In Q4, Businesses Should Plan to Use at Least 5 Strategies for 2012 Tax Returns

Oct. 17, 2012

Where has the year gone?

Know your rights with the Internal Revenue Service. Businesses should start planning their 2012 tax returns – ASAP. Some IRS changes are expected to expire or be reduced after this year.

So, it’s best to take advantage of opportunities, especially if you’ve made certain investments to benefit your company. But every business situation can be unique.

For the most benefit, you should see your qualified tax advisor to at least discuss these five tax topics:

1. Section 179

Businesses can expense or deduct 100 percent of the cost of specific property this year for as much as $139,000. That can include certain personal property and off-the-shelf software –new or used – if it’s used by your company this year. Of course, you’ll be limited by the cost of your Section 179 property, and by your taxable income.

Note: The expensing allowance is scheduled to decrease to $25,000 next year.

2. Fifty Percent bonus depreciation

Under Code Section 168(k), it’s possible to take half of certain assets’ costs that acquire and use in 2012. You’d benefit because depreciation is increased to permit 50 percent cost deductions in their first 12 months of depreciation. That’s for depreciable property with less than a 20-year recovery period, interior improvements in your leased property, and off-the-shelf software.

Note: This is scheduled to expire.

3. Bad debts

Code Section 166 allows for bad debts to be deducted in the year they’re incurred. Yes, it’s universally acknowledged – even by the IRS – that the economy is soft, and businesses are suffering from uncollectable receivables. But they must be documented.

So, you must prove the debt is valid and worthless whether it’s a partial or whole amount. Make certain you have documentation of the bad debt so you can claim it. See this article:  Tips on Understanding the Mindset of IRS Auditors.

4. Retirement plans

Benefits of the right retirement plan for your situation: You can save for your retirement to benefit your tax situation while getting a deduction on your taxes.

You can select from multiple options – a 401(k), profit-sharing, simple IRA, or a simplified employee pension plan.

Again, your goal should be to reduce your taxable income while building your retirement fund.

5. Tax classification

It’s advisable to periodically review your tax classification – whether you’re a sole proprietorship, partnership, C corporation or S corporation. Perhaps your situation has changed. Obviously, each business classification has benefits and downsides.

The IRS will, of course, allow you to change your tax classification.

So, review all your options to prepare for a year from now. If you’ll be better off under a different classification, you really can’t do anything about it for this year. The best time to make changes is at the start of a tax year. In this way, you can take advantage of all opportunities in making transactions, tax filing and structuring.

From the Coach’s Corner, see these resources:

On April 15th you count your blessings . . . and then send them to Washington.

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.