SMALL BUSINESS TIPS
Five Year-End Business Deductions
As we approach the end of the year, your business may be slowing down as you prepare for the upcoming holidays. If that is the case, now is a good time to analyze your business’ performance in 2019 and consider pushing some additional expenses into the last month of the year to minimize your 2019 tax burden. We have identified five strategies you can use to minimize your 2019 tax bill. Please note that the year-end strategies we are discussing involve pulling expenses from 2020 into the end of 2019 to reduce your current year tax bill. This will increase your tax liability in the future. This strategy will make sense for you if 2019 was a particularly high-income year and you are expecting lower income in 2020 or if you are expecting other significant business deductions in 2020 to make up for the deduction pushed into 2019.
Prepay Business Expenses
If you operate your business on a cash basis then you have the option of prepaying certain expenses up to 12 months in advance and capturing the tax deduction immediately. These qualifying expenses include lease payments on business vehicles, rent on office space or machinery and insurance premiums. For example: If your rent for your office is $1500 per month you can send your landlord a check for $18,000 in December to cover all of your 2020 rent. If you send the check on December 31st but your landlord does not receive it till January 3 then you can deduct the expense in 2019 when the check was sent, but your landlord does not need to report the income until 2020 when it was received.
Stop Billing Customers
Your customers are unlikely to pay you until they are billed. If you have a successful December you can wait to bill some of your customers until January in order to push some of your December revenues into 2020.
Buy Office Equipment
The tax law currently allows you to fully write off the purchase of eligible business equipment in the year that you purchase it, instead of being required to depreciate it over a number of years. If you are in need of a new computer, office furniture or specialized equipment for your business, you can take advantage of this 100% depreciation to reduce your 2019 taxes.
Use Your Credit Cards
If you make a purchase with your credit card before the end of the year you can expense that purchase in 2019 even if the credit card bill is not paid until 2020. This allows you to move up expenses that you otherwise may not have purchased until January. If your business is a single-member LLC or a sole proprietorship then you can deduct the expense whether the credit card is in your personal name or the name of the business. If you operate your business as a corporation and the credit card is in your personal name you will need to reimburse yourself before the end of the year. If the credit card is in the name of the corporation you do not need to reimburse yourself.
Save For Retirement
As a small-business owner, you have the potential to put up to $56,000 away for retirement each year depending on the type of retirement account you have set up and the income of your business. If you do not have a retirement plan set up for your business you can still set up a SEP IRA or a 401k before December 31st and make pretax contributions to reduce your 2019 tax bill.
Each of the strategies we have outlined will help you reduce your 2019 tax bill at the cost of paying more taxes in future years. Depending on your specific situation it may make more sense to defer taxes today and pay them in a future year. For guidance on if you should be moving taxes into later years or paying them now, reach out to us to set up a tax-planning call.