When it comes to raising revenue, governments usually find it most efficient to follow the immortal advice of bank robber Willie Sutton and go “where the money is.” They turn to income, payroll, property, and sales taxes to fund most of their operations. They’ll throw in the occasional gas tax or sin tax for fun. Most of the time, those “nuisance taxes” don’t amount to much. But that’s not always the case.
Choosing where to live is one of the most important decisions we make on this journey we call life. Do we embrace the familiar comfort of the small town where we grew up, or do we strike off for fame and fortune in the big city? Do we celebrate new advances in home snowblower technology, or do we opt-out of winter entirely on a houseboat in the Keys? Choosing where to put down roots is an intensely emotional choice. But for some of us, it’s a tax-planning choice, too.
Sunday night, millions of Game of Thrones fans who waited breathlessly for 20 months finally got rewarded with their next installment what’s become the biggest TV show on the planet. Cersei discovered (redacted). Jon Snow learned that …. (sorry, no spoilers here). And that guy with the eye patch and flaming sword probably does great on Tinder. (Seriously, what fair maiden wouldn’t swipe right on him?)
Last week, the IRS issued 274 pages of final regulations governing the new Section 199A Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction. (You’re probably already starting to feel a headache coming on. Don’t worry, we read this stuff so you don’t have to.) The new regulations interpret one of the most important parts of the 2017 tax reform act, a new deduction up to 20% for pass-through income from proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations.
You almost certainly know that you can write off the mileage for business use of your car. That advice is still true. A nice bonus is that it is easier than ever to track your business mileage with a variety of smartphone apps available. Mileage, however, isn’t the only automotive write-off that you should be pursuing. If you use your vehicle for anything work-related, there are deductions that you might be missing out on. Lease payments, oil changes, insurance, repairs, and even car washing and polishing could be written off. Don’t fall for tax myths, fuel your savings with automotive write-offs.
As 2018 winds down to a close we wanted to provide you with a list of the Top 5 Last-Minute tax reduction solutions.
1. Appreciated Assets: (Stocks, Real Estate, etc...)
With a soft stock market, but a robust real estate market in 2018, it makes sense to lock in gains and to gift appreciated asset(s) instead of writing checks.
Example of why: Stock purchased for $5,000 has now appreciated to $10,000. A gifting of the stock to a 501(c)3 avoids the capital gains taxes of $750 (assuming a 15% LTCG tax rate). Also, you still get a tax deduction for the $10,000 donated.
For business owners, lower taxes are likely a gift that you’d like to see under the tree. Thankfully, it’s not too late to add it to your holiday wish list. It even has a name, strategic tax planning. Strategic tax planning is a gift that won’t fade once the newness wears off, and it’s one that continues to give to your business year after year. Strategic tax planning could save your business $20,000, $50,000, even $100,000 in taxes every year. This year stop wasting money on taxes you don’t owe. Instead, give yourself the gift of strategic tax planning, and get rewarded year after year with lower taxes.
Finding tax and investment advisors who give you proactive advice for saving on your taxes probably feels like an elusive search. The truth is that not every tax professional, in fact, the majority of them, do not do any proactive planning. Most CPAs are not even trained to do this level of tax planning. If you’re ready to leverage the benefits of the tax code and stop spending money unnecessarily, then you need a tax professional who understands business owners. At Quartermaster Tax Management we are versed in the minutiae of the tax laws, and we can help you keep more of your money with strategic tax planning.
There are many advantages to giving to charity. While doing good is in and of itself its own reward, it also probably makes you feel good. Reaping the tax benefits from that charitable giving has also been a nice perk. While taxes might not have been at the forefront of your mind when providing assistance to others, the tax deduction for charitable contributions has typically helped shave money off your tax bill if you itemize instead of taking the standard deduction. Under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the deduction for donations is unchanged, but the bar is higher with the nearly doubled-standard deduction. ‘Tis the season for charitable giving, so make sure you do it correctly and stay on the nice list.
You might think of spring as “tax season,” but that is a misnomer for small business owners. In reality, tax season should be thought of as tax filing season. Yes, it’s important to get your tax return filed on time, but the need for tax planning is really an omnipresent one. Filing your taxes is merely the end of a year-long cycle where you should see results of everything that happened in the past year. There are hundreds of opportunities to minimize your taxes throughout the year, but it starts now with a proactive tax strategy. If you want to pay less on your taxes, you need a tax professional who works for you year round.