We Provide Tax Strategies For Individuals
Planning is the key to successfully and legally reducing your tax liability. We go beyond tax compliance and proactively recommend tax saving strategies to maximize your after-tax income.
We recommend Tax Saving Strategies that help you…
- Grow and preserve assets by keeping Uncle Sam out of your pockets
- Defer income so you can keep your money now and pay less taxes later
- Reduce taxes on your income so you keep more of what you make
- Reduce taxes on your estate so your family keeps more of what you’ve made
- Reduce taxes on your gifts so you can give more
- Reduce taxes on your investments so you can grow your wealth faster
- Reduce taxes on your retirement distributions so you can retire in style
Our clients pay the lowest amount of taxes allowable by law because we continually look for ways to minimize your taxes throughout the year, not just at the end of the year.
Here’s just a few of the Tax Saving Strategies we use for individuals…
- Splitting income among several family members or legal entities in order to get more of the income taxed in lower bracket
- Shifting income or expenses from one year to another in order to have them fall where it will be taxed at a lower rate
- Deferring tax liabilities through certain investment choices such as pension plans, contributions and other similar plans.
- Using certain investments to produce income that is tax exempt from either federal or state or both taxing entities.
- Finding tax deductions by structuring your money to pay for things you enjoy, such as a vacation home
We make it a priority to enhance our mastery of the current tax law, complex tax code, and new tax regulations by attending frequent tax seminars. So you can feel confident that our tax associates are on the cutting edge of the current tax code.
Remember, we work for you not for the IRS. Many of our clients save many times the fee in reduced tax liability through careful planning and legitimate tax strategies.Schedule a Consultation
We Provide Tax Strategies For Business Owners
Tax planning is the process of looking at various tax options to determine when, whether, and how to conduct business and personal transactions to reduce or eliminate tax liability.
Many small business owners ignore tax planning. They don’t even think about their taxes until it’s time to meet with their accountants, but tax planning is an ongoing process, and good tax advice is a valuable commodity.
Countless tax planning strategies are based on accomplishing one or more of these often-overlapping goals:
- Reducing the amount of taxable income
- Lowering your tax rate
- Controlling the time when the tax must be paid
- Claiming any available tax credits and deductions
- Controlling the effects of the Alternative Minimum Tax
- Avoiding the most common tax planning mistakes
It is to your benefit to review your income and expenses monthly and meet with your CPA or tax advisor quarterly to analyze how you can take full advantage of the provisions, credits, and deductions that are legally available to you.
Retirement Plan Options for Small Businesses
Business owners set up retirement plans for different reasons. Why are you considering one? Do you want to:
- Take advantage of the tax breaks, to save more money than you’d otherwise be able to?
- Provide competitive benefits in addition to – or in lieu of – high pay to employees?
- Primarily save for your own retirement?
You might say “all of the above.” Small employers who want to set up retirement plans generally fall into one of two groups. The first group includes those who want to set up a retirement plan primarily because they want to create a tax-advantage savings vehicle for themselves and thus want to allocate the greatest possible part of the contribution to the owners. The second group includes those who just want a low-cost, simple retirement plan for employees.
If there were one plan that was most efficient in doing all these things, there wouldn’t be so many choices. That’s why it’s so important to know what your goal is. Each type of plan has different advantages and disadvantages, and you can’t really pick the best ones unless you know what your real purpose is in offering a plan. Once you have an idea of what your motives are, you’re in a better position to weigh the alternatives and make the right pension choice.
If you do decide that you want to offer a retirement plan, then you are definitely going to need some professional advice and guidance. Pension rules are complex and the tax aspects of retirement plans can also be confusing. Make sure you confer with your accountant before deciding which plan is right for you and your employees.
Home Office Expense Categories
Home office expenses are classified into three categories:
- Direct Business Expenses relate to expenses incurred for the business part of your home such as additional phone lines, long-distance calls, and optional phone services. Basic local telephone service charges (that is, monthly access charges) for the first phone line in the residence generally do not qualify for the deduction.
- Indirect Business Expenses are expenditures that are related to running your home such as mortgage or rent, insurance, real estate taxes, utilities, and repairs.
- Unrelated Expenses such as painting a room that is not used for business or lawn care are not deductible.
- If you need more information about whether you qualify for the exclusion, please don’t hesitate to call us.
Local Transportation Costs
The cost of local business transportation includes rail fare and bus fare, as well as the costs of using and maintaining an automobile used for business purposes. For those whose main place of business is their personal residence, business trips from the home office and back are considered deductible transportation and not non-deductible commuting.
You generally cannot deduct lodging and meals unless you stay away overnight. Meals may be partially deductible as an entertainment expense as discussed below.
Away From-Home Travel Expenses
Due to the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, in 2021 and 2022, you are able to deduct 100 percent of the cost of business meals and beverages purchased from restaurants. Typically, you can only deduct one-half of the cost of meals (50 percent). Lodging expenses incurred while traveling away from home are fully deductible (no pandemic-related change). The IRS also allows you to deduct 100 percent of your transportation expenses as long as business is the primary reason for your trip.
