Tis the Season – Now is the time for business owners to review potential tax saving possibilities. People who are self-employed have many opportunities to cut taxes that regular employees don’t have.
Health Insurance– Self-employed individuals can deduct health-insurance costs above-the-line. That’s better than deducting them on Schedule A, ( Itemized Deductions) where they are limited.
If the spouse of the owner is an employee and the insured person on the medical insurance, then the medical insurance premiums can be deducted directly on Schedule C as a business expense.
Health insurance premiums paid for long-term care insurance may also be deducted (with some limitations) above-the-line for self-employed business owners.
Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction– The 2017 tax overhaul added a QBI deduction of 20% of the net income of self-employed people. Depending upon the type of business, the 20% deduction may be limited when taxable income is $160,700 for single filers and $321,400 for married couples filing jointly. Self-employed workers whose incomes will exceed the limits may get below them by making tax-deductible donations to charity before year-end or contributing more to tax-deductible retirement plans.
Self- employed business owners whose taxable incomes are over the limits, may still receive the QBI deduction depending upon the type of business and subject to additional limits. The amount of the tax deduction will vary depending on the specific taxpayer circumstances.
Office in the Home Deduction– Many self-employed individuals operate their businesses from their home. If you qualify for the home office deduction, you can deduct all direct expenses and part of your indirect expenses involved in working from home. Indirect expenses are costs that benefit your entire home, such as rent, deductible mortgage interest, real estate taxes, and homeowner’s insurance. You can deduct only the business portion of your indirect expenses.
More people are taking the now higher standard deduction or their real estate tax deduction is limited as a result of the state and local income tax limitation. By deducting office in the home expenses, one can deduct a portion of the mortgage interest and real estate taxes that otherwise may be not be deductible.
Retirement Plan Contributions- Self-employed individuals can often make larger tax-deductible contributions to retirement plans than employees. The 2019 contribution to a traditional IRA is a maximum of $7,000. The 2019 limits are over $50,000 for SEP IRAs and Solo 401(k)s.
Retirement Plan Deadlines– For 2019, traditional IRAs can be set up and funded until April 15, 2020. The deadline for a SEP-IRA maybe as late as Oct. 15, 2020 if a valid extension is filed. It is important to remember that requesting a filing extension does not provide an extension on paying the taxes that will eventually be due. The Solo 401(k)s have a catch: for 2019, the contribution deadline can be as late as Oct. 15, 2020. However, the plan must be set up by Dec. 31, 2019.
Review Estimated Taxes– Self-employed workers usually owe estimated taxes. There is a penalty for underpayment. For self-employed who also have W-2 wage income earned either by them or their spouses one can avoid quarterly taxes by increasing their withholding on wages. If the wage-earner doesn’t increase his withholdings until late in the year, that is fine- as long as the IRS receives about 90% of the total tax due by year-end.
Everyone’s tax and financial situation is different. Please contact a tax professional at Urbach & Avraham, CPAs about your business tax options.