6 Year-End Tax Tips That Will Save Your Small Business Money

6 Year-End Tax Tips That Will Save Your Small Business Money

As the end of the year draws near, it’s time to start thinking about your tax strategy. If you’re a small business owner, there are a few things you can do to reduce your tax bill and maximize your deductions. Planning ahead and doing some year-end housekeeping can help you make the most of any tax break that your business qualifies for. We have identified six smart tax moves to consider before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

 

Write Off Bad Debt

The IRS allows you to write off bad (un-collectible) debts before the end of the year and deduct those that are unpaid from your taxable business income. By writing off this debt, you can reduce your company’s tax burden for the current tax year.

Note, that if the customer ends up paying their invoice in the future, you will need to reverse  the write-off and declare the payment as income. It’s best to discuss this with your tax advisor to ensure the process is handled properly.

 

Stock Up

At the end of the fiscal year, businesses can reduce their taxable income by purchasing business equipment, supplies and other assets that will be used in the coming year. If your business is in a good financial position, replenishing office supplies or stocking up on inventory, could give you a larger deduction.

 

Prepay Expenses

Businesses can choose to prepay for services they will use in the coming year. For example, insurance coverage, subscription services, business rent, association dues and other fixed expenses can be paid in advance, reducing your businesses taxable income for the year.

 

Defer Income

Small businesses typically use the cash method of accounting, meaning a company recognizes income when cash actually changes hands. This method allows for the option of taking income this year or next year. If you anticipate being in a lower tax bracket next year, you might want to defer income to take advantage of the lower tax rate. Waiting until close to the end of the year to invoice clients will defer income to the next year and lower your current tax bill.

 

401(k) Plan for Employees

Setting up or contributing to an employee retirement account can reduce your business’s taxable income. Business owners can claim a tax credit for the cost of setting up and administering a 401(k) plan. The potential tax savings are usually more than enough to cover the cost of setting up and funding the plan.

 

Employee Bonuses

Many businesses give end of the year bonuses to their employees. These not only serve as extra incentive for employees, but they are also commonly tax-deductible for businesses that operate as corporations. You can deduct the cost of any bonuses paid to employees, if the bonus was given as additional compensation for services, not as a business gift – decreasing your overall tax obligation.

 

Now is the time to start planning your end of the year tax strategy. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to reduce your business’s taxable income and keep more of your hard-earned profits. Taking advantage of these year-end tax planning strategies will aid in minimizing your taxes and help make next tax season a little less taxing.

The small business tax professionals at Motl Accounting are here to ensure that your business is taking full advantage of deductions, write-offs and other tax benefits to end the year right.

What Every American Expat Needs to Know About Paying Taxes

What Every American Expat Needs to Know About Paying Taxes

As a U.S. citizen living abroad, you may be wondering if you are still required to file taxes. The answer is YES. All U.S. citizens are required to file tax returns with the IRS and report 100% of their worldwide income every year. In this blog, we provide an overview of your filing obligations as a U.S. expat and discuss tax exclusions and credits that can reduce your U.S. tax liability.

The United States is one of only two countries that follows a citizenship-based tax system. This means that all citizens of the U.S. are taxed under the same personal tax system, regardless of whether they live in the U.S. or abroad. The only way to stop having to file, and for some expats pay, U.S. taxes is to renounce your U.S. citizenship.

With that said, paying taxes twice on the same income is a common concern for U.S. citizens working abroad. Luckily, expats can qualify for special credits, exemptions and deductions, allowing them to avoid double taxation on their annual U.S. tax return.

Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

One of the most valuable exemptions for expats is the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion(FEIE). For tax year 2022, FEIE allows expats to exclude up to $112,000 of their foreign earned income from their U.S. taxable income. This exclusion can be a significant tax break for expats and can help to reduce their overall tax liability.

Taxpayers qualify for this exemption in one of two ways:

Bona fide residence test – You must reside in a country for the entirety of a tax year, January 1st to December 31st.

Physical presence test – You must live in a foreign country for a full 330 days within a 12-month period.

Foreign Tax Credit

Another tax saving alternative for American expats is the Foreign Tax Credit (FTC). The Foreign Tax Credit allows expats to credit up to $300, $600 if filing jointly, of foreign taxes paid against their U.S. tax liability. This credit can help to offset some of the tax burden for expats who are paying taxes in both the U.S. and another country.

