Want to turn a hobby into a business? Watch out for the tax rules

Like many people, you may have dreamed of turning a hobby into a regular business. You won’t have any tax headaches if your new business is profitable. But what if the new enterprise consistently generates losses (your deductions exceed income) and you claim them on your tax return? You can generally deduct losses for expenses incurred in a bona fide business. However, the IRS may step in and say the venture is a hobby — an activity not engaged in for profit — rather than a business. Then you’ll be unable to deduct losses.

By contrast, if the new enterprise isn’t affected by the hobby loss rules because it’s profitable, all otherwise allowable expenses are deductible on Schedule C, even if they exceed income from the enterprise.

Note: Before 2018, deductible hobby expenses had to be claimed as miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to a 2%-of-AGI “floor.” However, because miscellaneous deductions aren’t allowed from 2018 through 2025, deductible hobby expenses are effectively wiped out from 2018 through 2025.

Avoiding a hobby designation

There are two ways to avoid the hobby loss rules:

  1. Show a profit in at least three out of five consecutive years (two out of seven years for breeding, training, showing or racing horses).
  2. Run the venture in such a way as to show that you intend to turn it into a profit-maker, rather than operate it as a mere hobby. The IRS regs themselves say that the hobby loss rules won’t apply if the facts and circumstances show that you have a profit-making objective.

How can you prove you have a profit-making objective? You should run the venture in a businesslike manner. The IRS and the courts will look at the following factors:

  • How you run the activity,
  • Your expertise in the area (and your advisors’ expertise),
  • The time and effort you expend in the enterprise,
  • Whether there’s an expectation that the assets used in the activity will rise in value,
  • Your success in carrying on other activities,
  • Your history of income or loss in the activity,
  • The amount of any occasional profits earned,
  • Your financial status, and
  • Whether the activity involves elements of personal pleasure or recreation.

Recent court case

In one U.S. Tax Court case, a married couple’s miniature donkey breeding activity was found to be conducted with a profit motive. The IRS had earlier determined it was a hobby and the couple was liable for taxes and penalties for the two tax years in which they claimed losses of more than $130,000. However, the court found the couple had a business plan, kept separate records and conducted the activity in a businesslike manner. The court stated they were “engaged in the breeding activity with an actual and honest objective of making a profit.” (TC Memo 2021-140)

Contact us for more details on whether a venture of yours may be affected by the hobby loss rules, and what you should do to avoid a tax challenge.


No parking: Unused compensation reductions can’t go to health FSA

Among the many lasting effects of the pandemic is that some businesses are allowing employees to continue working from home — even now that the most acute phases of the public health crisis seem to be over in some places. This decision is raising some interesting questions about fringe benefits.

For example, in IRS Information Letter 2022-0002, the tax agency recently answered an inquiry involving a qualified transportation plan participant whose employer now lets him work from home permanently. To avoid losing dollars he’d previously set aside for parking, the participant asked whether he could transfer unused compensation reductions to his health Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which his employer offered through its qualified cafeteria plan.

No cash refunds

The letter explains that, under an employer’s qualified transportation plan, unused compensation reduction amounts can be carried over to subsequent plan periods and used for future commuting expenses. Caveat: employees can’t receive benefits that exceed the maximum excludable amount in any month.

However, cash refunds aren’t permitted — even to employees whose compensation reduction amounts exceed their need for qualified transportation fringe benefits. Furthermore, the U.S. Code prohibits cafeteria plans from offering qualified transportation fringe benefits. And IRS rules don’t allow unused compensation reduction amounts under a qualified transportation plan to be transferred to a health FSA offered though a cafeteria plan.

The letter also notes that COVID-19-related relief for FSAs gives employers the discretion to amend their cafeteria plans to permit midyear health FSA election changes for plan years ending in 2021.

Note: IRS Information Letters provide general statements of well-defined law without applying them to a specific set of facts. They’re provided by the IRS in response to requests for general information by taxpayers or members of Congress.

Limited flexibility

The qualified transportation rules for fringe benefits have largely proven themselves flexible enough to handle most situations arising from the pandemic.

Many companies permit benefit election changes at least monthly, and plans can allow current participants to carry over unused balances indefinitely. Compensation reductions set aside for one qualified transportation benefit, such as parking, can even be used for a different transportation benefit, such as public transit — again, so long as the plan permits it, and the maximum monthly benefit isn’t exceeded.

