As a business owner, you know first-hand that taxes can take a big chunk out of your pocket. No matter how small your business is or how large you grow, you’ll always be on the hook for some kind of taxes. However, the tax code is such that there is always room for strategic tax savings as long as you operate within the laws. Your CPA is the best source of tax-saving strategies, but it can help if you present some of your own ideas, too. Here are some that are worth considering.
1. Consider Hiring Independent Contractors Instead of Employees
Payroll taxes are something every business owner needs to consider before making a commitment to add another employee to the payroll. Payroll taxes are one of the larger taxes that business have to pay, and they come around not once, but usually at least twice a month. One way that businesses have gotten around paying payroll tax is buy hiring independent contractors instead of employees. You don’t have to pay payroll tax on independent contractors that you hire. Of course, there are certain rules about what constitutes an IC and what constitutes an employee, but once you ensure you would be in compliance, you may be able to get by with ICs.
2. Change Your Business Structure
You might be able to save a bundle on taxes just by filling out a few different forms and changing your business structure. Your business entity structure heavily affects how your business pays taxes. You should have considered this when you first formed your company, but if not, now’s the time to re-evaluate it. You may have even changed your business model slightly since forming it, and it could make sense to operate as a different kind of entity. Make an appointment with your CPA to see if this strategy would make sense as far as your business saving taxes.
3. Make Retirement Contributions
Before you file your taxes, see if you have some cash to make an extra retirement contribution by the deadline. This will offset your business income and you won’t have to personally pay taxes on the contribution until you retire, or maybe not at all, depending on your retirement plan. This warrants a call to your CPA so you can see if an extra retirement contribution is manageable and if it warrants the possible taxes saved.
4. Change Your Depreciation Schedule
You may be able to save money on your taxes by changing your depreciation schedule. Accelerated depreciation is a way to save money on taxes. You’ll need to have your CPA work the numbers for you since this is a complex calculation. But if you have significant assets in your business such as a work vehicle, heavy equipment or other assets, it could very well be worth the time to look into it.
5. Look for Tax Credits
There are several tax credits that you could take advantage of if you qualify. You might be able to get a tax credit for going “green,” providing services or access to disabled persons, making certain energy-efficient purchases or offering family leave to employees. Carefully review your services, benefits and purchases over the last year to see if there’s anything that might qualify your business for a tax credit.
6. Get All the Deductions You’re Entitled To
Go through all your receipts for the past year and separate anything that you believe might qualify as a deduction. Pay attention to travel-related receipts and repairs on office equipment. Know that gifts and employee bonuses may qualify as deductions, too. Once you have your full list, present it to your CPA along with the receipts. Be prepared to offer backup and explanations in case your CPA has further questions about the qualification of any particular receipt.
7. Pay Out Bills Before the End of the Year
Does your business have any outstanding bills that are sitting due in your accounts payable? Depending on your business entity, you’ll pay extra taxes on money that’s considered profit sitting in your bank account as of January 1st. Minimize your taxes by paying out bills before the end of the year. If you can handle it cash flow-wise, pay bills that you would normally pay throughout the end of January. This might put a crimp in your cash flow right now, but the tax savings could make this strategy worth considering. Your CPA can best advise you on the course of action you should take.
8. Write Off Bad Debts
If you’re sitting on some accounts receivables that you know aren’t going to get paid and you use accrual accounting, you can write those off as bad debts. Then you can take that bad debt amount and write it off as a tax deduction. Be sure to notify your client of your intent. If they pay later, this creates an accounting issue that will actually cost you money because you and/or your CPA will need to spend time doing a return adjustment.
9. Buy, Buy, Buy
Anther tax saving strategy to consider depending on what kind of business entity you have set up is to make purchases that reduce your profits for the year. Look ahead into the next year and think about anything you’ll be needing to buy. Go shopping and make those purchases now. If they’re large purchases, they could significantly cut down on your tax liability.
Finally, ask your CPA to review previous tax filings if they were done by a different firm in earlier years. There may be some room for savings that could make it worth it to file an amended return. Your CPA is a tax expert and may very well be able to offer you even more ideas for saving taxes for your business. Run all these ideas past your CPA and pay attention to other strategies they may be able to offer. Going forward, keep these strategies in mind so you can continue to make business choices that will positively impact your tax liability.
Author: Kazim Qasim. AZS Accounting is a full-service accounting firm dedicated to providing our clients with professional, personalized services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs.