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10 Tax Law Changes You Need to Know to Save Your Business Thousands of Dollars Now that the new year is here, it's time to look at 2023 taxes for your business. If you weren't watching closely, there are a few new wrinkles for the 2023 tax year that you should be aware of, whether you're doing your taxes yourself or working with a tax professional.

By Jim Conroy

Key Takeaways

  • Business tax season is really 12 months a year, not just a few weeks leading up to Tax Day.
  • You need to stay organized and alert to tax changes to prepare for the upcoming year and make sure you don't lose out on saving even more money.
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Imagine not knowing about a tax advantage that could have saved your business thousands of dollars. Money that could be used to buy new equipment, set aside for tough times or reward hard-working employees? Now think about Pat, who nearly missed out on the opportunity in 2021 to secure a specific credit for keeping the company handyman on staff during the pandemic. Luckily, Pat learned that the credit could be accessed by amending IRS returns for 2020 and 2021. (The IRS allows this for three years following filing.) Had Pat learned about the credit today, it would not have been available. While relatively small for Pat, it was still meaningful.

This is just a small example of the value of keeping up on tax law changes. Any change enacted by Congress (or even your local governments) can save or cost your business. Most small businesses will spend the next few weeks filing their 2023 taxes. That makes this a good time to take a look at changes that you may have missed when planning for 2023, but that you still may be able to take advantage of.

Knowing new tax laws is about more than just the effect on your annual business tax. Knowing about tax law changes in advance lets you plan your finances better. You can save money to ensure you can pay. If you pay less, you can use the money to implement business strategies you might have had to put off or forgo entirely.

With the 2023 tax filing season barely underway, now is the time to check to see what changes have occurred that affect your business. If any of these items give you pause, act now to prevent difficulties closer to April 15.

Related: Want Taxes to Be Easy? Work on Them Year Round, Not Last Minute.

Top 10 changes to look for while filing your 2023 taxes

  1. Depreciation. Businesses formerly could deduct the cost of big assets over the expected lifetime of that asset. If your $1,000 computer was going to last 10 years, you could deduct $100 for it each year until its final year. This likely reduced your tax obligation. Since mid-2017, a business could claim 100% bonus depreciation on it. (Bonus depreciation was the government's way to encourage small business investment and jolt the economy.) However, that bonus became 80% in 2023 and will fall by 20% more each year until the bonus depreciation ends.
  2. Environmental credits. Available credits for your business vehicle under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 differ depending on whether you placed your clean vehicle into service from Jan. 1 through April 17, 2023 or April 18 and after.
  3. Retirement plan incentives. If you have up to 50 employees and have thought about rewarding them — or want to be more competitive with your hires — any costs you incur to establish a retirement plan are now fully deductible up to $5,000. Businesses with 51-100 employees can get a credit for 50% of their costs.
  4. Employer contribution tax credit. If your retirement plan includes an employer contribution, some or all of that expense can be taken as a federal tax credit. This credit can only be taken for participating employees earning $100,000 or less based on how much of their contributions you match. The cap per employee is $1,000.
  5. Net operating loss deduction changes. It used to be that if you had a net operating loss — say, you spent $10,000 on inventory but only made $8,000 in sales, you were able to carry that $2,000 loss forward to the subsequent tax year. Starting in 2023, you can only deduct 80% of that loss ($1,600 in this example).
  6. Mileage changes from tax year 2022. For business use of your personal vehicle, the mileage deduction increased in 2023 to 65.5¢ per mile (from 62.5¢). This also applies when reimbursing employees when they've driven their vehicle on your behalf.
  7. Form 1099K. The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 required third-party settlement organizations (such as eBay, Amazon and PayPal) to report transactions to the IRS if they exceeded $600 for the year. If your business (or, more likely, side hustle) is selling items through an online retailer, you may have been required to supply your social security number or employer identification number to receive a Form 1099K. However, in late 2023, the IRS declared the year to be another "transitional year," and you may not receive the form. You must still report that income and pay tax on it.
  8. Interest expense limitation. Since 2017, there has been a limit to how much interest you may deduct. This was changed in 2022, and further refined in 2023. The IRS describes the changes here. The gist is that with the lower limit and higher interest rates, you may not be able to deduct all of your interest. If this applies to you, this is a good example of a time to enlist the aid of a tax professional.
  9. 401(k) contribution deadlines. The tax year 2023 is the first year sole proprietors and single-member LLCs may make first-year contributions through the April 15 tax filing deadline.
  10. Meal and entertainment. If you started your business during the pandemic era when you could write off 100% of those costs, be aware that only 50% of the cost of 2023 meals and entertainment expenses is deductible.

Related: Make Tax Season As Painless as Possible by Taking These 6 Steps

Remember to make sure that you aren't missing local changes when focusing on federal. Iowa and Arkansas reduced their top corporate tax rate in 2023; did your state and local government?

Need help? The IRS is staffing up on customer service representatives — though the recent budget deal reduced some of the funding allocated in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Looking forward to 2024, where do you learn about these changes? Be alert to coverage in the business press, either in the business section of a reliable news organization (in print or online; you're already reading Entrepreneur.com) or a specific industry-oriented publication. The IRS website offers a variety of help. Its news releases will give early warning of changes to take place. Also look for tax news websites, chambers of commerce, the Small Business Administration, the small business development center near you, any industry association you may belong to, blogs from your accounting software provider or check with your accounting professional.

Remember, business tax season is really 12 months a year. Stay organized, plan for the future and start watching now for 2024 changes. Doing so will help you adapt and thrive.

Jim Conroy

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO

Jim Conroy has spent his career helping small businesses. At The Neat Company, he held accounting and finance roles, most recently as CFO and now CEO. In the last 12 years at Neat, Jim has served the needs of the small business community as a backend business management tool and partner for growth.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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