The IRS tax code actually provides many ways for small business owners to save big on their taxes–ways that many of which business owners may not be aware. Here are just five:
Lease Your Home to Your Business for the Maximum Time the IRS Allows
Your home has to be rented for less than 15 days to get the deduction. For example, if you have a board meeting every month, you could host all 12 in your home and claim the deduction. You must also rent your home at a fair rate. The IRS does not allow you to just make up an arbitrary amount to charge your company when you rent your home to your business. It must be commensurate with the average price you would pay to rent another location. You must also issue yourself a 1099 form from your company with the total rent amount paid, which you will then claim on your personal taxes. This will be offset once you list your less-than-15-days deduction. Don’t forget: you must record the minutes of any meetings you have in your home–this will provide further proof to the IRS of the validity of the business conducted there if it is called into question.
Hire Your Children to Work in Your Business as Spelled Out in the IRS Code
A business owner can hire and pay their own child under eighteen tax-free. As long as your child is doing legitimate work and getting paid a reasonable rate, you can pay them up to $6,300 per year before they have to pay a dime in income tax. However, you may still have to pay payroll taxes such as FICA and FUTA, which go towards unemployment and social security benefits. On the other hand, you don’t have to pay payroll taxes for employing your kids if your business is a sole-proprietorship, a single-member LLC taxed as a disregarded entity, or an LLC taxed as a partnership and owned solely by you and your spouse. But if your business is a corporation, you must pay payroll taxes on income to your children. Even in this last case, there may be workarounds, but these are best discussed with a professional tax advisor.
Change Your Health Plan to a Qualified HSA Plan to Save the Most Taxes Possible
HSAs escape taxation by allowing holders to save tax-free money for medical expenses not covered by insurance. Contributions are made into such accounts by employees and/or employers, and unused funds roll over from year to year. The contributions are invested, earning returns over time, thanks to the power of compound interest. Funds can be removed tax-free to pay for qualified medical expenses, including vision and dental. HSA deposits (from an employer or individual) are federal income tax-free and not subject to employment taxes. Secondly, HSA growth from income and investment appreciation is not subject to federal income taxes. Finally, if the HSA funds are withdrawn for qualified medical expenses by the account owner, spouse and/or dependents, such withdrawals are not subject to federal income tax. There is no other place in the tax code which allows ordinary income to escape federal taxation forever. But of course, you have to know the HSA rules and follow them carefully. This is another case where it would be good to consult a tax advisor to help you create the best plan for your business and unique situation.
Maximize Retirement Savings to the Fullest (If You’re Over 50 Chances Are You Are Not)
There are many legal ways to maximize your retirement savings and lower the taxes you pay on them. For example, you could start a diversified retirement plan–the funds will help cut down your tax bill now and grow tax-deferred until you make withdrawals in retirement. In most cases, the cost of opening and administering a plan is pretty small. The four main options for small business owners are a SEP-IRA, a SIMPLE IRA, a Solo 401(k) and a SIMPLE 401(k). For all but SEP-IRAs, a business can be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company or a corporation.
Start a Private Foundation
Establishing a private foundation is a great way to use family funds and property tax-free, all while engaging in charity. However, under the IRS Code, a not-for-profit is not exempt per se from federal income tax. In fact, a private foundation is fully taxable unless and until it applies to the IRS for recognition of its status as a tax-exempt organization; even then, it may lose its tax-favored status if it fails to file annual tax returns with the IRS.
It pays to do your homework–consulting with a tax or financial planner can greatly help with setting up tax savings strategies properly. Find out more about how you can bring on a financial advisor who will truly assist you in not only saving on your taxes but give you a solid plan for the future. Speak today with a Financial Gravity team member, Let’s Talk!