The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) created a new opportunity for business owners and taxpayers with capital gains to shield taxes on those gains if the investment is made into a Qualified Opportunity Zone.
As we move through December, students will start taking final exams. Think back to your school days; were you a crammer or a planner? Imagine studying and preparing all year for an exam on material that is completely new to you. You are told you can study for twelve months and the exam will begin after a one month wait. This is the situation we find ourselves in with the new tax law. The time for studying will end this month, and after about another month to approve tax forms, update tax software, and provide tax information, the final exam will begin. Will you receive a passing grade on your tax return exam?
As the calendar turns to November, it’s important to take a look at what you’re winning and losing with the 2018 tax law changes. You may want to know what your situation will look like compared to 2017 using the 2018 tax changes. Some business owners feel like they are losing a lot, because that’s what they hear— from the news, media, their friends, and maybe even their family. However, they may not lose at all. In fact, by losing deductions, business owners may win.
Let’s look at a comparison. Our comparison is designed to determine what’s lost with the new tax law changes, using the same financial information for each year.
As the rain slows down, it's time to start cleaning up. If your business was affected by the recent rains, that cleanup will take on a different meaning. It’s easy to determine what kind of cleanup effort has to take place if you’re standing in several inches or feet of water. But if you’re a business owner and you’re trying to determine how to clean up with the new 20% deduction for qualified business income (QBI), you may need to look a little harder.
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A business owner wears many hats. The old adage “chief cook and bottle washer” applies in many small businesses. The conventional thinking is that your business is your vision, and the only way to see it carried out is to do it all yourself. Another line of thinking is that because you enjoy handling any given aspect of the job, there is no need for someone else to do it.
Without help, you will only be able to do so many tasks. The tasks that need immediate attention will get done first, because they are the ones that are needed to keep the business running. The short, medium, and long range tasks will seldom, if ever, be completed. This is true if you are a freelance consultant, restaurant owner, manufacturer, or service provider. Most business owners are very good at hiring from the bottom up, but the breakout moment for a small business owner is when they hire or contract for upper management or senior level positions. One of these positions is a Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Nearly everyone knows about the famous 1970s television series ”The Brady Bunch:” two parents, six children, a housekeeper, and a dog all under one roof. In fact the house shown as the exterior on the show just sold for 3.5 million dollars.
Now, in 2018, another bunch is looking to sweep across America and grab ahold of the American taxpayer: the bunching of charitable donations, deductions, and contributions on one tax return for maximum effectiveness.
A little over two years ago, there was a Facebook post that caught national attention. The post simply asked “What color dress do you see?” Was it blue and black or white and gold? Some people saw it one way and couldn’t imagine it be anything else. Others were uncertain because they saw it one color one day and another color the next. For the people who were sure they were right, they weighed in on the public debate, while others that were unsure may have chosen to hold back from weighing in. After a few weeks, the fervor died down and life went back to normal.
Such is the situation we find ourselves in with the conversion to a C Corporation. When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed, articles were written that touted all business owners would make the conversion to take advantage of the reduced tax rates. Nothing could shake these authors from their thoughts. There were other authors who were uncertain. Turns out, they are both correct. No matter where you land on the issue, business owners will respond based on how they feel.
Whether you are finishing up your 2017 federal and state tax returns, or trying to figure out how the new tax laws apply to your business, the next tax deadline could be as soon as tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day that you could finalize your 2017 taxes, start the process of educating yourself on the new tax laws, or make an appointment to review your current 2018 tax situation with your trusted advisor. No matter where you are in the process, setting a deadline is helpful to achieve your goals.
With the federal tax deadline behind us, you might be thinking you’re done with tax deadlines for a while. But if you own commercial property, you’re not quite in the clear. You’ve likely already received your notice of appraised value from your county, but have you filed your commercial property tax protest yet? The deadline to file a protest is fast approaching, and with so many different tax deadlines to keep up with, it’s easy to forget one.
Business owners whose companies are structured as pass-through entities (where income passes through to the Form 1040 and is taxed at personal income tax rates) sometimes think they may do better if they switch their business to a C Corporation. In a C Corporation, income is taxed at the business level, and is a flat 21% tax rate. The process to determine whether or not to switch is one of the hotly debated topics among CPAs and clients this tax season. Answers to this question include yes, no, maybe, and my favorite: it depends. In the end, the answer is universally subjective, not only to each type of business, but to each individual.