Many companies I work with are strapped for cash. They look all over their operation to find where they can save money and improve their cash flow but they are missing a possible gold mine. Congress has created great cash flow tools for small business and most people are either are too short sighted to see them or are not using their tax advisors to their benefit. It is not too early to start thinking about tax planning for year end.
Let’s start with the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit. A tax deduction is a reduction from income that congress has enacted, so that we have less taxable income and therefore pay less tax. A tax credit is a reduction of the actual tax that is owed. Here is an example to help explain the difference.
Company X has gross income of $10,000 and deducts rent and salary expenses of $6,000 against that income so they have taxable income of $4,000. If the company is in the25% tax bracket, that $6,000 deduction saved them $1,500 in taxes. This is a direct in-flow of cash of $1,500 because they were able to reduce their tax liability by that amount. If that same deduction was a tax credit and not a deduction, the $10,000 would be taxed at the same 25% so the company would owe $2,500 in taxes. With a tax refundable credit of $6,000 the company would subtract the $6,000 from the $2,500 owed and actually get a refund of $3,500. This credit puts $6,000 into your pocket. WOW! Big difference. Keep in mind this is an extreme example to make a point.
Now it is your responsibility to inquire about all the benefits that congress has given small business and if you do not take advantage of it-shame on you. Let’s look at just a few that I have picked out that are of particular interest to most small businesses.
General Business Tax Credits:
· Small business health care tax credit-Credit for certain small employers to provide health insurance for employees.
· Tax credit for employer-provided childcare facilities and services-Buy, build, or expand childcare facility.
· Retirement savings contribution tax credit-Credit for setting up a retirement plan for employees.
· Payroll tax forgiveness for hiring unemployed workers-The 6.2% employer’s share of FICA tax does not apply to wages paid by a qualified employer to qualified individuals.
· Tax credit for employer-paid FICA tips-Paid on tips exceeding minimum wage.
· Work opportunity credit-Hiring family assistance recipients.
· Tax credit for small employer pension plan start-up costs-Establishment of new pension plan.
General Business Deductions to Consider:
· New standard mileage rate for business after 6/30/2011 is 55.5 cents.
· Companies can expense 100% of their business assets that they purchase this year.
· Companies can choose to deduct 100% bonus depreciation of the cost of business equipment and furniture this year with limitations.
· Reduced depreciation periods for many expenses such as leasehold improvements and restaurant property.
It is important that companies always consult their tax advisor to confirm they qualify for the above benefits and any others that are available to them. All tax benefits and credits have limits and rules that are built into the regulations.
In addition to the business credits and deductions, individuals need to make sure they are taking complete advantage of all their personal tax deductions and credits. These benefits were enacted by congress to help individuals and business to keep more of their cash. Some other new things that are available to businesses are:
· Spouses that go into business together no longer have to form a partnership but can file separately on their tax returns. This makes it easier and less expensive for the husband and wife business.
· Hire your children under age 18, and save on the company’s payroll taxes in addition to transferring income to a lower income tax bracket person. This will also allow the child to start their own IRA and therefore reduce any tax that might be owed.
· Hire your spouse and save employment taxes for the company.
· Establish a HRA (Health Reimbursement Account) to reimburse employees for accountable expenses.
· Establish a HAS (Health Savings Account) to reduce health care premiums and costs.
· Watch out for the issues of Independent Contractor vs. Employee. These are sensitive issues with the IRS.
· Make sure you are aware of all the rules to deduct your home office as a business expense.
· Renting your home office to your company has very specific rules you need to understand.
· If you are starting your business, congress has given small businesses the option to deduct all their start up and organizational costs immediately.
· Watch out for that SE (self employment tax). It is over 15% of your profit on your yearend tax bill. Make sure you plan for it.
More information is available at the IRS website of www.irs.gov.
For help to grow your company contact The Shnider Group at email@example.com or call Neil Shnider at (614) 582-0108 for more strategy and growth information and tools. Neil Shnider, MBA, CPA, CVA, is a special projects consultant that focuses on organizational growth through finding new markets and new products/services, increasing revenues, and trimming costs, for the Small Business.