In what is being dubbed the “fiscal cliff”, we could be seeing the effects of tax reform at the end of 2012 and into 2013. Due to the 2013 federal tax reform, as a small business, you need to consider making some adjustments in 2012 so that you are in the best position when any sweeping tax code changes roll in. The following provides insight into what your business can do to prepare for the upcoming 2013 federal tax reform.
Steps to Prepare for Possible 2013 Tax Reform
Review current tax operations. The first step to prepare for the 2013 federal tax reform is to review your current tax operations, including examining your accounting methods. Knowing where your tax rates stand right now can help you be better prepared about where they may head in 2013. During the Bush administration, tax cuts put the average tax rate from ordinary income between 10% and 33%. However, these rates may increase up to 39.6% for 2013 for certain levels of ordinary income. Decide if accelerating income makes sense. Many businesses typically defer income while accelerating expenses to have a more favorable tax situation. However, this approach may not end up being the best if certain tax code changes are made before the end of 2012. In other words, it may be more prudent for your business to accelerate income into 2012 and defer expenses into 2013 in order to minimize the potential of higher tax rates next year. If you decide to accelerate income, you’ll need to fit certain criteria. This includes collecting a bonus before December 31st, selling a home before January 1st 2013, selling any assets with capital gains, billing your customers immediately so your payments come in before the end of 2012, and delaying your 2012 capital expenditures and expenses. Convert traditional IRAs to Roth IRA’s. Your retirement savings, including IRAs, could result in negative consequences in the upcoming years due to the tax reform. One way to overcome this is to convert any traditional IRAs to a Roth IRA before the end of 2012. Consider delaying charitable contributions. If you typically make charitable donations near the end of 2012, consider holding off until January 1st 2013 or later. This will help reduce your taxable income in 2013, rather than being applicable for the 2012 tax year. Rebalance investment exposure to increase tax-exempt investments. One of the big hot topics for the 2013 tax reform is the Medicare surtax. This includes the addition of a 3.8% surtax for Medicare for anyone who has income not earned by salary or trade. As a business owner, consider rebalancing your portfolio of investments to increase tax-exempt investments exposure, which will lower your net investment income. While the entirety of how the tax reform will play out in 2013 is uncertain, in all likelihood some substantial changes are on the horizon. Examine the above considerations to prepare for possible tax reform, and be sure to speak with us about how the possible upcoming tax code changes can impact your business.