Is now the time for your small business to launch a retirement plan?
February 02, 2023 | BY admin
Many small businesses start out as “lean enterprises,” with costs kept to a minimum to lower risks and maximize cash flow. But there comes a point in the evolution of many companies — particularly in a tight job market — when investing money in employee benefits becomes advisable, if not mandatory.
Is now the time for your small business to do so? As you compete for top talent and look to retain valued employees, would launching a retirement plan help your case? Quite possibly. And the good news is that the federal government is offering some intriguing incentives for eligible smaller companies ready to make the leap.
Late last year, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 was signed into law. Within this massive spending package lies the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement 2.0 Act (SECURE 2.0). Its provisions bring three key improvements to the small employer pension plan start-up cost tax credit, beginning this year:
1. Full coverage for the smallest of small businesses. SECURE 2.0 makes the credit equal to the full amount of creditable plan start-up costs for employers with 50 or fewer employees, up to an annual cap. Previously, only 50% of costs were allowed. This limit still applies to employers with 51 to 100 employees.
2. Glitch fixed for multiemployer plans. SECURE 2.0 retroactively fixes a technical glitch that prevented employers who joined multiemployer plans in existence for more than 3 years from claiming the small employer pension plan start-up cost credit. If your business joined a pre-existing multiemployer plan before this period, contact us about filing amended returns to claim the credit.
3. Enhancement of employer contributions. Perhaps the biggest change brought by SECURE 2.0 is that certain employer contributions for a plan’s first 5 years now may qualify for the credit. The credit is increased by a percentage of employer contributions, up to a per-employee cap of $1,000, as follows:
- 100% in the plan’s first and second tax years,
- 75% in the third year,
- 50% in the fourth year, and
- 25% in the fifth year.
For employers with between 51 and 100 employees, the contribution portion of the credit is reduced by 2% times the number of employees above 50.
In addition, no employer contribution credit is allowed for contributions for employees who make more than $100,000 (adjusted for inflation after 2023). The credit for employer contributions is also unavailable for elective deferrals or contributions to defined benefit pension plans.
To be clear, though the name of the tax break is the ‘small employer pension plan start-up cost credit,’ it also applies to qualified plans such as 401(k)s and SIMPLE IRAs, as well as to Simplified Employee Pensions. Our firm can help you determine if now is the right time for your small business to launch a retirement plan and, if so, which one.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, nor should it be relied upon for, legal or tax advice. If you have any specific legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, please consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
2022 Q4 Tax Calendar: Key Deadlines for Businesses and Other Employers
September 22, 2022 | BY admin
Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the fourth quarter of 2022. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines and to learn more about the filing requirements.
Note: Certain tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines may be postponed for taxpayers who reside in or have businesses in federally declared disaster areas.
Monday, October 3
The last day you can initially set up a SIMPLE IRA plan, provided you (or any predecessor employer) didn’t previously maintain a SIMPLE IRA plan. If you’re a new employer that comes into existence after October 1 of the year, you can establish a SIMPLE IRA plan as soon as administratively feasible after your business comes into existence.
Monday, October 17
- If a calendar-year C corporation that filed an automatic six-month extension:
- File a 2021 income tax return (Form 1120) and pay any tax, interest and penalties due.
- Make contributions for 2021 to certain employer-sponsored retirement plans.
Monday, October 31
- Report income tax withholding and FICA taxes for third quarter 2022 (Form 941) and pay any tax due. (See exception below under “November 10.”)
Thursday, November 10
- Report income tax withholding and FICA taxes for third quarter 2022 (Form 941), if you deposited on time (and in full) all of the associated taxes due.
Thursday, December 15
- If a calendar-year C corporation, pay the fourth installment of 2022 estimated income taxes.
Contact us if you’d like more information about the filing requirements and to ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines.
Do Your Employees Receive Tips? You May Be Eligible for a Tax Credit
February 03, 2020 | BY admin
Are you an employer who owns a business where tipping is customary for providing food and beverages? You may qualify for a tax credit involving the Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes that you pay on your employees’ tip income.
How the credit works
The FICA credit applies with respect to tips that your employees receive from customers in connection with the provision of food or beverages, regardless of whether the food or beverages are for consumption on or off the premises. Although these tips are paid by customers, they’re treated for FICA tax purposes as if you paid them to your employees. Your employees are required to report their tips to you. You must withhold and remit the employee’s share of FICA taxes, and you must also pay the employer’s share of those taxes.
You claim the credit as part of the general business credit. It’s equal to the employer’s share of FICA taxes paid on tip income in excess of what’s needed to bring your employee’s wages up to $5.15 per hour. In other words, no credit is available to the extent the tip income just brings the employee up to the $5.15 per hour level, calculated monthly. If you pay each employee at least $5.15 an hour (excluding tips), you don’t have to be concerned with this calculation.
Note: A 2007 tax law froze the per-hour amount at $5.15, which was the amount of the federal minimum wage at that time. The minimum wage is now $7.25 per hour but the amount for credit computation purposes remains $5.15.
How it works
Example: A waiter works at your restaurant. He’s paid $2 an hour plus tips. During the month, he works 160 hours for $320 and receives $2,000 in cash tips which he reports to you.