Generally, the following four tests must be met for any foreign tax to qualify for the credit:

You can’t claim both the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and the Foreign Tax Credit against the same income. You must choose one or the other. Work with your expat tax advisor to determine which one is most beneficial for you to claim. 

Foreign Housing Exclusion

The Foreign Housing Exclusion allows U.S. taxpayers living abroad to write off overseas expenses associated with housing costs from their gross income on their U.S. tax return. This expat-friendly tax deduction can be used together with the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. 

Just like the FEIE, taxpayers must qualify under the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test. 

If you qualify for the Foreign Housing Exclusion, the following expenses can usually be excluded on your U.S. tax return:

    • Rent in a foreign country
    • Utilities minus your phone, TV and internet
    • Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance
    • Property or leasing fees
    • Furniture and parking rentals
    • Rental repairs 

Calculating the amount that can be excluded under the Foreign Housing Exclusion is complicated. Work with a professional expat tax advisor to make sure you are excluding the maximum amount allowed. 

If you are an American expat, it is important to understand your tax responsibilities. The good news is that there are several resources available to help you navigate the complex world of international taxation. At Motl Accounting, we have extensive experience helping Americans living and working abroad meet their tax obligations. We can provide you with all the information you need to file your taxes accurately and on time. 

We are here to help make this process as easy as possible so you can focus on living your best life overseas. Contact us today!

Source: IRS.gov

How Working from Home Affects Taxes

How Working from Home Affects Taxes

The pandemic led to a large number of professionals working from home instead of their office space. Many may be wondering how this will affect their taxes and if they’ll get a tax break.

The general thinking could be leaning towards you getting a break as an employee working from home, but that may not be the case. Tax breaks of the sort ended with the 2017 tax cuts with little exemptions. This means employees who don’t get reimbursed for their expenses by their employers can’t claim those expenses the way they used to. It’s more complex If you are self-employed and there are rules to be mindful of. You can still deduct a home office and some other expenses related to working from home, but want to ensure you are following the guidelines. It helps to speak with an accountant to get more clarity, but here is some helpful information:

What Can I Claim On My Taxes Working from Home?

Employee

You are not supposed to deduct your expenses when you work from home as an employee if your taxes, social security and medicare are deducted from your paycheck. Prior to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the United States Congress, employees could deduct expenses like mileage, home office supplies, work outfits and more. The IRS now tends to qualify remote employee expenses of that manner as “miscellaneous itemized deductions” and since 2018 itemized deductions can only be taken if they exceed the standardized deductions. 

Self Employed 

Self employed professionals and business owners can still deduct for their office, meals, mileage supplies, marketing and more. Expenses you get in regards to working from home are tax deductible. It’s important to note that the expenses need to be exclusive to the business’s operations. A space used as an office by day and bedroom any other time would likely not be compliant. The space being used needs to be exclusively used for your business. 

Tax Breaks Due to Covid-19?

There aren’t currently any special tax breaks for those working from home due to the pandemic. You can however count on a good accountant to ensure you get any tax breaks related to the pandemic if there are changes in the future. 

In conclusion, the changes to the tax laws with regards to working from home may be confusing as time goes on. Having a professional assist you with your finances as an employee or business owner can make a difference. Accountant’s like us here at Motl Accounting are mostly aware of these changes and can help you get the most out of your taxes. 

If you need to know more about what you can claim on your taxes, contact a professional at We’ve helped several individuals, families and businesses with getting the most they deserve out of their taxes.

