Tax Deductions (Business Tax Deduction Tips)
Tax deductions contribute to national prosperity by providing capital to business. Tax deductions reduce taxable income. A $100,000 tax deduction reduces federal income tax by $35,000 ($100,000 X 35%) assuming a 35% income rate. Options for increasing business tax deductions include revising depreciation schedules, reviewing fixed asset listings, casualty losses, bad debts, and charitable contributions.
Real estate depreciation can typically be increased by 50-100% for the first 5-7 years of ownership by obtaining a cost segregation study. A cost segregation study precisely values up to 130 components of real estate that can be valued as short-life property.
By obtaining a cost segregation study, it is possible to obtain a windfall of tax deductions by “catching-up” previously under-reported depreciation. This one-time “catch-up” can occur in the first tax return filed after the cost segregation study is performed without filing any amended tax returns.
Reviewing fixed asset listings (of business personal property) can generate a meaningful amount of tax deductions. They often include items that should have been expensed, which have been sold or thrown away or which have an excessive depreciation life. Items that should have been expensed include operating expenses (sometimes included by error) and maintenance or repairs (which was necessary but did not increase the life of the assets or component.) Section 179 allows business to use up to $108,000 of 2006 capital expenditures as tax deductions. Confirm you are not capitalizing assets that could be claimed as a tax deduction.
Casualty losses also offer opportunity for tax deductions. For a casualty loss, you can deduct: 1) the market value immediately before the casualty less 2) the market value immediately after the casualty less the amount covered by insurance. The portion that is not intuitive is: the market value after the casualty is much less than the value before plus the cost to renovate. Other factors which can and should be considered for tax deductions are: lost rent/usage, stigma (in some cases), construction management, construction risks, and entrepreneurial effort.
Bad debts are a subjective matter. Judgment is required to accurately estimate the amount that should be claimed as a tax deduction. If bad debts have not been examined carefully for several years, they may offer a meaningful tax deduction opportunity. (This applies to companies who utilize accrual accounting. Companies who use cash accounting can’t claim a tax deduction for bad debt since they never recognized the revenue.)
Do well by doing good. You reduce taxes in several ways when making charitable contributions. For example, you purchased land 10 years ago for $200,000, and it is now worth $1,000,000. However, you now realize you will never use the land for the intended purpose. You can donate the land to a qualified charitable organization and take a tax deduction for $1,000,000. However, you do not have to pay capital gains taxes on the appreciation.
Tax deductions sometimes seem arcane and complicated. However, a knowledgeable team of advisors from several fields can reduce your federal income taxes. The complexity of the tax code makes it difficult for any one personal to be knowledgeable in all areas.
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Cost segregation produces tax deductions and reduces federal income taxes across the country and in every size market. Below are just a few examples of cities where cost segregation generates meaningful tax deductions.
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Patrick C. O'Connor