Small Business Tax Deduction Strategies

Section 179 vehicles should be a key part of your small business tax deduction strategies. Can Section 179 property fit in with your business tax strategies?

Let Business Management Daily help you get each and every rental property depreciation credit and business tax deduction you’re entitled to.

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Q. Our small company is rehiring a couple of workers we laid off. Can we claim the HIRE Act payroll tax exemption for these employees?

Under Section 179, you can currently deduct up to $250,000 of assets placed in service in 2010. But not every business can benefit. You may have to write off assets over the regular depreciation period. Strategy: Time equipment purchases to suit your needs. Usually, you’ll fare better tax-wise by placing assets into service before Oct. 1. But, surprisingly, you might maximize your deductions after the Sept. 30 deadline.

Work is usually a “family affair” for small business owners. Typically, your spouse will pitch in whenever and wherever help is needed. Strategy: Officially put your spouse on the company payroll. If you employ a previously unemployed spouse, your company may be eligible for the new HIRE Act tax breaks. But even if you don’t qualify for the HIRE breaks, there are at least six potential tax benefits for the taking.

If you’re the sole owner of an S corporation, you call the shots. So you can set the salary figures for all employees, including yourself, as long as you stay within the law’s boundaries. Strategy: Keep your annual salary on the low side. At year’s end, you can pay yourself dividends out of profits. Why would you skimp on your own salary? You avoid employment taxes on cash distributions from your company.

Q. Currently, we require each individual employee to fill out his or her own time sheet. But we’re considering a new format that lists all employees on one time sheet. Is this legal? Or should each employee’s time sheet be kept confidential?

The monumental new health care legislation imposes a new Medicare tax on investment income collected by high-income individuals. However, the new tax doesn’t kick in until 2013. Strategy: Plan ahead to reduce or avoid this extra tax. Conversely, if you wait a couple of years to make your moves, it may be too late. Here are five long-term ideas:

Q. Our company would like to hire interns to work in our office this fall, but we’re not sure if we have to pay them. What are some guidelines as to whether or not we need to put them on the payroll?
New legislation working its way through Congress could put a halt to a popular estate-planning technique. The crackdown limits the ability to avoid gift tax on transfers to a grantor annuity trust (GRAT). In particular, the proposed legislation no longer allows taxpayers to "zero out" a GRAT.
Do you own residential property that’s been producing a marginal profit or a loss the past few years? Short of raising the rent, you’re fighting an uphill battle as your expenses continue to grow each year. Surprisingly, many landlords don’t claim all the deductions they are entitled to. Here are the “top 10” deductions on the list:

The new HIRE Act preserves the enhanced Section 179 deduction of $250,000 for assets placed in service in tax years beginning in 2010. Without the tax law change, the maximum deduction was scheduled to fall to $134,000. Strategy: Load up on new business equipment this year. It may be your last shot at a $250,000 instant write-off for the near future.

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