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.

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You may be able to save more for retirement in 2019

Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, and most have increased for 2019. So you may have opportunities to increase your retirement savings. Limits for 401(k)s, SIMPLEs and IRAs increase by $500, to $19,000, $13,000 and $6,000, respectively. Catch-up contributions (for taxpayers age 50 or older) remain unchanged, however. They’re $6,000, $3,000 and $1,000, respectively. Additional factors may affect how much you’re allowed to contribute. For more on how to make the most of tax-advantaged retirement-saving opportunities in 2019, contact us.

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.

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Could “bunching” medical expenses into 2018 save you tax?

Some of your medical expenses may be tax deductible, but only if you itemize deductions and have enough expenses to exceed the applicable floor for deductibility. With proper planning, you may be able to time controllable medical expenses to your tax advantage. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) could make bunching such expenses into 2018 beneficial for some taxpayers. At the same time, certain taxpayers who’ve benefited from the deduction in previous years might no longer benefit because of the TCJA’s increase to the standard deduction. Contact us to learn more.

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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.

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Consider all the tax consequences before making gifts to loved ones

Many people choose to pass assets to the next generation during life, whether to reduce the size of their taxable estate, to help out family members or simply to see their loved ones enjoy the gifts. If you’re considering lifetime gifts, be aware that which assets you give can affect the tax consequences. For example, to minimize your heir’s income tax, gift property that hasn’t appreciated significantly while you’ve owned it. The heir can sell the property at a minimal income tax cost. Contact us to discuss the tax consequences of any gifts you’d like to make.

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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!

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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.

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529 plans offer two tax-advantaged education funding options

Section 529 plans are a popular education-funding tool because of tax and other benefits. Two types are available: 1) prepaid tuition plans, and 2) savings plans. A prepaid tuition plan guarantees tuition regardless of its cost when the child attends the school. A savings plan can fund expenses beyond college tuition on a tax-free basis. The TCJA expands the definition of qualified expenses to generally include elementary and secondary school tuition. However, tax-free distributions used for such tuition are limited to $10,000 per year. Contact us with questions.

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Charitable IRA rollovers may be especially beneficial in 2018

If you’re age 70 1/2 or older, you can make direct contributions (up to $100,000 annually) from your IRA to a qualified charity without owing any income tax on the distributions.  While you might be able to achieve a similar result from taking the RMD, contributing that amount to charity and taking an itemized deduction for the donation, fewer taxpayers benefit from itemizing under the TCJA. Contact us for details.

Read more: Charitable IRA rollovers may be especially beneficial in 2018

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