Keep it SIMPLE: A tax-advantaged retirement plan solution for small businesses

If your small business doesn’t have a retirement plan and has 100 or fewer employees, consider a SIMPLE IRA. Offering a retirement plan can provide your business with valuable tax deductions for its contributions and help attract and retain employees. As the name implies, a SIMPLE IRA is easy to set up and maintain. Eligible employees can defer up to $12,500 in 2018 (plus a catch-up of up to $3,000 for those age 50 or older). The deadline for setting one up for this year is Oct. 1, 2018. Contact us to learn more about SIMPLE IRAs and other retirement plan options.

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Keep an eye out for extenders legislation

The pieces of tax legislation garnering the most attention these days are the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law last December and the possible “Tax Reform 2.0” that Congress might pass this fall. But what happens with “extenders” legislation is also important. It affects whether the above-the-line deduction for tuition and related expenses, the mortgage insurance premium deduction and the exclusion from gross income for mortgage loan forgiveness will be available for 2018. Contact us with questions about these breaks and whether you can benefit.

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Choosing the right accounting method for tax purposes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) liberalized the eligibility rules for using the cash method of accounting, making this method (which is simpler than the accrual method) available to more businesses. Now the IRS has provided procedures for obtaining automatic consent to change accounting method under the TCJA. If you’re eligible for both methods, consider whether switching would be beneficial. 

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The TCJA prohibits undoing 2018 Roth IRA conversions, but 2017 conversions are still eligible

Converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA can provide tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement. But conversions are subject to income tax. Before the TCJA, if you discovered a conversion would be too costly tax-wise, you could undo it using a “recharacterization” and avoid the tax hit. Effective with 2018 conversions, the TCJA prohibits recharacterizations. If, however, you converted to a Roth IRA in 2017, you have until Oct. 15, 2018, to undo it. We can help you assess whether to recharacterize a 2017 conversion or execute a 2018 conversion.

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An FLP can save tax in a family business succession

A family limited partnership (FLP) can help you enjoy the tax benefits of transferring ownership in your business to the next generation yet allow you to retain control. The value of transferred interests is removed from your taxable estate. Discounts might reduce the value for tax purposes, and you can apply your $15,000 annual gift tax exclusion or $11.18 million lifetime gift tax exemption. There also may be income tax benefits. But to withstand IRS scrutiny, FLPs must, among other things, have a business purpose beyond tax savings. Contact us to learn more.

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Do you still need to worry about the AMT?

Do you still need to worry about the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT)? A repeal had been proposed, but it wasn’t included in the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The act will, however, reduce the number of taxpayers subject to the AMT. Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with the changes and see if there are any steps you can take during the last several months of the year to avoid the AMT or at least minimize any negative consequences. To learn about the TCJA’s impact on the AMT and assessing your AMT risk for 2018, contact us.

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Business deductions for meal, vehicle and travel expenses

Some common deductions for businesses are meal (generally 50%), vehicle and travel expenses. Deductibility depends on a variety of factors, but proper documentation is one of the most critical. Following some simple steps can help ensure your deductions will pass muster with the IRS. First, keep receipts, canceled checks or similar documentation. Also, track the business purpose of each expense (and don’t wait until year end or an IRS audit). Finally, if you reimburse employees, require them to provide such documentation. Contact us for more information.

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Do you still need to worry about the AMT?

Do you still need to worry about the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT)? A repeal had been proposed, but it wasn’t included in the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The act will, however, reduce the number of taxpayers subject to the AMT. Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with the changes and see if there are any steps you can take during the last several months of the year to avoid the AMT or at least minimize any negative consequences. To learn about the TCJA’s impact on the AMT and assessing your AMT risk for 2018, contact us.

Read more: Do you still need to worry about the AMT?

Close-up on the new QBI deduction’s wage limit

The TCJA allows qualifying noncorporate owners of pass-through entities to deduct as much as 20% of qualified business income. But once taxable income exceeds $315,000 for married couples filing jointly or $157,500 for other filers, a wage limit begins to phase in. When the limit is fully phased in, the deduction generally can’t exceed the greater of the owner’s share of a) 50% of the amount of W-2 wages paid to employees during the tax year, or b) the sum of 25% of W-2 wages plus 2.5% of the cost of qualified business property. Contact us to learn more.

Read more: Close-up on the new QBI deduction’s wage limit

Why the “kiddie tax” is re dangerous than ever

Under the TCJA, the big, bad kiddie tax is more dangerous than ever. For 2018, an affected child’s unearned income beyond $2,100 generally will be taxed according to the brackets for trusts and estates. As a result, in many cases, children’s unearned income will be taxed at higher rates than their parents’ income. Contact us for details.

Read more: Why the “kiddie tax” is re dangerous than ever

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