Patrick Kautzman 2018-02-26 12:25:46
FARGO, N.D. – The recently enacted tax reform legislation, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, represents the most significant overhaul of our tax laws in more than 30 years. The act contains substantial changes to the taxation of businesses, individuals, multinational companies, tax-exempt organizations and others. Now, businesses large and small are considering the many changes that may affect them. Here are a few of the key business-related provisions that businesses large and small should consider. CORPORATE TAX RATE The top corporate tax rate was reduced to 21 percent on Jan. 1. The 21 percent rate is a “flat” tax that will apply regardless of a regular corporation’s taxable income. The act also repeals the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. NET OPERATING LOSS DEDUCTIONS The net operating loss deduction for losses arising in tax years beginning after 2017 will be limited to 80 percent of taxable income. The act generally eliminates the carryback of net operating losses arising in years ending after 2017, but permits an indefinite carryforward. PASS-THROUGH INCOME For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, the act generally allows a new deduction for individuals, trusts and estates of 20 percent of the domestic qualified business income generated by certain sole-proprietorships and pass-through entities (partnerships, S corporations and LLCs). Depending on taxable income, the deduction may be subject to a limit based on wages paid by the business or wages paid plus a capital amount, and certain service business activities may not qualify for the deduction. This deduction is slated to expire after 2025 like most other individual tax provisions in the act. Where the full 20 percent deduction is available, the top federal tax rate for pass-through owners drops from 37 percent (the new top rate for individuals under the act) to 29.6 percent. FULL EXPENSING OF BUSINESS ASSETS Qualifying business property, whether new or used, acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2023, will qualify for 100 percent expensing. The expensing amount will then be phased down over four years. In addition, the act increases the Section 179 expensing limit to $1 million. LIMITATIONS ON NET INTEREST EXPENSE Many businesses will be subject to a disallowance of the deduction for interest expense in excess of 30 percent of the business’ “adjusted taxable income.” Disallowed business interest expense is carried forward indefinitely. Adjusted taxable income is a specially defined term, and the definition changes after 2021 in a manner that will potentially make the limitation’s impact more significant. Businesses with average gross receipts of $25 million or less are exempt from this provision. In addition, certain real estate and farming businesses can elect for the interest expense limitation to not apply. CASH METHOD OF ACCOUNTING FOR ‘SMALL’ BUSINESSES The act increases the gross receipts threshold for regular corporations and partnerships with regular corporation partners that can use the cash method of accounting to $25 million. In light of this change, affected taxpayers using the accrual method of accounting may want to consider a change to the cash method. EXCESS BUSINESS LOSSES Business losses in excess of business income of taxpayers other than regular corporations after 2017 (and before 2026) may be limited under the act. Net business losses in excess of $250,000 ($500,000 in a joint return) will not be deductible in the current year. Excess losses will be carried forward and treated as part of a taxpayer’s net operating loss in the subsequent year. This limitation could apply, for example, to losses from sole-proprietorships and pass-through entities (including farm losses). MEALS AND ENTERTAINMENT EXPENSES The act eliminates, after 2017, deductions for entertainment, amusement or recreation expenses, membership dues for clubs and expenses for facilities related to these items. Taxpayers will still be able to deduct 50 percent of meal expenses associated with operating their businesses. AN INFORMED APPROACH Businesses have much to consider in the changing tax landscape. Ultimately, final decisions will depend on your particular facts and circumstances. It is important to discuss your situation with your tax advisors and consider the best options moving forward to take advantage of available opportunities.
Published by Prairie Business Magazine c/o Forum. View All Articles.