However, as the inquisitive participant in the IRS information letter learned, the flexibility of fringe benefit rules has its limits. Because some financial loss could occur due to changing circumstances, businesses should clearly articulate this risk to employees when offering compensation reduction elections.

Complexities to consider

The right fringe benefits can help your business attract and retain good employees. But, as you can see, there are many complexities to consider. Let us help you weigh the risks vs. advantages of any fringe benefits you’re currently offering or considering.

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Once you file your tax return, consider these 3 issues

The federal government is helping to pick up the tab for certain business meals. Under a provision that’s part of one of the COVID-19 relief laws, the usual deduction for 50% of the cost of business meals is doubled to 100% for food and beverages provided by restaurants in 2022 (and 2021).

So, you can take a customer out for a business meal or order take-out for your team and temporarily write off the entire cost — including the tip, sales tax and any delivery charges.

Basic rules

Despite eliminating deductions for business entertainment expenses in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a business taxpayer could still deduct 50% of the cost of qualified business meals, including meals incurred while traveling away from home on business. (The TCJA generally eliminated the 50% deduction for business entertainment expenses incurred after 2017 on a permanent basis.)

To help struggling restaurants during the pandemic, the Consolidated Appropriations Act doubled the business meal deduction temporarily for 2021 and 2022. Unless Congress acts to extend this tax break, it will expire on December 31, 2022.

Currently, the deduction for business meals is allowed if the following requirements are met:

  • The expense is an ordinary and necessary business expense paid or incurred during the tax year in carrying on any trade or business.
  • The expense isn’t lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.
  • The taxpayer (or an employee of the taxpayer) is present when the food or beverages are furnished.
  • The food and beverages are provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or similar business contact.

In the event that food and beverages are provided during an entertainment activity, the food and beverages must be purchased separately from the entertainment. Alternatively, the cost can be stated separately from the cost of the entertainment on one or more bills.

So, if you treat a client to a meal and the expense is properly substantiated, you may qualify for a business meal deduction as long as there’s a business purpose to the meal or a reasonable expectation that a benefit to the business will result.

Provided by a restaurant

IRS Notice 2021-25 explains the main rules for qualifying for the 100% deduction for food and beverages provided by a restaurant. Under this guidance, the deduction is available if the restaurant prepares and sells food or beverages to retail customers for immediate consumption on or off the premises. As a result, it applies to both on-site dining and take-out and delivery meals.

However, a “restaurant” doesn’t include a business that mainly sells pre-packaged goods not intended for immediate consumption. So, food and beverage sales are excluded from businesses including:

  • Grocery stores,
  • Convenience stores,
  • Beer, wine or liquor stores, and
  • Vending machines or kiosks.

The restriction also applies to an eating facility located on the employer’s business premises that provides meals excluded from an employee’s taxable income. Business meals purchased from such facilities are limited to a 50% deduction. It doesn’t matter if a third party is operating the facility under a contract with the business.

Keep good records

It’s important to keep track of expenses to maximize tax benefits for business meal expenses.

You should record the:

  • Date,
  • Cost of each expense,
  • Name and location of the establishment,
  • Business purpose, and
  • Business relationship of the person(s) fed.

In addition, ask establishments to divvy up the tab between any entertainment costs and food/ beverages. For additional information, contact your tax advisor.

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Fully deduct business meals this year

The federal government is helping to pick up the tab for certain business meals. Under a provision that’s part of one of the COVID-19 relief laws, the usual deduction for 50% of the cost of business meals is doubled to 100% for food and beverages provided by restaurants in 2022 (and 2021).

So, you can take a customer out for a business meal or order take-out for your team and temporarily write off the entire cost — including the tip, sales tax and any delivery charges.

Basic rules

Despite eliminating deductions for business entertainment expenses in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a business taxpayer could still deduct 50% of the cost of qualified business meals, including meals incurred while traveling away from home on business. (The TCJA generally eliminated the 50% deduction for business entertainment expenses incurred after 2017 on a permanent basis.)

To help struggling restaurants during the pandemic, the Consolidated Appropriations Act doubled the business meal deduction temporarily for 2021 and 2022. Unless Congress acts to extend this tax break, it will expire on December 31, 2022.

Currently, the deduction for business meals is allowed if the following requirements are met:

  • The expense is an ordinary and necessary business expense paid or incurred during the tax year in carrying on any trade or business.
  • The expense isn’t lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.
  • The taxpayer (or an employee of the taxpayer) is present when the food or beverages are furnished.
  • The food and beverages are provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or similar business contact.

