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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As we write this blog, unfortunately, the whole CVOID-19 pandemic is still with us and maybe for a while, though we are hopeful it ends soon.
Here at AK Burton PC, we are working with our clients to create tax plans tailored to their unique situation. Now, during the uncertainty that the pandemic has caused; it is important to answer the questions business clients have now and plan for their future. Here are a few examples of some business tax planning strategies:
Depreciate idle business equipment (idle asset): The pandemic has caused a lot of business equipment to become idle. The business owner needs to show that they plan to use them again as soon as the business returns to full operations. It is known as the “idle asset” rule. If the equipment is abandoned or disposed of then the rule is no longer in effect.
Automatic changes in accounting method: A business owner can make accounting changes right up to the due date of the tax return. Such changes may include: changing the treatment of prepaid expenses, accrued compensation, advanced payments received, reviewing the class lives used for depreciation, and reviewing the application of the uniform capitalization rules on inventory.
Transfer-pricing arrangements: Due to the pandemic, businesses have lost thousands or millions in sales. This has decreased cash flow. So, now customs declarations or adjustments must be revised. Thus, the transfer-pricing for goods may not be relevant due to the three-month (or longer) cessation of business due to the COVID-19 pandemic which did not provide U.S. multinational companies a way to shift tax burdens between jurisdictions. (As we always say, consult with your professional and licensed tax planning consultant.)
Review business receivables to see if there are any write-offs: A “bad debt deduction” is only allowed for debts that are worthless during the tax year that the deduction is taken. The true worthlessness of the debt and the fact that is was taken during the tax year must be determined.
Inventory values: Lower-of-cost-or-market (LCM) inventory valuation may bring inventory write-downs before the inventory is sold. (See your accountant about regulations.) All inventory items must be considered separately so correct values can be determined. (A percentage write-down is allowed for accounting.)
Verify that there is adequate stock and debt basis for S Corps/Partnerships: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act may result in increased deductions and taxes paid for potential refunds. Relief provisions come from a partnership or S corporation and the partner/shareholder must have an adequate tax basis for any deduction or loss that comes from the entity to benefit in the current year from these favorable provisions. if an additional basis needs to be created by making additional capital contributions or loans before the end of the year.
These are just a few examples that may apply to your 2020 business tax planning strategy. While COVID-19 has made tax planning even more challenging, you and your accountant can still work within the guidelines to maximize the benefit of tax planning for your business.
A.K. Burton, PC, has experienced tax advisors who can help you with your 2020 COVID-19 business tax planning. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open! We serve the Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County. MD area.
*** For more information on the forms and other IRS documents, click here.
Here are some new tax laws (2018) that you should keep in mind as you file your taxes in 2019:
Standard Deductions increased: Married and filing jointly increased from $13,000 to $24,000. Single taxpayers and those who are married and file separately have an increase from $6,500 to $12,000. Heads of households went from $9,550 to $18,000.
Personal Exemption: The $4,050 personal tax exemption has been eliminated.
The top income tax rate changed: Individuals with incomes of $500,000 or higher will be at the new 37 percent top rate. Those filing jointly at $600,000 or up and married will be at the top rate. (The top tax brackets are found here.)
Child Tax Credit: It is now worth up to $2,000 per qualifying child. The age cut-off is still 17. (Children must be under 17 at the end of the year to claim the credit). The refundable portion is now only $1,400. The earned income threshold for the refundable credit is lowered to $2,500. Phase out for the child tax credit increases in 2018 to $200,000 ($400,000 for joint filers). The phase out applies to the new $500 credit for other dependents. (Child must have a valid SSN to qualify for the $2,000 Child Tax Credit.)
Home Equity Loans: It limits the deductibility of mortgage interest up to $750,000 of debt used to buy a home. It also does not allow deducting the interest on home equity loans.
Moving expenses eliminated: Once, over a million taxpayers claimed this deduction. This exemption has been totally scrapped. Only member of the military on active duty can claim this deduction.
Tax Preparation Fees are eliminated: Fees you paid to your accountant or tax preparer were once combined with other miscellaneous deductions and deductible to the extent the total exceeded 2% of your adjusted gross income. Unfortunately, this deduction has also been deleted.
Job expenses: In the past deductions for licenses, medical tests, tools, clothing and equipment were deductible. They can only now be deducted by the employer.
Parking and transit fees: Up to $255 per month from their employer towards parking and transit costs were allowed. Employers could also deduct these reimbursements, which were also tax-free to the employee. Employers can no longer deduct these reimbursements.
So, as you can see, filing your individual, married or business taxes from 2018 will look much different than they did in the past. Many of these changes will make filing less complicated for some and more complicated for others. If you are unsure of what you can claim, consult your licensed tax accountant or tax adviser.
Fall is a beautiful time of year. Holidays are around the corner and taxes are the last thing you want to think about. However, certain events can drastically change your tax liability. Now is the time to plan for these changes so that a large tax bill doesn’t sneak up on you.
Just like the leaves changing, things change during the year.A job promotion, new job, retirement, adding a new family member, or maybe an inheritance are some examples of significant events that may impact your taxes.
Here are a few reasons to contact us at A.K. Burton PC for tax planning services:
A change in employment. Any change in your earnings should have you reaching out to our office to discuss the best course of action. For example: when hired, you fill out form W-4 to set your allowances. Do you want one, two, or what does allowances even mean? By discussing the matter with us, we analyze and make the best decision with you.
Form of compensation. For example: a change in how your money is earned such as from an employee earning income that is reported on form W2 to an independent contractor being compensated by form 1099-MISC triggers a significant tax event. Contact our office to discuss the steps that you need to take as an independent contractor. One of those steps is making estimated tax payments based on your income.
Retirement. If you’re looking at retiring it is essential to contact our office and discuss what the change in income will be and what steps you’ve taken so far in the process. There are many options concerning your retirement and tax liability. Be especially cognizant of required minimum distributions once you turn 70 ½ years old. These distributions are required and the withholding that has been set up in the past may not be enough to avoid a tax liability. Contact our office to plan ahead and work to avoid unnecessary surprises.
Capital gains. A large gain from an investment may trigger a nasty surprise depending on your tax bracket and other income. Any significant change in investment income should be discussed with your tax adviser.
Investment property. There are many taxable situations that occur when dealing with a rental property. Many tax rules are not understood by other professionals to the extent of our staff’s knowledge. Before making the decision to sell that condo you’re renting out; contact our office and double check what tax consequences may ensue. It only takes minutes to shoot us an email or give us a call. You’ll be happy you did.
These are only some of the reasons to engage in year end tax planning with your tax advisor. Any significant change in your life should be discussed with your advisor as soon as possible. Year-end tax planning is a great way to wrap up the year and prepare for filing your taxes. At A.K. Burton, PC we specialize in year-end tax planning because it is a service our clients consistently rely on.
A.K. Burton, PC, which serves the Washington,D.C. and Bethesda, MD area, has experienced and licensed individual financial advisers who can help you with your year-end small business tax preparation. Contact us at (301) 365-1974 for more information or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.