To be deductible, travel expenses must be “ordinary and necessary”, although “necessary” is liberally defined as “helpful and appropriate,” not “indispensable.” The deduction is also denied for that part of any travel expense that is “lavish or extravagant,” though this rule does not bar deducting the cost of first-class travel or deluxe accommodations or (subject to percentage limitations below) deluxe meals.
Here’s a list of some deductible away-from-home travel expenses:
- Meals (100 percent in 2021 and 2022; limited to 50 percent in other years) and lodging while traveling or once you get to your away-from-home business destination.
- The cost of having your clothes cleaned and pressed away from home.
- Costs for telephone, fax or modem usage.
- Costs for secretarial services away-from-home.
- The costs of transportation between job sites or to and from hotels and terminals.
- Airfare, bus fare, rail fare, and charges related to shipping baggage or taking it with you.
- The cost of bringing or sending samples or displays, and of renting sample display rooms.
- The costs of keeping and operating a car, including garaging costs.
- The cost of keeping and operating an airplane, including hangar costs.
- Transportation costs between “temporary” job sites and hotels and restaurants.
- Incidentals, including computer rentals, stenographers’ fees.
- There are some rules in the tax law concerning where a taxpayer’s “home” is for purposes of deducting travel expenses that are less clear such as when a taxpayer works at a temporary site or works in two different places.
Tax Deductions For Home Office
The “home office” tax deduction is valuable because it converts a portion of otherwise nondeductible expenses such as mortgage, rent, utilities and homeowners insurance into a deduction.
Under the IRS rules, a taxpayer is allowed to deduct expenses related to business use of a home, but only if the space is used “exclusively” on a “regular basis.” To qualify for a home office deduction you must meet one of the following requirements:
- Exclusive and regular use as your principal place of business
- A place for meeting with clients or customers in the ordinary course of business
- A place for the taxpayer to perform administrative or management activities associated with the business, provided there is no other fixed location from which the taxpayer conducts a substantial amount of such administrative or management activities
- A separate structure not attached to your dwelling unit that is used regularly and exclusively for your trade or profession also qualifies as a home office under the IRS definition.
The exclusive-use test is satisfied if a specific portion of the taxpayer’s home is used solely for business purposes or inventory storage. The regular-basis test is satisfied if the space is used on a continuing basis for business purposes. Incidental business use does not qualify.
In determining the principal place of business, the IRS considers two factors: Does the taxpayer spend more business-related time in the home office than anywhere else? Are the most significant revenue-generating activities performed in the home office? Both of these factors must be considered when determining the principal place of business.
Tax Deductions For Travel & Entertainment
Tax law allows you to deduct two types of travel expenses related to your business, local and what the IRS calls “away from home.”
- Local Travel Expenses – You can deduct local transportation expenses incurred for business purposes, for example, the cost of getting from one location to another via public transportation, rental car, or your own automobile. Meals and incidentals are not deductible as travel expenses, although as you will read later in this guide, you can deduct meals as an entertainment expense as long as certain conditions are met.
2. you can deduct away from home travel expenses-including meals and incidentals; however, if your employer reimburses your travel expenses, your deductions are limited.
Meals & Entertainment Expenses
Prior to tax reform, there were limits and restrictions on deducting meal and entertainment expenses, with most deductible at 50 percent. Due to COVID-19 legislation, for tax years 2021 and 2022, the deductible amount for business-related meals is 100 percent. Meal costs must be “ordinary and necessary” and not “lavish or extravagant” and directly related to or associated with your business. They must also be substantiated.
Under tax reform, there were a number of changes, the most notable being that entertainment expenses paid or incurred after December 31, 2017, are not deductible unless they fall under specific exceptions, for example, expenses incurred for social activities primarily for the benefit of your employees. As such, reasonable costs for food and refreshments for year-end parties for employees are 100 percent deductible.
Dues paid to country clubs or social or golf and athletic clubs are not deductible nor are dues that you pay to professional and civic organizations. Prior to 2018, these dues were deductible at 50 percent as long as your membership has a business purpose. Such organizations included business leagues, trade associations, chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and real estate boards.
How Long To Keep Tax Records
Storing tax records: How long is long enough? Federal law requires you to maintain copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for three years. This is called the “three-year law” and leads many people to believe they’re safe provided they retain their documents for this period of time.
However, if the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), or believes there may be indication of fraud, it may go back six years in an audit. To be safe, use the following guidelines.
Furthermore, complete and accurate financial record keeping is crucial to your business success. Good records provide the financial data that helps you operate more efficiently. Accurate and complete records enable you to identify all your business assets, liabilities, income, and expenses.
Good records help you avoid underpaying or overpaying your taxes. In addition, good records are essential during an Internal Revenue Service audit, if you hope to answer questions accurately and to the satisfaction of the IRS.
To learn more about record keeping and potential tax deductions for your small business, contact us.