Congress passed, and President Trump signed, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Included in its approximately 5,600 pages is a second draw of forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The first round allowed loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees and to certain businesses with multiple locations, for which each location could not have more than 500 employees. Unfortunately, this opened the door to some large businesses gobbling up the allocated funding and shutting out the smaller businesses that the loans were intended to help until additional funding was authorized.
Unlike the prior loan program, this round will truly be limited to small businesses that incurred revenue losses.
Eligibility is limited to businesses
with 300 or fewer employees per physical location;
that had previously received a PPP loan; and
that can demonstrate that they sustained at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter. Businesses submitting an application on or after Jan. 1, 2021, are eligible to utilize the gross receipts from the fourth quarter of 2020.
If you are a small business owner, every penny of your income counts. This means that you not only want to optimize your revenue, but also minimize your expenses and your tax liability. Unfortunately, far too many entrepreneurs are not well-versed on the tricks and tools available to them and end up paying far more than they need to.
Though all of these strategies can be helpful, they may not all be appropriate for your situation. Keep them in mind as you go into the end of the year and be prepared to ask questions to determine which apply to you when you speak with our office. Contact us to discuss tax planning for your business today. Here are a few of our favorites.
In spite of COVID-19 restrictions many entrepreneurs are considering possible new or additional business opportunities. So, if you are planning a new business start-up and are incurring some expenses, you probably anticipate deducting those expenses in the first year of the business’s operation. Unfortunately, it is a little more complicated than that. Expenses a business incurs in the beginning can include equipment purchases, vehicle purchases and use, leasehold improvements, organizational costs and start-up expenses, and each receives a different tax treatment.
Even before you begin incurring expenses for equipment, leases and the like, you must decide what type of business entity you are going to establish. The type of business entity you choose will determine which tax form has to be filed. The most common types of business entities are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation, some of which may also be structured as a limited liability company. The choice of entity will affect the tax outcome of your business for years to come.
To say COVID-19 has made 2020 a disastrous year for just about everyone would be an understatement. In response to the economic slowdown and losses of income, Congress passed several extensive laws to benefit individuals and businesses that suffered financial hardship because of COVID-19. However, 2020 has given rise to more than the usual tax-planning opportunities. Thus, you may find it appropriate to schedule a tax-planning appointment well before the close of the year to take advantage of the tax benefits and strategies available for 2020. Although everyone’s situation is unique, the following are examples of tax opportunities and strategies that may apply to your circumstances.
The Internal Revenue Service has resurrected a form that has not been used since the early 1980s, Form 1099-NEC (the NEC stands for non-employee compensation). This form will be used to report non-employee compensation in place of the 1099-MISC, which has been used since 1983 to report payments to contract workers and freelancers. Form 1099-MISC has also been used to report rents, royalties, crop insurance proceeds and several other types of income unrelated to independent contractors.
The revival of the 1099-NEC was mandated by Congress with the passage of the PATH Act back in 2015. However, there have been some complications with implementing the form, so its use has been delayed. It will now make its return debut in 2021 for payments made in 2020.
President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum on August 8, 2020, that directs the Treasury Secretary to use his authority to defer the withholding, deposit and payment of employees’ portions of Social Security taxes from September 1 through December 31, 2020. The goal is to put more money in the pockets of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. The deferral applies to the 6.2% tax on wages or compensation paid for a bi-weekly pay period of less than $4,000 or the equivalent threshold amount for other pay periods. In other words, employees with annual wages up to $104,000 are generally eligible for the deferral.
Just a few days before the start of the deferral period, the IRS has issued guidance explaining that the due date for withholding and paying Social Security taxes has been postponed; they are now due between January 1, 2021 and April 30, 2021. This means that Social Security taxes not withheld in the last 4 months of 2020 are to be ratably withheld from employees’ wages during the first 4 months of 2021, along with the required withholding on the 2021 wages.
Regardless of the type of business you’re running, it’s safe to say that you’ve likely already been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that is making its way across the globe. With no complete end to the situation in sight, many have begun to try to settle into whatever this “new normal” actually is. They’re resuming their regular activities (at least as much as possible) and are once again attempting to continue to follow the path that they set for themselves and their organizations at the beginning of the year.
With jobs at a premium during the COVID-19 pandemic, you might consider hiring your children to help out in your business. Financially, it makes more sense to keep the family employed rather than hiring strangers, provided, of course, that the family member is suitable for the job. Note, however, that wages paid to children and other relatives aren’t eligible for the Employee Retention Credit created by Congress in 2020 as part of the COVID-19 emergency relief measures for employers.
Rather than helping to support your children with your after-tax dollars, you can instead hire them in your business and pay them with tax-deductible dollars. Of course, the employment must be legitimate and the pay commensurate with the hours and the job worked. The following are typical situations encountered when hiring family members.
If you missed the opportunity to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan before the program expired at the end of June, you have another chance. Congress has overwhelmingly voted to extend the application period for a PPP loan through August 8, 2020, giving you an additional 5½ weeks to apply.
If you are unfamiliar with this program, Congress created the PPP as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and authorized the use of the SBA’s small business lending program to provide forgivable loans of up to $10 million per qualifying business. The loans are to support small businesses in dealing with the economic hardships created by the coronavirus pandemic and primarily to assist them with continuing to pay employee salaries.
COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on all aspects of American businesses, but perhaps none have been as severely affected as small business owners. Surviving this disaster will require more than just time: you will need to take a pragmatic view of what has happened and what steps you are willing and able to take in order to bounce back. Here are our suggestions: