for home equity debt interest
The TCJA allows for home equity debt interest if the funds were used to buy or substantially improve the home that secures the loan. Taxpayers must keep good records to ensure that the proceeds were used in this manner, payment to credit card or other personal debt is not allowed (even if prior to 2018).
Revisit 529 qualified tuition plans
The TCJA revises earnings in a 529 college savings plan and allows for paying tuition at an elementary or secondary public, private or religious school, up to $10,000 per year. If you fall in this boat, it may be time to revisit their 529 plans.
Maximize the qualified business income deduction
And of course last but not least the QBI deduction (from our last post) for small business owners. Be sure to contact us for steps how this deduction can save your hard earned dollars
Recently the IRS released "Notice 2018-64" regarding the new Qualified Business Income (QBI) 20% deduction. Now I won't go into great details regarding the notice, but it basically provides small businesses with a method for calculating W-2 wages for the purposes of determining if a small business qualifies for QBI. The notice outlines the regulations and specifies which business types qualify for the deduction. These regulations are proposed regulations (may be subject to change) and tax payers and professionals will need to rely on this guidance until final regulations are published.
The new QBI regulations will affect a great deal of small business owners in more ways than one. Some questions that small business owners need to address include:
We are currently developing a presentation that will go into greater detail regarding the QBI deduction and what you need to do as a small business owner to protect your hard earned dollars.
Presidential Candidates Tax Proposals
With just a few days left to go out and vote, here are the tax proposals for the two leading candidates.
In honor of The Masters golf tournament this week, here is a tax tip that can save you a couple of strokes off your tax bill. It's the good old "Augusta Rule" (Section 280A(g) of the Internal Revenue Code) in honor of the residents of Augusta, Georgia who rent their homes to spectators visiting The Masters.
Great thing is you don't have to be in Augusta to take part in this tax break. You’ll also see residents of Super Bowl host cities, political convention sites, music festivals, and Olympic Games host cities take advantage of the rule. And many taxpayers who live in less exotic locations take advantage of the opportunity to rent out their vacation homes when they would otherwise sit empty.
However, this rule also opens the door to renting your home to your business, paying a reasonable deductible rent out of the business account, and then treating it as non-taxable income when it hits your personal account. You can rent your home for all sorts of purposes, including business meetings, employee events, and even a limited amount of employee entertainment.
The key to making this work is to document your bona fide use of the home, and show that the rent you charge is reasonable. Need help feel free to contact us.
If procrastination were the Super Bowl, many small business owners (SBO's) would have multiple "Lombardi" trophies.
Time to put away those whites (unless you are Billy "White Shoes" Johnson) and pull out the ole playbook of late summer early fall tax planning ideas. Just like the start of the NFL football season brings teams a new playbook, SBO's need to update their tax strategy playbooks now to ensure that they will be ready for the tax planning season starting now.
Most SBO's can take a look at their previous season's record to give them an idea of how good their tax playbook was and where they need to be this year. If you have not "completed the 2013 tax season" yet, here are some of the more important "game" dates in the coming months where many SBO's can complete the 2013 tax season.
• September 15th - Tax extension deadline for C-Corps, S-Corps and Partnerships
• October 15th - Tax extension deadline for personal tax returns
• December 31st - Final day of tax planning for 2014 season
If you have completed the 2013 tax, great, but this is not the time to sit back on your laurels! Time is now to focus on new tax plays for the 2014 season. The tax league’s “Front Office” is making quite a few rule changes this year that may make it difficult for SBO’s to score many tax savings touchdowns (expiring tax provisions for SBO’s), but the basic rules are still in effect. Since the season is shorter than the NFL one, tax planning is key to saving your small business thousands. Using legal "black letter" tax strategies in your playbook will ensure you have a winning record this season.
Need help devising your tax strategy playbook, feel free to contact us.
Have a Safe Labor Day
Today begins the long extended Labor Day holiday weekend and many individuals have probably already taken the day away from "labor" and their auto-responders are doing all the "work" today.
For many small businesses however, they are more likely than not hard at work today servicing clients and supporting their employees that have taken the day off. The Labor Day holiday is a day to celebrate you...the small business owner.
Signed into law in 1894 by President Cleveland, Labor Day celebrates the American Labor movement, and you as the small business owner are an important part of that continued movement. Back then it was an industrial movement, but today it is more about innovation, and technology. Either way the small business owner will always have a place in the American economy.
So when you finally do get to take the day off and enjoy the barbecue, beach, and college football holiday weekend be sure to remember that it is YOUR efforts that we are celebrating.
Thanks for your efforts small business community. Have a safe Labor Day weekend.
There is a tax firm out there that can help their clients pay no income tax. This tax firm is comprised of a large work force that has access to all the necessary technology tools and tax information to ensure that their clients use all the legal loopholes to bring their tax liability to zero and many times a surplus. This tax firm is so good at saving their clients tax dollars that major accounting firms even loan their employees to them!
Sounds like a great accounting right? Only one problem this accounting firm has one client...and that client is GE.
