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Tax Law Changes That May Affect Your Business’s 401(k) Plan

Think about recent tax law changes and your business: There’s the new 20% pass-through deduction for qualified business income (QBI) and the enhancements to depreciation-related breaks. There’s also the reduction or elimination of certain business expense deductions. However, if your business sponsors a 401(k) plan, then there are also a couple of recent tax law changes you need to be aware of.

    1.  Plan loan repayment extension:

A great way to get a low-interest loan would be to borrow from your 401(k). But what happens if you leave the company (voluntarily or otherwise)? I’ll tell you; you have 60 days to either roll over the 401(k) into another qualified account or repay the loan. If the loan is not repaid, it then goes into default and is reported to the IRS as taxable income (and be subject to a 10% early distribution penalty if the employee was under age 59½).

However, under The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), starting 2018 any loans taken from your 401(k) now allows more time for the borrower to repay. Instead of the 60-day window, borrows now have until their tax return filing due date — including extensions — to repay the loan (or contribute the outstanding balance to an IRA or qualified retirement plan) and avoid taxes and penalties. To sum up, if you borrowed from your 401(k) and leave your job in 2018, you now have until April 15, 2019 to repay the loan.

    2.  Hardship withdrawal limit increase:

Some 401(k) plans allow for hardship withdrawals. If the 401(k) plan does include Hardship, an employee is allowed to take the withdrawal if their hardship falls under it’s criteria: purchase of a new home, damage/repair expenses for your home, payment expenses to avoid evictions or foreclosure on your home, unexpected medical costs, tuition/educational fees, or burial/funeral expenses. Before, a person could only borrow what they contributed into their 401(k). Beginning in 2019, the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) eases restrictions on employee 401(k) hardship withdrawals. Now, a person can not only withdraw their own contribution, but they can also withdraw their employer matched contributions plus earnings on contributions. This deduction will be considered taxable income and subject to the 10% early distribution tax penalty.

While this may sound beneficial, many people do not save enough for retirement. In addition, it is taking Americans longer to pay back loans thus missing out on potential tax-deferred growth during that time. Hardship withdrawals can result in a smaller, perhaps much smaller, nest egg at retirement.

So consider educating your employees on the importance of letting their 401(k) accounts grow undisturbed and the potential negative tax consequences of loans and early withdrawals. The team at Patrick & Raines CPAs have many years of experience helping small business owners and financial planning.  Contact us at Office@CPAsite.com or 904-396-5400 if we can help you!

Thinking of selling your business…?

Mark Patrick, CPA was featured in the UNF Spotlight newsletter. If you are thinking of selling your business, here are 4 ways to yield a large tax savings and/or better proceeds at closing!

Tax Efficient Sale of Your Business

2019 Q1 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers


Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the first quarter of 2019. 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.

January 31

  • File 2018 Forms W-2, “Wage and Tax Statement,” with the Social Security Administration and provide copies to your employees.
  • Provide copies of 2018 Forms 1099-MISC, “Miscellaneous Income,” to recipients of income from your business where required.
  • File 2018 Forms 1099-MISC reporting nonemployee compensation payments in Box 7 with the IRS.
  • File Form 940, “Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return,” for 2018. If your undeposited tax is $500 or less, you can either pay it with your return or deposit it. If it’s more than $500, you must deposit it. However, if you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time, you have until February 11 to file the return.
  • File Form 941, “Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return,” to report Medicare, Social Security and income taxes withheld in the fourth quarter of 2018. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until February 11 to file the return. (Employers that have an estimated annual employment tax liability of $1,000 or less may be eligible to file Form 944,“Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return.”)
  • File Form 945, “Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax,” for 2018 to report income tax withheld on all nonpayroll items, including backup withholding and withholding on accounts such as pensions, annuities and IRAs. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time, you have until February 11 to file the return.

February 28

  • File 2018 Forms 1099-MISC with the IRS if 1) they’re not required to be filed earlier and 2) you’re filing paper copies. (Otherwise, the filing deadline is April 1.)

March 15

  • If a calendar-year partnership or S corporation, file or extend your 2018 tax return and pay any tax due. If the return isn’t extended, this is also the last day to make 2018 contributions to pension and profit-sharing plans.

Reach us at Office@CPAsite.com or 904-396-5400 if you have questions.

© 2018

Beware of unexpected tax liabilities under new accounting and tax rules!