Why You Should Separate Your Personal and Business Finances

Why You Should Separate Your Personal and Business Finances

When it comes to running a business, it’s important to keep your personal and business finances separated. This reduces accounting and tax problems and makes it much easier to manage your accounting books. Running a business already takes a great deal of effort, so it helps much to not have additional stress by managing your finances with bookkeeping tools and experts. We understand how important it is to properly manage your finances and the peace of mind that comes with it. We have helped over a hundred businesses with accounting and bookkeeping in the Chicagoland area and have gathered some reasons as to why you should separate personal and business finances to have a better understanding.
  • Establish your business
First off, you will want to ensure that your business is incorporated. Whether you choose to present it as an LLC, C Corp, or S Corp, you will want to ensure that it’s established with the right structure. By establishing a separate legal entity for your business, you will be able to protect your personal assets from your business debts, losses and lawsuits.
  • Acquire business credit
By opening business debit or credit cards, you won’t have to use your personal accounts for business transactions, and it’s the easiest way to keep your personal and business finances separate. In addition, a business credit card can help you build stronger business credit scores and could even boost your borrowing power which could help you qualify for business loans with lower interest rates.
  • Open a business checking account
In addition to credit cards, you also want to open a business checking account and only make purchases for your business through it. Doing so let’s you have a clear and complete picture of your expenditures, which is ideal for when tax time rolls around as all you will have to do is review your statements. 
  • Create a salary for yourself
Seeing as you are the boss of your business, you will want to make it official. So, pay yourself. By creating a salary for yourself, you can write checks from your business checking account which can then be deposited into your personal account. This way, you can easily keep track of your payroll finances and ensure that your salary is being professionally handled as it should be.
  • Keep your receipts
One of the most efficient ways to keep your personal and business expenses separate is by keeping your physical receipts. So pull out those old-fashioned folders and place your receipts within them or upload them digitally. This will help with audits if the IRS ever comes knocking on your door, you can feel confident that you will be prepared.
  • Track your shared expenses
As a business owner, it’s important to keep in mind that many of your business expenses are tax deductible and you will most likely have some expenses to write off! As a result, when you make purchases you will want to ensure that they are separate from your personal ones, which can be done by using your business debit or credit cards. Not only will separating your expenses make things easier for your accountant come tax time, but you will also be protecting yourself by keeping a financial record and continuing to keep receipts.
  • Using personal items for business purposes
When it comes to your business, any expenditure that you can legally write off should be written off to save you money when tax time comes around. By working with a tax advisor, you can determine what’s deductible as well as how to keep the right records. Properly managing your business finances is certainly of importance! These are just a few helpful ways to manage them throughout the year. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the complexities that are involved with running a business and managing your books. Working with an accountant can help with your bookkeeping, payroll and taxes and therefore make life and work much easier for you. Looking for an accounting solution that’ll provide you with peace of mind when it comes to your books?  Get in touch with us here at Motl Accounting as we would be ready to assist. Our staff at our West Dundee, IL office assist many small to medium sized businesses and we look forward to assisting you.
Keeping Track of Business Expenses

Keeping Track of Business Expenses

Tax season is behind us, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop thinking about business expense documentation. In fact, now is the ideal time to get organized and create record-keeping habits that make sense for your company. Nobody wants to waste time digging through receipts and records just before tax day. Document your expenses now and you’ll save yourself and your accountant a headache later on.

Working with the Motl Accounting bookkeepers affords you the opportunity to not deal with all the effort and time it takes to stay organized with your expenses. We assist many businesses with bookkeeping services in Dundee, IL and the Chicagoland area. Below we share some of the things we recommend to our clients to keep their finances organized throughout the year.

Set up a Business Bank Account

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a small business is not creating a bank account dedicated to business funds. If you’re using the same account for personal and business spending, it’s easy to mix these expenses up and harder to locate specific purchases. Any business-related income should be pooled into a dedicated account. Only use business checking or credit cards when making purchases. Losing track of purchases will become a thing of the past. (more…)

Spotting Red Flag Accounting Practices

Spotting Red Flag Accounting Practices

If you’ve ever attempted a quick Google search for CPAs in your area, you’ve probably learned there’s no such thing as a quick search for an accountant. Accounting is all about the details, and when you’re trying to find someone to handle your finances, it pays to be thorough. Your money is at stake, and you should only choose someone who has your best interests in mind. A small amount of accountants have questionable (to say the least) practices, and knowing the warning signs makes a big difference:

Outdated CPA Certificate

There’s a reason many people prefer to work with a CPA rather than a general financial planner: the title requires a higher level of expertise. In addition to years of schooling, CPAs complete exams to ensure a high-level understanding of auditing, business concepts, financial rules and reporting. It’s worth checking out the Illinois CPA Society database to ensure your accountant has retained their license. (more…)