By Trent Derrick, CMT®
The past couple of years have been challenging for everyone, but small business owners have felt the impact more than most. Add in the end-of-the-year stress of closing the books, communicating with clients or customers, and creating a plan for 2023, and you have your hands full!
To help make this busy season a little less overwhelming, we created a short list of items you should review before going into the new year. As a small business owner, this end-of-the-year checklist will help minimize your tax burden and start 2023 off on the right foot.
1. Review IRS Elections (Especially if You Had a Net Operating Loss)
If you had a net operating loss (NOL) this year, double-check your IRS elections to ensure you made the correct ones. This is one of the biggest issues we see when helping small business owners file their taxes.
All these decisions play a role in how much money your business may owe in taxes. Talk with a CPA or financial professional about which elections may be right for you.
Additionally, how you structure your small business can make all the difference in the world when it comes to taxes. A tax professional can help you decide which entity type is the best for your business and help you apply before the deadline hits.
For example, let’s say you found out you could save more in taxes by structuring your business as an S corporation instead of an LLC. If you’re a new business, you have two months and 15 days from the day you file your articles of formation to file your S corp elections. So, if you filed your articles of formation on March 1, you have until May 16 to file your S corp election for it to take effect that same tax year.
2. Review Your Deductions
The CARES Act brought about major tax incentives to people who donate to charity in 2020 and 2021, but the provisions of this Act have not been extended to 2022. This means you can no longer write off up to $300 in cash donations from your tax return if you take the standard deduction. And itemized charitable deductions are once again capped at 60% of your adjusted gross income for cash donations made. If you were planning to take charitable deductions in 2022, be sure to review them carefully to make sure they meet new requirements.
There are still deductions available for basic business expenses and these can help reduce your taxable income significantly. Some common examples of business expenses include:
- Legal and professional fees
- Office expenses, including costs related to the business use of your home
- Business use of your vehicle
- Continuing professional education
- Memberships to professional organizations
Tax-deductible business expenses need to be ordinary and necessary to operate your business. Consult your tax professional for more details on qualified business expenses.
3. Review Depreciation
New depreciation rules have come into effect in recent years due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). These changes allow you to write off most depreciable assets “in the year they’re placed into service,” according to the IRS.
Common items you can write off for depreciation include computers, equipment, machinery, cell phones, buildings, office furniture, and vehicles, as well as intangible items like copyrights.
Make sure you keep a list of everything that counts as a depreciable expense. Doing so will help lower your business’s taxable income.
4. Check Eligibility for Company Retirement Plans
There are several different tax-advantaged retirement plans available to small business owners, including the solo 401(k), the SEP IRA, and the SIMPLE IRA. A solo 401(k) is designed for business forms with only one employee, the business owner, whereas SEPs and SIMPLEs can be used for businesses with more employees, though SIMPLE IRAs are capped at 100 employees.
According to the IRS, an employee can participate in a SEP IRA if they:
- Are at least 21
- Have worked for the employer in at least 3 of the last 5 years
- Received at least $650 in 2022
Business owners can choose to be less restrictive than this and allow other employees to participate in a SEP, but you can’t be more restrictive than these IRS rules allow.
Review your SEP IRA eligibility requirements to ensure employees can participate in the program if you want them to.
Choosing to add an employer-sponsored retirement plan to your company can be a great way to take advantage of tax credits, including those for setting up a new plan and auto-enrolling employees. You may also be eligible for additional tax deductions by making qualified employer contributions on behalf of your employees. It’s important to review your options with a qualified financial professional before deciding on a retirement plan as each plan type comes with its own unique benefits and drawbacks.
5. Review New Due Dates & Filing Methods for 1099s
Starting in 2020, any freelancers or contract workers who earned more than $600 from your company will receive Form 1099-NEC instead of 1099-MISC. NEC stands for “non-employment compensation”—and it’s only used for reporting independent contractor income.
1099-NEC forms are due on January 31. If this day falls on a weekend, they’re due the following business day.
How We Help
As a small business owner, you always have a lot on your plate, but the end of the year can be especially busy. Let us help take some of those to-dos off your list. We specialize in working with small business owners who need help with financial needs like tax planning, cash-flow management, retirement planning, and bookkeeping.
If you need help tying up loose financial ends before the new year rolls around, we’re happy to assist. To get started, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trent Derrick is a financial advisor and Chief Market Technician at Legacy Wealth Management. Trent is passionate about the value small businesses bring to their communities and specializes in serving small business owners by providing seamless financial advisory services tailored to their financial needs, including tax planning, cash flow management, retirement planning, and bookkeeping. Trent has a bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston and studied economics at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. He is a Chartered Market Technician® (CMT®) professional. Trent serves as a guest lecturer for the College of Charleston’s MBA program and acts as chairman of the Market Technician Association’s Charleston chapter. When he’s not working, Trent, a proud Eagle Scout, enjoys volunteering with the Charleston Animal Shelter’s outreach program. Trent and his wife love to cook international cuisines and host dinner parties with their friends. To learn more about Trent, connect with him on LinkedIn.