Big business entities, including multinational corporations, are expected to reap the main tax rewards under the TCJA. But the new law doesn’t ignore small businesses. Beginning in 2018, it provides plenty of tax-saving opportunities for small business owners, although you’ll also face some tax obstacles. Unlike the tax provisions for individuals, most business-related provision in the TCJA are permanent. Here are 5 key tax changes that deserve your immediate attention.
- Pounce on lower tax rates. Prior to the new law, corporations were taxed under a graduated tax-rate structure with a top rate of 35%. The new law replaces this rate structure with a flat rate of 21%. Thus, the effective tax rate for the majority of C corporations is lowered.
Tip: The TCJA also reduces the dividends-received deduction from 80% to 65% if a corporation owns 20% of the stock of another corporation (from 70% to 50% for other).
- Max out on Section 179. The TCJA almost doubles the maximum Section 179 expensing allowance from $510,000 for tax years beginning in 2017 to $1 million for 2018 and increases the deduction phase out threshold from $2.03 million for tax years beginning in 2017 to $2.5 million for 2018. Thus, many small businesses can currently deduct the entire cost of qualified property placed in service in 2018. The deduction is still limited to your income from business activities.
- Seize bonus depreciation. For the next five years, your business can claim 100% bonus depreciation, up from 50% in 2017, for qualified business property placed in service. After 2022, the deduction is reduced incrementally, as shown below, before it disappears completely after 2026. Qualified business property is expanded to include used, not just new, property.
- Ride in tax luxury. Depreciation deductions for so-called “Luxury cars” for business drivers are limited to relatively modest amounts. However, under the law, the annual limits for luxury cars are boosted. For example, if you acquire a used business car in 2018, the maximum first-year deduction for 100% business use is $10,000. (It was $3,160 in 2017.)
Tip: A business car may also be eligible for bonus depreciation of $8,000.
- Pass through a deduction. For the first time ever, the owners of many pass-through entities such as partnerships, S corporations, limited liability companies and sole proprietorship can deduct 20% of net business income on the personal returns. In effect, you’re only taxed on 80% of your small business income. But this provision includes restrictions against gaming the system. Notably, the deduction is phased out for owners of most service businesses, other than architects and engineers. Everyone else from photographers to plumbers is covered. However this restriction doesn’t apply to single filers with taxable income up to $157,500 and up to $315,000 for joint filers.