Smart Tax Moves To Make Right Now

Gene Marks

We’re more than mid-way through 2021, and my smartest clients are using this time to strategize how to limit their tax bill and turn those savings into cash for the year. Because hey, it’s only like 20-30% of your income, right? So what are they doing? Here are five things that are top of mind.

1. Leveraging the Employee Retention Tax Credit

This payroll tax credit was established as part of the 2020 CARES Act and then extended through the end of 2021. It can save your business as much as $10,000 per employee for 2020 and $28,000 per employee for 2021. You’re eligible if your business was partially or fully shut down due to the pandemic in either year, or if you lost 20% of your revenues in any quarter this year (50% in any quarter of 2020) compared to the same quarter in 2019. The credit is taken against the employer payroll taxes you owe, and if the credit is higher than the taxes due, you can get the difference back in cash. Didn’t take advantage in 2020? That’s okay, just go back and amend your payroll tax returns.

2. Using the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for Hiring Workers

This is an income tax credit that can be as high as $9,600 per employee if you hire someone who meets its criteria, such as recently out of prison, off welfare or — get ready — has been unemployed for more than six months. Ring a bell? Learn how to calculate in advance of hiring that employee and then use it — or a portion of it — as a hiring bonus to attract those hard-to-find workers. You can take advantage of this credit through 2025.

3. Buy Capital Equipment

Thanks to accelerated depreciation rules, you can (this year) buy approximately $1.1 million in capital equipment — machinery, technology, etc. — and then deduct all of it in the same year as long as you put it into service. Even if you don’t have the cash, get a loan while interest rates are still low. Better yet, get a Small Business Administration Section 7(A) or 504 loan before September 27, 2021, and you will get the first three months of principal and interest forgiven.

4. Take Advantage of a One-Time Loss Carryback Provision.

Again thanks to the CARES Act, there’s a one-time special carryback loss provision that could generate cash for you. If your business lost money in 2020, 2019 or 2018, then all you have to do is amend those and other related tax returns to carry back the loss five years before. If you made money and paid taxes in the years prior, you’ll reduce those earnings and be able to get that tax money back.

5. Clean Up Your Inventory.

Most of my clients are struggling with supply chain issues this year, and they’re taking the opportunity to revisit their inventories so that they can fully maximize the supplies they have. You should do the same and make some hard decisions about that older stuff that’s been lying around for years. Maybe it’s time to admit defeat and dispose of it? You’ll get a tax deduction for doing so, and you’ll free up room for more valuable inventory as it becomes available.

These are just a few of the smart tax moves my clients are making to generate more cash this year. Don’t make the mistake of waiting. Talk to your accountant now and make those and other moves while there’s still time. Because, as I said before, it’s only 20- 30% of your income, right?

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16 Responses to "Smart Tax Moves To Make Right Now"
    • Brandi Jensen | October 13, 2021 at 8:02 pm

      I haven’t taken any portion of the ERC because my accountant told me that a business is only eligible if you can prove a quarterly loss compared to the previous (or maybe previous years same) quarter. My business was shut down for 6 weeks in 2020 but did not show a revenue loss compared to other quarters, am I in fact eligible?

      • Gene Marks | October 15, 2021 at 9:52 am

        You are eligible. The eligibility rule is the loss of revenue OR partial/full shutdown during 2020. Go back and amend your 941 returns. Or talk to your payroll service.

    • Bryan Neuhaus | October 7, 2021 at 8:05 am

      With respect to your article on Smart Tax Moves to Make Right Now: Are veterans part of the target group for the WOTC?

    • Markela Taylor | October 6, 2021 at 9:26 am

      Great info as always, I hope that I can use at least two out of the three.

      • Small Biz Ahead | October 6, 2021 at 9:58 am

        We’re glad you found the information useful and helpful. Thanks for the nice comment!

    • Chris Finke | October 6, 2021 at 9:17 am

      Dear Author, you may want to revise Part 1 to include how the ERC relates to PPP and the impact on qualification.

      • Small Biz Ahead | October 8, 2021 at 9:42 am

        We’ll look into this! Thank you for reaching out, Chris!

    • Chris Teter | October 6, 2021 at 8:48 am

      Great advice Gene, Supply chain shortages and the current government policies are causing inflation which is a hidden tax. It’s like putting a frog in a pot of cold water and slowly heating it to boiling. We’re at a simmer now and gas, milk, bread and beef prices are almost double from a year ago! There are also hundreds of tankers waiting to dock on both coasts. I was in the financing business in 2008 and warned buyers NOT to use their home equity to buy machinery. Many understood the risk, unfortunately many did not and ended up losing both their equipment and their homes when the government bailed out the banks.

      • Small Biz Ahead | October 7, 2021 at 12:57 pm

        Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences, Chris! We appreciate the comment!

    • lawrence eberhart | October 6, 2021 at 8:41 am

      Excellent info. to take advantage of tax savings.

      • Small Biz Ahead | October 6, 2021 at 9:59 am

        We’re glad you liked our article, Lawrence! Thanks for reading SBA!

    • Russian Hill academy | October 5, 2021 at 11:51 pm

      Nice tips, 2 of them will save us some tax dollars!

      • Small Biz Ahead | October 6, 2021 at 10:00 am

        That’s great to hear! We’re glad you’ll be able to save on some tax dollars!

    • vinod kumar sagar | October 5, 2021 at 11:37 pm

      great advice.

      • Small Biz Ahead | October 7, 2021 at 10:54 am

        Thanks! We’re glad you liked the article!

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