It’s not too late to reduce the income tax hit you’ll take next April. Act now, and you’ll have one more reason to pop the cork and look forward to a happy New Year.
1. Accelerate Business Expenses
If you’re considering a major investment in equipment or other capital expenditures, do it before December 31. Then you can claim the deduction in your 2018 taxes next April.
Another thing you can do is move forward some normal expenses from the months ahead. For example, you could purchase 3 months of supplies rather than your usual 1-month stock. As long as you mail the check before December 31, you can deduct the entire amount from your 2018 tax.
Likewise, you can charge recurring expenses that come due in early to mid-January, such as rent, to your credit card. Even though the credit card bill won’t be paid until January, it counts as a current year deduction.
2. Accelerate Depreciation
You have two options for claiming depreciation on new and used business assets: taking the full amount in one year or depreciating them over time. Taking the instant depreciation can give you a huge write-off now, but may not be best in the long run. Discuss with your tax advisor which strategy is right for you.
3. Defer Income
Generally speaking, you don’t have to report income until the year you actually receive the payment for your products or services. Send out December invoices late in the month, so you won’t collect the money for them until January.
4. Make an IRA Contribution
The money you pay into a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) is tax-deductible in the year you make the contribution. (Actually, you have until April 15, 2019, to make your 2018 contribution.) As an added bonus, any interest or other earnings the IRA accumulates over its life are not taxed until you retire and begin withdrawing the money.
Note: The rules are different for a Roth IRA. This type of IRA requires you to pay tax on contributions in the year they’re made, but withdrawals after retirement are tax-free.
5. Take Capital Losses
If you sell stock or other assets at a loss (meaning the sale price is lower than what you paid for it), you can write off the amount of the loss up to $3,000. If you made capital gains on other stock, you can use the loss to offset the gains and avoid paying capital gains tax.
Be aware, however, that you can’t turn around and buy the same or similar stock right back after using it to claim a loss deduction. If this happens within 30 days, it’s called a “wash sale” and the IRS will disallow your tax loss.
Some of these tips involve deferring tax liability to next year, rather than completely eliminating it. Whether that’s the smart thing to do depends on what you expect your income to be next year, what the tax rates will be, and other factors. Xendoo tax consultants can help you understand the options and steer a path toward maximum tax benefits for your business.