GE's Tax department is one of the most prestigious tax firms in the country. A quick Google search of "GE Tax Department" shows the efforts that GE goes through to pay no taxes.
Most small business owners don't have the resources and time to research the tax strategies like their "Big Boy" counterparts. They then go about taxes much the same way most personal taxpayers do, taking the last minute "SALY" approach. Learn more about "SALY" here.
Approaching taxes as a routine is ok, if your routine is done on a consistent basis. But even a consistent routine has small changes. Take your morning routine for instance. You may get up at the same time every day, but is the same song playing when you wake, or do you have the same breakfast every morning? The same goes for your tax planning routine. There is a consistent guide that you follow, but you must always monitor for the changes. This includes staying up to date on tax changes, and how they affect your business decisions during the year.
There are quite a few tax issues affecting small businesses currently. From the changes in depreciation, and deduction rules to healthcare now is the time to take advantage of tax strategies for main street businesses like yours.
It's doesn't take having a large tax firm as your tax department to save your hard earned money, but it does take some work (with a little help from a tax expert friend like us :-).
So do like "Nike" the Goddess of motivation/implementation and "just do it".
As the Independence Day 4th of July celebrations are being finalized for later this week, I got to thinking about the feeling I had as an entrepreneur the day I claimed independence from the typical route and set out on my own destiny. Being an entrepreneur can provide a person with the ability to be independent but that can be both an asset and a liability.
On the one hand you get to make all the decisions. Many of those decisions are made however with either little to no knowledge of the situation or the effects of those choices made (especially in the early stages of a business). Typically when decisions are made in this manner, a setback (or as some would call it a learning experience) occurs.
We have learned, from taking a look back at history, the main reason we celebrate Independence Day is due to the tax burden placed on American colonists by the British. Taxes have always caused many small business owners grief. In a recent report by Paychex, a leading payroll provider; 47% of small business owners ranked taxes as the largest issue impacting them in 2014. If that includes you, then now is the time to claim your tax independence.
So in between the plates of hot dogs, ribs and watching the fireworks, download the "Tax Independence Survey" below and stop making the expensive tax mistakes that keep many entrepreneurs and small businesses worried about their tax future. The survey focuses on key areas of your life (business and personal) where there may be tax savings that you can use to celebrate more holidays (maybe Christmas in July) with your family. Then after the holiday contact us so we can begin implementing some of the tax strategies.
We hope you have a safe and happy Independence Day 4th of July celebration.
Operating a successful small business requires an innovative approach to your business, openness to change, and the ability to implement those changes. When a small business is in the “growth” stage, wearing the many hats can become difficult for the business owner leading the business. Most small business owners feel they need to be in every aspect of their business to ensure its continued success, however this thought process is not always the best course of action.
Take accounting and bookkeeping for example.
Many small business owners spend the majority of their time working in their businesses, that when it comes time to work on it (the accounting, bookkeeping stuff) they are exhausted from the work, source documents have been misplaced and other important information has been forgotten. Some business owners then chose the option of hiring a staff person to do the “grunt” work.
Accounting is the foundation of any business. There is virtually no action you can do in your business without it creating an accounting transaction. From source document to financial statements and analysis, a small business owner needs the support of a capable, consistent, compliant partner.
An outsourced accounting partner is the bridge to your small business success. Outsourcing your accounting provides you with the confidence that your financial records will be handled correctly from start to finish. You also will have a higher level of expertise for situations that require more than just “grunt” work, and your information can be processed faster with cloud technologies allowing you real-time access to your data.
If you are a small business owner still struggling to keep up with the accounting and bookkeeping tasks in your business, then maybe it’s time to build a bridge to your success with outsourced accounting.
While getting in my morning run at the local high school track, I came across a notice informing parents that summer football camp would be starting next week with practices starting at 7am -1pm (have to start early with the hot summer days in the south). This got me thinking about how many high school football teams prepare for the upcoming season with summer practices, cardio and strength training and of course class work (except in this case it’s watching film and learning the playbook). As you can see, many high school football teams are not taking off this summer.
Another team that is not taking off for the summer is the IRS, and it seems that their playbook gets more complicated year after year. As a small business owner, you need to also “train” in the off-season so that your small business will be ready. Just like the football team, preparation before the season is a key component to success. You need to come up with tax strategies in your playbook to save your hard earned money. The summer is not the time to take off so use the “down” time and the calendar to your advantage.
The summer football camp also got me thinking about a tax strategy that can help small business owners pay for the football camp via income shifting to their kids (add this one to your tax strategy playbook). Hiring your kids in your small business will shift income to a lower tax bracket and at the same time allowing the football camp payment to be a business expense. For more details on hiring kids in your small business be sure to read the chapter, How Employing Family Can Cut Taxes in my book “Expensive Tax Mistakes That Cost Small Business Owners Thousands” on Amazon.
So use the summer to your advantage as a small business owner and hire your kids. Just be sure that their work schedule does not conflict with football camp.