Category Archives: tax preparation

Five Tax-Planning Strategies to Try Before 12/31/2020

It’s November. What comes to mind when you hear November? Holidays and turkey time? At my work, we are thinking about something a little different…tax planning! The tax year 2020 is drawing to a close. That means there’s still a good month left for tax planning. If you own a business, you still have time to make some crucial, time-saving, and money-saving tax planning decisions. The tax year 2020 has held some significant challenges navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Tax planning is important; especially if your business has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Contact your tax preparer to discuss some tax planning strategies. Next thing you know, the first quarter 2021 will be happening and it will be time to put that planning to good use.

Take the time to meet with your CPA and go over your books. Here are some tax-planning ideas to get the ball rolling:

  1. Claim quick disaster loss refunds. Businesses can claim specific losses attributable to a disaster on a prior-year tax return. This is meant to provide quicker refunds. The Trump COVID-19 disaster declaration designated all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories as disaster areas. Almost every U.S. business is in the covered disaster area thus making it eligible for refunds, depending on the losses. A business may claim a COVID-19 related disaster loss occurring in 2020 on a 2019 amended return for a quicker refund. It may affect losses coming from many different circumstances, such as loss of inventory or supplies or office, plant, or store closures. The loss must actually be attributable to or caused by COVID-19.
  2. Payroll tax deductions. The CARES Act lets employers defer paying their 6.2% share of Social Security taxes for the rest of 2020. Half of it is due by Dec. 31, 2021. The second half is due by Dec. 31, 2022. Payroll taxes cannot be deducted until their share is paid. Some taxpayers may pay the taxes as late as 8½ months into 2021 but still, claim a deduction for 2020.
  3. Use above-the-line charitable deduction. In the past, there was no tax benefit for giving to charity unless you itemized deductions. The CARES Act, however, created an above-the-line deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions from taxpayers who don’t itemize. In order to take advantage of this provision, donate by 12/31/2020. 
  4. Make up a tax shortfall with increased withholding. COVID-19 caused cash-flow issues for many businesses this year. Your withholding and estimated taxes should align with what you actually expect to pay while you correct the cash flow issue. If you are in danger of being penalized for underpaying taxes, make it up through increased withholding on your salary or bonuses.
  5. Use low-interest rates and generous exemptions. Interest rates this year are historically low. Plus, lifetime gift and estate tax exemptions can still be utilized. COVID-19 is depressing many asset values but you can still use estate-planning strategies. The present gift and estate tax exemptions are scheduled to expire in a few years. 
  6. Claim AMT refunds. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) repealed the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT). Now, corporations may claim all their unused AMT credits in the tax years beginning in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows corporations to claim credits in either 2018 or 2019. Companies have several options to file for quick refunds. They can file a tentative refund claim on Form 1139. It must be filed on 12/31/2020 to claim an AMT credit.

There are a number of tax planning strategies that may be in the best interest of your business. In order to customize your tax planning strategy, we need to meet with you, analyze the data, and discuss. The tax planning process takes some time, so don’t wait until the last minute. Contact us today and consult one of our experienced tax advisors. 

A.K. Burton, PC, can assist small business clients with their taxes. We are familiar with the CARES Act and TCJA and can advise our clients on being proactive in their tax planning by the end of the year. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open! We serve Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County. MD area.

*** You can find more information about TCJA at the IRS website

Small Business Tax Preparation: The Five Biggest Mistakes People Make

We have finally reached the fourth quarter of 2020.

2020 has been a year like no other, especially for small businesses. Tax deadline changes, COVID restrictions, added tax laws…it’s hard to keep up with it all.

AK Burton, PC specializes in helping our small business clients keep up with their taxes. Is October the time to think about taxes? Yes. Now is the time to get in touch with your CPA if you have had an abnormal business year and plan how to close out 2020.

As you and your accountant begin the tax taking a look at your small business taxes, keep in mind these five biggest mistakes people make in small business tax preparation:

  1. Misclassifying employees and independent contractors: Misidentifying a person as a contractor and not as an employee will lead to penalties and interest for non-payment of the employer share of employment taxes. The business must give every employee a W-2, and every contractor that was paid more than $600 gets a Form 1099-Misc.  
  1. Failure to pay “reasonable wages” to shareholders of an S-Corporation: The IRS states that for the 1120S income tax return that “Distributions and other payments by an S corporation to a corporate officer must be treated as wages to the extent the amounts are reasonable compensation for services rendered to the corporation.” The shareholder plays an active, day-to-day role in the business, so, they are an employee and have to be paid a market-based salary for that position.
  1. Missing valid deductions or overstating business expenses: If your business expenses exceed its income, you may get the unwanted attention of the IRS. All of your business expenses need to be considered. IRS rules are quite strict on home office expenses as whatever is used for business should not be used for any other purposes than business. The IRS is “generous” when it comes to some Schedule C expenses. Be sure to use the depreciation schedule that the IRS has for deducting business equipment, business vehicles, and buildings. ***
  1. Improperly mixing business and personal expenses: This is one of the most common business tax filing mistakes of all. Many business clients co-mingle their personal and business banking accounts. “Co-mingling” your personal and business checking accounts makes it hard to distinguish which expenses are tax-deductible. Please keep personal income and expenses out of business bank accounts.
  1. Failure to plan: Tax laws can be complex. Most business owners are too busy running their company to understand all of the tax law nuances. A CPA or tax attorney is experienced in these matters and can help the business properly manage their accounting and business processes. Tax advice can help businesses take advantage of their resources and avoid unwanted consequences that may unknowingly occur due to the complexity of the tax laws. If you are about to incur an unusual financial transaction such as a large asset purchase or sale that is not an ordinary part of your business activity, contact your CPA to discuss the tax implications of the transaction. There may be unforeseen and unexpected tax consequences.  

At A.K. Burton, PC, our specialty is assisting small business clients with their taxes. We are familiar with the tax laws and can advise our clients on being proactive in their tax planning for now and the future. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open! We serve Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County. MD area.

*** You can find the IRS Depreciation Form 4562 here.