In the event that food and beverages are provided during an entertainment activity, the food and beverages must be purchased separately from the entertainment. Alternatively, the cost can be stated separately from the cost of the entertainment on one or more bills.

So, if you treat a client to a meal and the expense is properly substantiated, you may qualify for a business meal deduction as long as there’s a business purpose to the meal or a reasonable expectation that a benefit to the business will result.

Provided by a restaurant

IRS Notice 2021-25 explains the main rules for qualifying for the 100% deduction for food and beverages provided by a restaurant. Under this guidance, the deduction is available if the restaurant prepares and sells food or beverages to retail customers for immediate consumption on or off the premises. As a result, it applies to both on-site dining and take-out and delivery meals.

However, a “restaurant” doesn’t include a business that mainly sells pre-packaged goods not intended for immediate consumption. So, food and beverage sales are excluded from businesses including:

  • Grocery stores,
  • Convenience stores,
  • Beer, wine or liquor stores, and
  • Vending machines or kiosks.

The restriction also applies to an eating facility located on the employer’s business premises that provides meals excluded from an employee’s taxable income. Business meals purchased from such facilities are limited to a 50% deduction. It doesn’t matter if a third party is operating the facility under a contract with the business.

Keep good records

It’s important to keep track of expenses to maximize tax benefits for business meal expenses.

You should record the:

  • Date,
  • Cost of each expense,
  • Name and location of the establishment,
  • Business purpose, and
  • Business relationship of the person(s) fed.

In addition, ask establishments to divvy up the tab between any entertainment costs and food/ beverages. For additional information, contact your tax advisor.

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Are you ready for the 2021 gift tax return deadline?

If you made large gifts to your children, grandchildren or other heirs last year, it’s important to determine whether you’re required to file a 2021 gift tax return. And in some cases, even if it’s not required to file one, it may be beneficial to do so anyway.

Who must file?

The annual gift tax exclusion has increased in 2022 to $16,000 but was $15,000 for 2021. Generally, you must file a gift tax return for 2021 if, during the tax year, you made gifts:

  • That exceeded the $15,000-per-recipient gift tax annual exclusion for 2021 (other than to your U.S. citizen spouse),
  • That you wish to split with your spouse to take advantage of your combined $30,000 annual exclusion for 2021,
  • That exceeded the $159,000 annual exclusion in 2021 for gifts to a noncitizen spouse,
  • To a Section 529 college savings plan and wish to accelerate up to five years’ worth of annual exclusions ($75,000) into 2021,
  • Of future interests — such as remainder interests in a trust — regardless of the amount, or
  • Of jointly held or community property.

Keep in mind that you’ll owe gift tax only to the extent that an exclusion doesn’t apply and you’ve used up your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption ($11.7 million for 2021). As you can see, some transfers require a return even if you don’t owe tax.

Why you might want to file

No gift tax return is required if your gifts for 2021 consisted solely of gifts that are tax-free because they qualify as:

  • Annual exclusion gifts,
  • Present interest gifts to a U.S. citizen spouse,
  • Educational or medical expenses paid directly to a school or health care provider, or
  • Political or charitable contributions.

But if you transferred hard-to-value property, such as artwork or interests in a family-owned business, you should consider filing a gift tax return even if you’re not required to. Adequate disclosure of the transfer in a return triggers the statute of limitations, generally preventing the IRS from challenging your valuation more than three years after you file.

The deadline is April 18

The gift tax return deadline is the same as the income tax filing deadline. For 2021 returns, it’s April 18, 2022 — or October 17, 2022, if you file for an extension. But keep in mind that, if you owe gift tax, the payment deadline is April 18, regardless of whether you file for an extension. If you’re not sure whether you must (or should) file a 2021 gift tax return, contact us.

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There still may be time to cut your tax bill with an IRA

If you’re getting ready to file your 2021 tax return, and your tax bill is more than you’d like, there might still be a way to lower it. If you’re eligible, you can make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA right up until the April 18, 2022, filing date and benefit from the tax savings on your 2021 return.

Do you qualify?

You can make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA if:

  • You (and your spouse) aren’t an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, or
  • You (or your spouse) are an active participant in an employer plan, but your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) doesn’t exceed certain levels that vary from year-to-year by filing status.

