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Business Taxes

6 Misunderstood Business Tax Deductions for Your 2018 Year-End Planning

This is the first year that the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will impact your tax returns. So, give your tax advisor a call.
6 Misunderstood Business Tax Deductions for Your 2018 Year-End Planning
Image credit: Prapass Pulsub | Getty Images
Guest Writer
CPA, Author and Founder and CEO of WealthAbility
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A couple of more weeks of fun holiday festivities are still to come. But, then, uh-oh, it's tax time again.

Before that happens, the end of the year will happen. And before then, it's important that as an entrepreneur, you spend some time thinking about tax deductions. That's why a few reminders are in order, because a number of moves on your part will help you maximize savings in response to your business, real estate and charity deductions, especially given the new tax law impacting 2018 returns.

Related: How Amazon and Entrepreneurs Can Pay Zero Federal Income Tax, and Do So Legally

Are these moves legal? Absolutely -- even if a number of them were allegedly done by the family currently residing in the White House. So, without further ado, here's what you need to know when preparing your finances for year's end.

1. Business valuations and minority interests can often be transferred to children. 

You can legally transfer wealth to your children and not pay tax. You can reduce your estate and not pay estate tax or a gift tax, simply by transferring what is called a minority interest to children. This transfer of assets can absolutely be done by anybody.

2. Depreciation on businesses and real estate for equipment and partial real estate is a great incentive.

The tax law is a series of incentives, and one of the biggest ones is called depreciation, which refers to wear and tear on buildings and other assets. Here, the tax incentives under the new law are better than they were previously. A good real estate investor who invests all the time probably will pay no tax at all, which is legal and intended in the law.

3. Debt through a valid loan is not taxed. 

Many people do not realize that when you borrow money from a business or real estate, it is not taxable. If you pull money out by borrowing money, that’s not taxable. This loan is another way to legally pay no tax.

Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Significantly Reduce 2018 Taxes by Choosing the Right Business Entity

4. When descendants inherit property, its value receives a basis step-up at the date of death, removing all capital gains tax. 

When you die, all your income tax goes away. You may not realize that all of your gains in business and real estate that have gone up in value will go away when you die. It’s called a basis step-up, so your estate ends up paying no tax. If your assets are under $20 million, your heirs won’t even pay estate tax. This deduction is one many people forget about.

5. Like-kind exchanges for real estate can help you legally avoid taxes.

For real estate, you can sell a property, and if you buy another piece of real estate, you don’t pay tax on the asset sold. You can use this approach to save millions on taxes over your lifetime. We call it “Buy, borrow, die.” You keep buying real estate; and you borrow the money out, so you don’t pay tax, and when you die, the tax goes away.

You can also actually buy the new property before you sell the first property, up to two years before your sale. A lot people think they have only 45 days to identify the new property and 180 days (six months) to close, but you can do all your planning ahead of time to avoid paying tax.

6. Charity gift donations can include real estate property or cash flow.

Charitable contributions offer another great tax break. You can actually retain ownership of an asset and still get a deduction. With the new tax law, those who itemize can save money by giving the asset away. Certain charitable contributions receive state tax credits in many states, as well, which gives the donor a credit on state taxes and a deduction on federal taxes. 

These six often misunderstood tax deductions are just a few of the legal tax incentives. The new tax law is full of them and should be paid attention to, particularly with the new rules going into effect in 2018. The tax law has brought incentives in particularly for real estate and business.

Yes, individuals have lost some of their traditional tax benefits, such as a reduction in the credits for home mortgage deductions and state taxes. However, if you are a business owner or an investor, you just made out like a bandit with this new law. 

Related: The Supreme Court's Decision on Online Sales Taxes Will Reshape Retail -- Again

What is most important for everyone to do now is plan ahead for year's end by meeting with a tax advisor right away. This year, 2018, is the first year that the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will impact your tax returns. So, don’t wait another minute to start planning ways to legally put more money back into your pocket.

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