Income Tax Bracket

Is your income high enough to owe two extra taxes?

High-income taxpayers face two special taxes — a 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT) and a 0.9% additional Medicare tax on wage and self-employment income. Here’s an overview of the taxes and what they may mean for you.

3.8% NIIT

This tax applies, in addition to income tax, on your net investment income. The NIIT only affects taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeding $250,000 for joint filers, $200,000 for single taxpayers and heads of household, and $125,000 for married individuals filing separately.

If your AGI is above the threshold that applies ($250,000, $200,000 or $125,000), the NIIT applies to the lesser of 1) your net investment income for the tax year or 2) the excess of your AGI for the tax year over your threshold amount.

The “net investment income” that’s subject to the NIIT consists of interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, rents and net gains from property sales. Wage income and income from an active trade or business isn’t included. However, passive business income is subject to the NIIT.

Income that’s exempt from income tax, such as tax-exempt bond interest, is likewise exempt from the NIIT. Thus, switching some taxable investments to tax-exempt bonds can reduce your exposure. Of course, this should be done after taking your income needs and investment considerations into account.

How does the NIIT apply to home sales? If you sell your principal residence, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for joint filers) when figuring your income tax. This excluded gain isn’t subject to the NIIT.

However, gain that exceeds the exclusion limit is subject to the tax. Gain from the sale of a vacation home or other second residence, which doesn’t qualify for the exclusion, is also subject to the NIIT.

Distributions from qualified retirement plans, such as pension plans and IRAs, aren’t subject to the NIIT. However, those distributions may push your AGI over the threshold that would cause other types of income to be subject to the tax.

Additional 0.9% Medicare tax

Some high-wage earners pay an extra 0.9% Medicare tax on part of their wage income, in addition to the 1.45% Medicare tax that all wage earners pay. The 0.9% tax applies to wages in excess of $250,000 for joint filers, $125,000 for a married individuals filing separately and $200,000 for all others. It applies only to employees, not to employers.

Once an employee’s wages reach $200,000 for the year, the employer must begin withholding the additional 0.9% tax. However, this withholding may prove insufficient if the employee has additional wage income from another job or if the employee’s spouse also has wage income. To avoid that result, an employee may request extra income tax withholding by filing a new Form W-4 with the employer.

An extra 0.9% Medicare tax also applies to self-employment income for the tax year in excess of the same amounts for wage earners. This is in addition to the regular 2.9% Medicare tax on all self-employment income. The $250,000, $125,000, and $200,000 thresholds are reduced by the taxpayer's wage income.

Reduce the impact

As you can see, these two taxes may have a significant effect on your tax bill. Contact us to discuss these taxes and how their impact could be reduced.

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Year-end Taxes

Year-end tax planning ideas for your small business

Now that Labor Day has passed, it’s a good time to think about making moves that may help lower your small business taxes for this year and next. The standard year-end approach of deferring income and accelerating deductions to minimize taxes will likely produce the best results for most businesses, as will bunching deductible expenses into this year or next to maximize their tax value.

If you expect to be in a higher tax bracket next year, opposite strategies may produce better results. For example, you could pull income into 2022 to be taxed at lower rates and defer deductible expenses until 2023, when they can be claimed to offset higher-taxed income.

Here are some other ideas that may help you save tax dollars if you act before year-end.

QBI deduction

Taxpayers other than corporations may be entitled to a deduction of up to 20% of their qualified business income (QBI). For 2022, if taxable income exceeds $340,100 for married couples filing jointly (half that amount for others), the deduction may be limited based on: whether the taxpayer is engaged in a service-type business (such as law, health, or consulting), the amount of W-2 wages paid by the business, and/or the unadjusted basis of qualified property (such as machinery and equipment) held by the business. The limitations are phased in.

Taxpayers may be able to salvage some or all of the QBI deduction by deferring income or accelerating deductions to keep income under the dollar thresholds (or be subject to a smaller deduction phaseout). You also may be able to increase the deduction by increasing W-2 wages before year-end. The rules are complex, so consult us before acting.

Cash vs. accrual accounting

More small businesses are able to use the cash (rather than the accrual) method of accounting for federal tax purposes than were allowed to do so in previous years. To qualify as a small business under current law, a taxpayer must (among other requirements) satisfy a gross receipts test. For 2022, it’s satisfied if, during a three-year testing period, average annual gross receipts don’t exceed $27 million. Not that long ago, it was only $5 million. Cash method taxpayers may find it easier to defer income by holding off billings until next year, paying bills early or making certain prepayments.

Section 179 deduction

Consider making expenditures that qualify for the Section 179 expensing option. For 2022, the expensing limit is $1.08 million, and the investment ceiling limit is $2.7 million. Expensing is generally available for most depreciable property (other than buildings), including equipment, off-the-shelf computer software, interior improvements to a building, HVAC, and security systems.

The high dollar ceilings mean that many small- and medium-sized businesses will be able to currently deduct most or all of their outlays for machinery and equipment. What’s more, the deduction isn’t prorated for the time an asset is in service during the year. Just place the eligible property in service by the last days of 2022, and you can claim a full deduction for the year.

Bonus depreciation

Businesses also can generally claim a 100% bonus first-year depreciation deduction for qualified improvement property and machinery and equipment bought new or used, if purchased and placed in service this year. Again, the full write-off is available even if qualifying assets are in service for only a few days in 2022.

Consult with us for more ideas

These are just some year-end strategies that may help you save taxes. Contact us to tailor a plan that works for you.

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Financial Forecasting

Want to see into the future? Delve deeper into forecasting

For a company to be truly successful, its ownership needs to attempt the impossible: see into the future. Forecasting key metrics — such as sales demand, receivables, payables and working capital — can help you manage overhead, offer competitive prices and keep your business on firm financial footing.

Although financial statements are often the starting point for forecasts, you’ll need to do more than just multiply last year’s numbers by a projected growth rate in today’s uncertain marketplace. Here are some tips to consider.

Pick your time frame 

Forecasting is generally more accurate in the short term. The longer the period, the more likely it is that customer demand or market trends will change.

Quantitative methods, which rely on historical data, are typically the most accurate. However, they don’t work well for long-term predictions. If you’re planning to forecast over several years, try qualitative forecasting methods, which rely on expert opinions instead of company-specific data.

Define your demand 

Weather, sales promotions, safety concerns and other factors can cause sales to fluctuate. For example, if you sell ski supplies and apparel, chances are good your sales tend to dip in the summer.

If demand for your products or services varies, consider forecasting with a quantitative method. One example is “time-series decomposition,” which examines historical data and allows you to adjust for market trends, seasonal trends and business cycles.

You also might want to invest in forecasting software. These solutions allow you to plug other variables into the equation, such as the short-term buying plans of key customers.

Assess your data 

Quantitative forecasting techniques require varying amounts of historical information. For instance, you’ll need about three years of data to use “exponential smoothing,” a simple yet fairly accurate method that compares historical averages with current demand.

If you want to forecast for something you don’t have data for, such as a new product or service, you might use qualitative forecasting. Alternatively, you could base your forecast on historical data for a similar product or service in your lineup.

Get intensive for inventory

If you operate a business with extensive inventory, forecasting is particularly critical. As you’ve likely learned over time, you’ve got to establish accurate methods of counting inventory and adjust levels as appropriate to best manage cash flow.

For peak accuracy, take the average of multiple forecasting methods. To optimize inventory levels, consider forecasting demand by individual products as well as by geographic location.

Craft your crystal ball

The optimal forecasting approach for any business will depend on multiple factors, such as its industry and customer base. Contact us to discuss the forecasting practices that make the most sense for your company.

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