For 2021, if you’re a joint tax return filer and you are covered by an employer plan, your deductible IRA contribution phases out over $105,000 to $125,000 of modified AGI. If you’re single or a head of household, the phaseout range is $66,000 to $76,000 for 2021. For married filing separately, the phaseout range is $0 to $10,000. For 2021, if you’re not an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, but your spouse is, your deductible IRA contribution phases out with modified AGI of between $198,000 and $208,000.

Deductible IRA contributions reduce your current tax bill, and earnings within the IRA are tax deferred. However, every dollar you take out is taxed in full (and subject to a 10% penalty before age 59½, unless one of several exceptions apply).

IRAs often are referred to as “traditional IRAs” to differentiate them from Roth IRAs. You also have until April 18 to make a Roth IRA contribution. But while contributions to a traditional IRA are deductible, contributions to a Roth IRA aren’t. However, withdrawals from a Roth IRA are tax-free as long as the account has been open at least five years and you’re age 59½ or older. (There are also income limits to contribute to a Roth IRA.)

Another IRA strategy that may help you save tax is to make a deductible IRA contribution, even if you don’t work. In general, you can’t make a deductible traditional IRA contribution unless you have wages or other earned income. However, an exception applies if your spouse is the breadwinner and you’re a homemaker. In this case, you may be able to take advantage of a spousal IRA.

How much can you contribute?

For 2021, if you’re eligible, you can make a deductible traditional IRA contribution of up to $6,000 ($7,000 if you’re 50 or over).

In addition, small business owners can set up and contribute to a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan up until the due date for their returns, including extensions. For 2021, the maximum contribution you can make to a SEP is $58,000.

Contact us if you want more information about IRAs or SEPs. Or ask about them when we’re preparing your return. We can help you save the maximum tax-advantaged amount for retirement.


Prudent technology upgrades call for some soul searching

By now, most business owners view technology upgrades as inevitable. Whether hardware or software, the tech your company relies on to operate will need to change slightly or even drastically for you to stay competitive.

Strange as it may sound, technology upgrades demand a bit of soul searching. That is, before spending the money, you need to dig deep for insights about what your business really needs and whether your employees or customers will appreciate your efforts.

Ask the right questions

Begin the decision process with a series of inquiries. That is, sit down with your leadership team and ask questions such as:

  • What are the specific functionalities that we need?
  • Do we need hardware, software or both?
  • If software, are we looking at an entirely new platform or a smaller upgrade within our existing systems?

Assuming you already have a technology infrastructure in place, compatibility is an issue, too. If you’re using an older operating system, new software could be buggy or flat-out incompatible. In either case, you could incur substantial additional costs to update or replace your operating system, which might involve new hardware and impact other software.

When deciding whether to upgrade internal systems, get input from your staff. For example, your accounting personnel should be able to tell you what types of reports they would want from upgraded financial management software. From there, you can establish criteria for comparing different packages.

If you’re considering changes to a “front-facing” system, you might want to first survey customers to determine whether the upgrade would improve their experience. Ask them questions about what works and what doesn’t to assess whether major or minor changes are needed.

Create a “hot list”

As you’re no doubt aware, there’s no shortage of hardware and software vendors out there. So, just as you’d do your homework on a major asset purchase or the lease of a large office space, do it for a technology upgrade as well.

Generally, longevity is a plus. Look for companies that have been in business for at least five to 10 years, have a track record of successful implementations and can provide references from satisfied customers. Also find out what kind of technical support is included with your purchase.

For example, if you’re doing a software upgrade, is training part of the package? If not, you’ll likely need to send one or more IT staffers out for training or engage a third-party trainer, both of which will cost you additional dollars. And keep in mind that, if you buy a top-of-the-line system but the vendor’s customer service is nonexistent, you and your employees probably won’t be happy.

Your goal is to create a “hot list” of top vendors. With this list in hand, you can get down to the serious business of comparing the various bids. To aid you in this critical decision, ask for free trial periods or online demos to help you choose the best product for your company.

Ensure a happy ending

You’ve likely heard horror stories of businesses that haphazardly attempted to upgrade their technology only to lose time, money and morale fixing the resulting problems. Approach this task cautiously to ensure your upgrade story has a happy ending. For help estimating the costs and projecting the financial impact of a tech upgrade, please contact us.

