Business Strategies Archives - Page 3 of 6 - Think Outside the Tax Box

Business Strategies

By Dan Chodan, CPA

COVID Relief Money Is Still Hiding in Plain Sight: The Employee Retention Credit

Business COVID relief funds have been plentiful. We have seen it all from state and local grant programs to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The dollars have flowed freely during the past two years although some programs were certainly simpler than others. The Employee Retention Credit (ERC), unfortunately, has been the most complex and misunderstood relief program. It deserves serious consideration along with a second and third look. ERC has suffered from a branding problem, from repeated changes, and because the PPP overshadowed it. The CARES Act brought both programs to life in March 2020 , but small businesses quickly ignored the ERC in favor of the forgivable PPP loans. A taxpayer could only choose one of these programs until the December 2020 COVID relief law retroactively allowed them to coexist in the same business. But once again a second round of PPP loans overshadowed the ERC. Perhaps now with the grants awarded and PPP funds issued, the ERC can finally get the attention it deserves. The benefits are tremendous at up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and $28,000 per employee in 2021. Opportunities abound for businesses and advisers to be on the hunt for ERC eligibility both obvious and obscure. Today, let’s review the program and cover some of the unusual ways to qualify.

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Employee Retention Credit for the Little People

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) was probably the ugly step-child of the CARES Act. It received very little attention from tax practitioners, because participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) precluded ERC. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act changed all that. This good news to you as a business owner threatens to overwhelm smaller tax firms, some of which might leave a valuable service to be performed probably less than ideally by the sorts of firms that sell R&D studies and cost segregation. They are already advertising. To avoid missing out on this valuable service for your client or to capture this free cash for yourself as a small business owner, keep reading.

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Net Operating Loss Changes and the CARES Act: Planning Opportunities for 2020 Returns

One bright side to losing money in your business is your ability to at least use those losses as a tax deduction against other income you may have. Unfortunately due to tax reform it shredded your ability to claim NOLs after 2017 to 80% of taxable income - it all eliminated the opportunity to carry back these losses to get refunds. We’ve still been reeling from both of these changes. The CARES Act changed net operating losses (NOLs) in a major way to make usage of an NOL more taxpayer friendly … for a limited time. Because the changes are retroactive to 2018, this gives you the opportunity for 3 years of losses to provide much needed relief. The Treasury even provided a fast track to cash - keep reading to find out how.

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The Trouble with Management Companies

Management companies exist in a variety of fields for sound reasons. Real estate owners, for example, will hire a management company to collect the rent and deal with maintenance of their properties. Professional practices may use management companies to allow non-professional owners a stake in the practice. Sometimes, though, management companies are not for a real business purpose but rather as a device to shift income. It often does not end well as we will see.

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Be Careful When Using a C Corp to Avoid the Hobby Loss Rules

Starting a business is hard. Running a business is hard. And often, it isn’t profitable either – at least not right away. As if losing your money isn’t enough torture, it can get worse. If your business is not profitable and remains that way for a while the IRS can reclassify it as a hobby. This is really bad because while you still have to pay tax on your hobby income, you can’t deduct any of the expenses. Ouch! One strategy around this is to reorganize as a C corporation (since code section 183 doesn’t apply to them). However, if you’re thinking about using this to deduct expenses from your hobby, be careful! A taxpayer, a courtroom, and a whole lotta cats (explanation later) might change your mind. Click here to continue reading.

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More Free Money With the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

On Wednesday, March 11, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, a $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package. The ARPA contains a mix of retroactive and prospective tax breaks in the form of credits, exclusions from income, and even new tax-free grant programs. Let’s take a look at the most tax significant items in the bill.

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Go the Extra (Tax) Mile

Question: Can my business still take a deduction for my car if the title is in my name? Answer: If you want to get all the business deductions you are entitled to for your car, it’s better to have the vehicle titled in your business’s name. Most taxpayers continue to use their vehicles for both personal use and business purposes, as a result, most car titles show just the individual’s name as the owner. This can present a big problem and potential lost deductions, especially due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). It is important to review the rules since they have changed recently. You may have deducted expenses on past tax returns as an unreimbursed employee vehicle expense. But under tax reform, the miscellaneous itemized deductions were repealed until 2026, and this is an important rule change. Read on to learn how to still benefit after tax reform and why it can help you go the extra tax mile to title the car in your business’s name.

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How Late Is Too Late to Request a Late S Election?

Question: How Late Is Too Late to Request a Late S Election? Answer: Late in 2020, the IRS issued a Private Letter Ruling related to a late S election request for relief. Generally, you must file a request to become an S corporation no later than the 15th day of the third month of the taxable year for which the election is to take effect. If you miss this deadline, or don’t file an election at all, the business is generally considered a C corporation or LLC. If you’re like most business owners, however, you may not have known at the time you formed your business all the tax benefits available to you by holding your business as an S corporation. Whether you were unaware, or for some other reason, it may be well past the official IRS deadline to make this request for the current or recently ended tax year. If you haven’t yet filed your tax returns at all, you may be qualified to use the relief available by following the proper procedures. You may also wonder, “How far back can I go in changing the way my business income is taxed?” To learn more about how far back and how long you can be “fashionably late,” continue reading.

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Deducting Business Meals and Entertainment: The good, the bad, the very recently changed

“Say dog.” My dad once told me that a friend paid for his lunch and said, “Say dog, then I can write this off.” She bred show dogs. File that under “nope.” That is not how the meals and entertainment (M&E) deduction works. Not even before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changed the rules. The deduction for M&E is a favorite of many of our clients and rightfully so. Nevertheless, it can be a fraught area if taxpayers and their advisors don’t have a comprehensive understanding of how the rules for deducting expenses apply across the many different scenarios in which our clients are likely to apply them. The IRS issued the final regulations for deducting M&E expenses under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 274 on October 9, 2020. It made some additional, short-term adjustments when the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) became law on December 27, 2020. Here is an overview of the new regulations, how to use them to your clients’ benefit, and how to avoid the most common pitfalls.

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