Business owners have been hearing from us for a while now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) contains a provision that ties revenue recognition for book purposes to income reporting for tax purposes, for tax years starting in 2018. This narrow section of the law could have a major impact on certain industries, especially as companies implement the updated revenue recognition standard under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

Recognizing revenue under GAAP

Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, went into effect for public companies this year; it will go into effect for private companies next year. The updated standard requires businesses to all use a single model for calculating the top line in their income statements under GAAP, as opposed to following various industry-specific models.

The standard doesn’t change the underlying economics of a business’s revenue streams. But it may change the timing of when companies record revenue in their financial statements. The standard introduces the concept of “performance obligations” in contracts with customers and allows revenue to be recorded only when these obligations are satisfied. It could mean revenue is recorded right away or in increments over time, depending on the transaction.

The changes will be most apparent for complex, long-term contracts. For example, most software companies expect to record revenues in their financial statements earlier under ASU 2014-09 than under the old accounting rules.

Matching book and tax records

Starting in 2018, the TCJA modifies Section 451 of the Internal Revenue Code so that a business recognizes revenue for tax purposes no later than when it’s recognized for financial reporting purposes. Under Sec. 451(b), taxpayers that use the accrual method of accounting will meet the “all events test” no later than the taxable year in which the item is taken into account as revenue in a taxpayer’s “applicable financial statement.”

The TCJA also added Sec. 451(c), referred to as the “rule for advance payments.” At a high level, the rule can require businesses to recognize taxable income even earlier than when it’s recognized for book purposes if the company receives a so-called “advance payment.”

Some companies delivering complex products, such as an aerospace parts supplier making a custom component, can receive payments from customers years before they build and deliver the product. Under ASU 2014-09, a business can’t recognize revenue until it’s completed its performance obligations in the contract, even if an amount has been paid in advance. However, under Sec. 451(c), companies may be taxed before they recognize revenue on their financial statements from contracts that call for advance payments.

Will the changes affect your business?

Changes in the TCJA, combined with the new revenue recognition rules under GAAP, will cause some companies to recognize taxable income sooner than in the past. In some industries, this could mean significantly accelerated tax bills. However, others won’t experience any noticeable differences. We can help you evaluate how the accounting rule and tax law changes will affect your company, based on its unique circumstances.

View our related seminar by going to our home page, www.CPAsite.com, and clicking on the Tax Reform Changes button.

© 2018

Research credit available to some businesses for the first time


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) didn’t change the federal tax credit for “increasing research activities,” but several TCJA provisions have an indirect impact on the credit. As a result, the research credit may be available to some businesses for the first time.

AMT reform

Previously, corporations subject to alternative minimum tax (AMT) couldn’t offset the research credit against their AMT liability, which erased the benefits of the credit (although they could carry unused research credits forward for up to 20 years and use them in non-AMT years). By eliminating corporate AMT for tax years beginning after 2017, the TCJA removed this obstacle.

Now that the corporate AMT is gone, unused research credits from prior tax years can be offset against a corporation’s regular tax liability and may even generate a refund (subject to certain restrictions). So it’s a good idea for corporations to review their research activities in recent years and amend prior returns if necessary to ensure they claim all the research credits to which they’re entitled.

The TCJA didn’t eliminate individual AMT, but it did increase individuals’ exemption amounts and exemption phaseout thresholds. As a result, fewer owners of sole proprietorships and pass-through businesses are subject to AMT, allowing more of them to enjoy the benefits of the research credit, too.

More to consider

By reducing corporate and individual tax rates, the TCJA also will increase research credits for many businesses. Why? Because the tax code, to prevent double tax benefits, requires businesses to reduce their deductible research expenses by the amount of the credit.

To avoid this result (which increases taxable income), businesses can elect to reduce the credit by an amount calculated at the highest corporate rate that eliminates the double benefit. Because the highest corporate rate has been reduced from 35% to 21%, this amount is lower and, therefore, the research credit is higher.

Keep in mind that the TCJA didn’t affect certain research credit benefits for smaller businesses. Pass-through businesses can still claim research credits against AMT if their average gross receipts are $50 million or less. And qualifying start-ups without taxable income can still claim research credits against up to $250,000 in payroll taxes.

Do your research

If your company engages in qualified research activities, now’s a good time to revisit the credit to be sure you’re taking full advantage of its benefits.  Let our team of CPAs know if we can help! Office@CPAsite.com or 904-396-5400.

© 2018

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