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Let your financial statements guide you to optimal business decisions

Now that 2022 is up and running, business owners can expect to face a few challenges and tough choices as the year rolls along. No matter how busy things get, don’t forget about an easily accessible and highly informative resource that’s probably just a few clicks away: your financial statements.

Assuming you follow U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or similar reporting standards, your financial statements will comprise three major components: an income statement, a balance sheet and a statement of cash flows. Each one contains different, but equally important, information about your company’s financial performance. Together, they can help you and your leadership team make optimal business decisions.

Revenue and expenses

The first component of your financial statements is the income statement. It shows revenue and expenses over a given accounting period. A commonly used term when discussing income statements is “net income.” This is the income remaining after you’ve paid all expenses, including taxes.

It’s also important to check out “gross profit.” This is the income earned after subtracting the cost of goods sold from revenue. Cost of goods sold includes the cost of direct labor and materials, as well as any manufacturing overhead costs required to make a product.

The income statement also lists sales, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses. They reflect functions, such as marketing and payroll, that support a company’s production of products or services. Often, SG&A costs are relatively fixed, no matter how well your business is doing. Calculate the ratio of SG&A costs to revenue: If the percentage increases over time, business may be slowing down.

Assets, liabilities and net worth

The second component is the balance sheet. It tallies your assets, liabilities and net worth to create a snapshot of the company’s financial health on the financial statement date. Assets are customarily listed in order of liquidity. Current assets (such as accounts receivable) are expected to be converted into cash within a year. Long-term assets (such as plant and equipment) will be used to generate revenue beyond the next 12 months.

Similarly, liabilities are listed in order of maturity. Current liabilities (such as accounts payable) come due within a year. Long-term liabilities are payment obligations that extend beyond the current year.

True to its name, the balance sheet must balance — that is, assets must equal liabilities plus net worth. So, net worth is the extent to which assets exceed liabilities. It may signal financial distress if your net worth is negative.

Other red flags include current assets that grow faster than sales and a deteriorating ratio of current assets to current liabilities. These trends could indicate that management is managing working capital less efficiently than in previous periods.

Inflows and outflows of cash

The statement of cash flows shows all the cash flowing in and out of your business during the accounting period.

Cash inflows typically come from selling products or services, borrowing and selling stock. Outflows generally result from paying expenses, investing in capital equipment and repaying debt. The statement of cash flows is organized into three sections, cash flows from activities related to:

  1. Operating,
  2. Financing, and
  3. Investing.

Ideally, a company will generate enough cash from operations to cover its expenses. If not, it might need to borrow money or sell stock to survive.

The good and the bad

Sometimes business owners get into the habit of thinking of their financial statements as a regularly occurring formality performed to satisfy outside parties such as investors and lenders. On the contrary, your financial statements contain a wealth of data that can allow you to calculate ratios and identify trends — both good and bad — affecting the business. For help generating accurate financial statements, as well as analyzing the information therein, please contact us.

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2022 deadlines for reporting health care coverage information

Ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, business owners have had to keep a close eye on how many employees they’ve had on the payroll. This is because a company with 50 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalents on average during the previous year is considered an applicable large employer (ALE) for the current calendar year. And being an ALE carries added responsibilities under the law.

What must be done

First and foremost, ALEs are subject to Internal Revenue Code Section 4980H — more commonly known as “employer shared responsibility.” That is, if an ALE doesn’t offer minimum essential health care coverage that’s affordable and provides at least “minimum value” to its full-time employees and their dependents, the employer may be subject to a penalty.

However, the penalty is triggered only when at least one of its full-time employees receives a premium tax credit for buying individual coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace (commonly referred to as an “exchange”).

ALEs must do something else as well. They need to report:

  • Whether they offered full-time employees and their dependents the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan,
  • Whether the offered coverage was affordable and provided at least minimum value, and
  • Certain other information the IRS uses to administer employer shared responsibility.

The IRS has designated Forms 1094-C and 1095-C to satisfy these reporting requirements. Each full-time employee, and each enrolled part-time employee, must receive a Form 1095-C. These forms also need to be filed with the IRS. Form 1094-C is used as a transmittal for the purpose of filing Forms 1095-C with the IRS.

3 key deadlines

If your business was indeed an ALE for calendar year 2021, put the following three key deadlines on your calendar:

February 28, 2022. This is the deadline for filing the Form 1094-C transmittal, as well as copies of related Forms 1095-C, with the IRS if the filing is made on paper.