The waiter’s $2 an hour rate is below the $5.15 rate by $3.15 an hour. Thus, for the 160 hours worked, he or she is below the $5.15 rate by $504 (160 times $3.15). For the waiter, therefore, the first $504 of tip income just brings him up to the minimum rate. The rest of the tip income is $1,496 ($2,000 minus $504). The waiter’s employer pays FICA taxes at the rate of 7.65% for him. Therefore, the employer’s credit is $114.44 for the month: $1,496 times 7.65%.
While the employer’s share of FICA taxes is generally deductible, the FICA taxes paid with respect to tip income used to determine the credit can’t be deducted, because that would amount to a double benefit. However, you can elect not to take the credit, in which case you can claim the deduction.
Get the credit you’re due
If your business pays FICA taxes on tip income paid to your employees, the tip tax credit may be valuable to you. Other rules may apply. Contact us if you have any questions.
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Business for the New Year
December 26, 2019 | BY admin
The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a great opportunity for reflection and planning. You have 12 months to look back on and another 12 ahead to look forward to. Here are five ways to strengthen your business for the new year by doing a little of both:
1. Compare 2019 financial performance to budget. Did you meet the financial goals you set at the beginning of the year? If not, why? Analyze variances between budget and actual results. Then, evaluate what changes you could make to get closer to achieving your objectives in 2020. And if you did meet your goals, identify precisely what you did right and build on those strategies.
2. Create a multiyear capital budget. Look around your offices or facilities at your equipment, software and people. What investments will you need to make to grow your business? Such investments can be both tangible (new equipment and technology) and intangible (employees’ technical and soft skills).
Equipment, software, furniture, vehicles and other types of assets inevitably wear out or become obsolete. You’ll need to regularly maintain, update and replace them. Lay out a long-term plan for doing so; this way, you won’t be caught off guard by a big expense.
3. Assess the competition. Identify your biggest rivals over the past year. Discuss with your partners, managers and advisors what those competitors did to make your life so “interesting.” Also, honestly appraise the quality of what your business sells versus what competitors offer. Are you doing everything you can to meet — or, better yet, exceed — customer expectations? Devise some responsive competitive strategies for the next 12 months.
4. Review insurance coverage. It’s important to stay on top of your property, casualty and liability coverage. Property values or risks may change — or you may add new assets or retire old ones — requiring you to increase or decrease your level of coverage. A fire, natural disaster, accident or out-of-the-blue lawsuit that you’re not fully protected against could devastate your business. Look at the policies you have in place and determine whether you’re adequately protected.
5. Analyze market trends. Recognize the major events and trends in your industry over the past year. Consider areas such as economic drivers or detractors, technology, the regulatory environment and customer demographics. In what direction is your industry heading over the next five or ten years? Anticipating and quickly reacting to trends are the keys to a company’s long-term success.
These are just a few ideas for looking back and ahead to set a successful course forward. We can help you review the past year’s tax, accounting and financial strategies, and implement savvy moves toward a secure and profitable 2020 for your business.
Wayfair Revisited — It’s Time to Review Your Sales Tax Obligations
December 25, 2019 | BY admin
In its 2018 decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld South Dakota’s “economic nexus” statute, expanding the power of states to collect sales tax from remote sellers. Today, nearly every state with a sales tax has enacted a similar law, so if your company does business across state lines, it’s a good idea to reexamine your sales tax obligations.
A state is constitutionally prohibited from taxing business activities unless those activities have a substantial “nexus,” or connection, with the state. Before Wayfair, simply selling to customers in a state wasn’t enough to establish nexus. The business also had to have a physical presence in the state, such as offices, retail stores, manufacturing or distribution facilities, or sales reps.
In Wayfair, the Supreme Court ruled that a business could establish nexus through economic or virtual contacts with a state, even if it didn’t have a physical presence. The Court didn’t create a bright-line test for determining whether contacts are “substantial,” but found that the thresholds established by South Dakota’s law are sufficient: Out-of-state businesses must collect and remit South Dakota sales taxes if, in the current or previous calendar year, they have 1) more than $100,000 in gross sales of products or services delivered into the state, or 2) 200 or more separate transactions for the delivery of goods or services into the state.
The vast majority of states now have economic nexus laws, although the specifics vary:Many states adopted the same sales and transaction thresholds accepted in Wayfair, but a number of states apply different thresholds. And some chose not to impose transaction thresholds, which many view as unfair to smaller sellers (an example of a threshold might be 200 sales of $5 each would create nexus).
If your business makes online, telephone or mail-order sales in states where it lacks a physical presence, it’s critical to find out whether those states have economic nexus laws and determine whether your activities are sufficient to trigger them. If you have nexus with a state, you’ll need to register with the state and collect state and applicable local taxes on your taxable sales there. Even if some or all of your sales are tax-exempt, you’ll need to secure exemption certifications for each jurisdiction where you do business. Alternatively, you might decide to reduce or eliminate your activities in a state if the benefits don’t justify the compliance costs.
Note: If you make sales through a “marketplace facilitator,” such as Amazon or Ebay, be aware that an increasing number of states have passed laws that require such providers to collect taxes on sales they facilitate for vendors using their platforms.
If you need assistance in setting up processes to collect sales tax or you have questions about your responsibilities, contact us.