Research credit available to some businesses for the first time

The TCJA didn’t change the research credit, but it has an impact on the credit. Previously, corporations subject to alternative minimum tax (AMT) couldn’t offset the research credit against AMT liability, which erased the credit’s current benefits. By eliminating corporate AMT, the TCJA removed this obstacle. Pass-through businesses can still claim the credit against AMT if their average gross receipts are $50 million or less. And qualifying start-ups without taxable income can still claim the credit against up to $250,000 in payroll taxes. Contact us for details.

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Selling your business? Defer — and possibly reduce — tax with an installment sale

You’re ready to sell your business and want to get the return from it you’ve earned from the time and money you’ve invested. That means getting a good price and minimizing the tax hit on the proceeds. One option that can help defer tax is an installment sale. Spreading gain over several years is especially beneficial if it allows you to stay under the thresholds for triggering the 3.8% net investment income tax or the 20% long-term capital gains rate. But it’s not without tax risk. For help determining whether an installment sale is right for you, contact us.

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Tax planning for investments gets more complicated

For investors, fall is a good time to review year-to-date gains and losses. Doing so can help you determine whether to buy or sell investments before year end to save taxes. You also need to consider the TCJA. While it didn’t change long-term capital gains rates, it did change the tax brackets. For 2018 through 2025, these brackets are no longer linked to the ordinary-income tax brackets for individuals. So, for example, you could be subject to the top long-term capital gains rate even if you aren’t subject to the top ordinary-income rate. Questions? Contact us.

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Now’s the time to review your business expenses

As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good idea to review your business’s expenses for deductibility. At the same time, consider whether you’d benefit from accelerating certain expenses into this year. There’s no master list of deductible business expenses in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Some deductions are expressly authorized or excluded, but most are governed by the general rule of IRC Sec. 162, which permits businesses to deduct their “ordinary and necessary” expenses. Also, the TCJA reduces or eliminates many deductions. Contact us to learn more.

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Tax-free fringe benefits help small businesses and their employees

In today’s tightening job market, to attract and retain the best employees, small businesses need to offer not only competitive pay, but also appealing fringe benefits.  Examples include many types of insurance (health, disability, long-term care, life) and assistance plans (dependent care, adoption and educational), subject to certain limits. The tax treatment of some benefits, such as moving expense reimbursements and transportation benefits, has changed under the TCJA. Contact us to learn more.

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Could a cost segregation study help you accelerate depreciation deductions?

Businesses that acquire, construct or substantially improve a building should consider a cost segregation study. It combines accounting and engineering techniques to identify building costs that are properly allocable to tangible personal property rather than real property. This may allow you to accelerate depreciation deductions, thus reducing taxes and boosting cash flow. And the potential benefits are now even greater due to enhancements to certain depreciation-related breaks under the TCJA. Contact us for help assessing the potential tax savings.

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The tax deduction ins and outs of donating artwork to charity

If you collect art, appreciated artwork can make one of the best charitable gifts from a tax perspective. In general, donating appreciated property is doubly beneficial because you can both enjoy a valuable tax deduction and avoid the capital gains taxes you’d owe if you sold the property. The extra benefit from donating artwork comes from the fact that the top long-term capital gains rate for art is 28%, as opposed to 20% for most other appreciated property. To maximize your deduction, plan your gift carefully and follow all the rules. Contact us to learn more.

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Businesses aren’t immune to tax identity theft

Tax identity theft may seem like a problem only for individuals. But increasingly businesses are becoming victims. Business tax identity theft occurs when a criminal uses information from a business (such as the Employer Identification Number) to obtain tax benefits or enable individual tax identity theft schemes. Here are some prevention tips: 1) Educate employees on how to spot tax fraud schemes. 2) Use secure methods to send W-2 forms to employees. 3) Implement risk management strategies designed to flag suspicious communications. Contact us to learn more.

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Be sure your employee travel expense reimbursements will pass muster with the IRS

Does your business reimburse employees’ work-related travel expenses? If you do, you know that it can help attract and retain employees. If you don’t, you may want to start. Changes under the TCJA make such reimbursements even more attractive to employees: Employees are no longer allowed to deduct such expenses. Travel reimbursements also come with tax benefits, but only if you follow a method that passes muster with the IRS. To learn more, contact us. We can help you determine whether you should reimburse such expenses and which method is right for you.

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2018 Q4 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

Here are a few key tax-related deadlines for businesses and other employers during Quarter 4 of 2018.  Keep in mind that this isn't all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you.  Contact us for more about the filing requirements and to ensure you're meeting all applicable deadlines. 


October 15 

  • If a calendar-year C corporation that filed an automatic six-month extension:
    • File a 2017 income tax return (Form 1120) and pay any tax, interest and penalties due.
    • Make contributions for 2017 to certain employer-sponsored retirement plans.

October 31 

  • Report income tax withholding and FICA taxes for third quarter 2018 (Form 941) and pay any tax due. (See exception below under “November 13.”)

November 13 

  • Report income tax withholding and FICA taxes for third quarter 2018 (Form 941), if you deposited on time and in full all of the associated taxes due.

December 17 

  • If a calendar-year C corporation, pay the fourth installment of 2018 estimated income taxes.

© 2018

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