March 2, 2022. This is the deadline for furnishing the written statement, Form 1095-C, to full-time employees and to enrolled part-time employees. Although the statutory deadline is January 31, the IRS has issued proposed regulations with a blanket 30-day extension. ALEs can rely on the proposed regulations for the 2021 tax year (in other words, forms due in 2022).

In previous years, the IRS adopted a similar extension year-by-year. The extension in the proposed regulations will be permanent if the regulations are finalized. No other extensions are available for this deadline.

March 31, 2022. This is the deadline for filing the Form 1094-C transmittal and copies of related Forms 1095-C with the IRS if the filing is made electronically. Electronic filing is mandatory for ALEs filing 250 or more Forms 1095-C for the 2021 calendar year. Otherwise, electronic filing is encouraged but not required.

Whether you’re a paper or electronic filer, you can apply for an automatic 30-day extension of the deadlines to file with the IRS. However, the extension is available only if you file Form 8809, “Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns,” before the applicable due date.

Alternative method

If your company offers a self-insured health care plan, you may be interested in an alternative method of furnishing Form 1095-C to enrolled employees who weren’t full-time for any month in 2021.

Rather than automatically furnishing the written statement to those employees, you can make the statement available to them by posting a conspicuous plain-English notice on your website that’s reasonably accessible to everyone. The notice must state that they may receive a copy of their statement upon request. It needs to also include:

  • An email address for requests,
  • A physical address to which a request for a statement may be sent, and
  • A contact telephone number for questions.

In addition, the notice must be written in a font size large enough, including any visual clues or graphical figures, to highlight that the information pertains to tax statements reporting that individuals had health care coverage. You need to retain the notice in the same location on your website through October 17, 2022. If someone requests a statement, you must fulfill the request within 30 days of receiving it.

Identify your obligations

Although the term “applicable large employer” might seem to apply only to big companies, even a relatively small business with far fewer than 100 employees could be subject to the employer shared responsibility and information reporting rules. We can help you identify your obligations under the Affordable Care Act and assess the costs associated with the health care coverage that you offer.

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Important tax aspects of operating your business as a sole proprietor

If you’re in business for yourself as a sole proprietor, or you’re planning to start a business, you need to know about the tax aspects of your venture. Here are eight important issues to consider:

1. You report income and expenses on Schedule C of Form 1040. The net income is taxable to you regardless of whether you withdraw cash from the business. Your business expenses are deductible against gross income and not as itemized deductions. If you have any losses, they’re generally deductible against your other income, subject to special rules relating to hobby losses, passive activity losses and losses in activities in which you weren’t “at risk.”

2. You may be eligible for the pass-through deduction. To the extent your business generates qualified business income, you’re eligible to take the 20% pass-through deduction, subject to various limitations. The deduction is taken “below the line,” so it reduces taxable income, rather than being taken “above the line” against gross income. You can take the deduction even if you don’t itemize and instead take the standard deduction.

3. You might be able to deduct home office expenses. If you work from home, perform management or administrative tasks from a home office or store product samples or inventory at home, you may be entitled to deduct an allocable portion of certain costs. And if you have a home office, you may be able to deduct expenses of traveling from there to another work location.

4. You must pay self-employment taxes. For 2022, you pay self-employment tax (Social Security and Medicare) at a 15.3% rate on your self-employment net earnings of up to $147,000 and Medicare tax only at a 2.9% rate on the excess. An additional 0.9% Medicare tax is imposed on self-employment income in excess of $250,000 for joint returns, $125,000 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $200,000 in all other cases. Self-employment tax is imposed in addition to income tax, but you can deduct half of your self-employment tax as an adjustment to income.

5. You can deduct 100% of your health insurance costs as a business expense. This means your deduction for medical care insurance won’t be subject to the rule that limits your medical expense deduction to amounts in excess of 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

6. You must make quarterly estimated tax payments. For 2022, these are due April 18, June 15, September 15 and January 17, 2023.

7. You should keep complete records of your income and expenses. Carefully record expenses in order to claim all of the deductions to which you are entitled. Certain expenses, such as automobile, travel, meals and home office expenses, require special attention because they’re subject to special recordkeeping requirements or limits on deductibility.

8. If you hire employees, you need a taxpayer identification number and you must withhold and pay over employment taxes.

We can help

Contact us if you’d like more information or assistance with the tax or recordkeeping aspects of your business.

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