For decades, the United States was in the top twenty of the countries paying the highest statutory corporate income tax rates. Last year, American companies had to adhere to a whopping 38.9 percent rate while other developed countries were paying 22 and 25 percent rates. In fact, the only other countries paying 35 percent or more, were the United Arab Emirates and Comoros, one of the African nations, which each paid a 50 percent corporate tax rate. What a difference a new administration and a new year has made for business everywhere.
Today, the monumental corporate tax rate reduction under the approved 2017 tax reform bill marks the first time in decades that the US rate is less than the global average paid – 22.9 percent – an unprecedented percentage. Our firms will now pay a flat rate of 21 percent on all profits. The new tax law greatly simplifies and lowers taxes for all companies. The law also eliminates the alternative minimum tax (ATM) for corporate enterprises. But that’s not all.
The Breakdown is Impressive
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act aims to spur economic growth across the United States by adjusting tax structures for small businesses and corporations. Some businesses are already feeling its effects, and thousands of small businesses are benefiting from many significant top down changes:
- Pass-through businesses receive a 20 percent deduction
- An expansion of Section 179 filing, which allows for expensing of business-related equipment and technology
- Lower individual tax rates
The main component of the act deals with a change to the tax structure for what are known as pass-through businesses. Pass-through companies account for about 95 percent of U.S businesses – sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations are all examples of pass-through businesses. The change involves a 20 percent tax deduction for all pass-through businesses with one limitation: married individuals who own service-based businesses like law firms or doctor’s offices can only claim the deduction if their annual income is below $315,000 ($157,500 if single).
Under this act, the change in a business’s taxable income reduced by 20 percent, is significant. Here’s an example: If your annual business income is $100,000 per year, the IRS only taxes you on $80,000 of it. The hope is that this deduction provides small businesses with some financial breathing room – allowing business owners to reinvest those savings back into their businesses by buying new equipment, hiring new workers, giving raises, or expanding operations.
There are a few exceptions though. Service-type businesses, especially firms making more than $315,000 per year such as enterprise-size accounting and law firms, are left out of the deduction to close potential loopholes.
By capping service-based businesses at $315,000, lawmakers are trying to limit the possibility of certain business owners from benefitting from lower taxable income. Small firms will still receive the 20 percent deduction.
Section 179 filing is now more beneficial to small businesses than in previous years. Key to the changes for 2018 are that business owners can now write off the entire purchase price of qualifying equipment, technology and software for the current tax year. The 2018 deduction limit is now $1,000,000 and the equipment spending cap on equipment purchases is $2,500,000. This spending cap makes Section 179 a true “small business tax incentive.” Large companies that spend more than $3.5 million on equipment will not get the deduction.
For businesses, these cuts are beneficial, and it is evident that reduced taxes will help spur economic growth. It should soon become clearer whether corporations and small business owners plan on reinvesting this money back into their businesses in the form of recognizing their employees, increasing benefits, or buying new equipment and supplies. Businesses and individuals with solid tax strategies can benefit from the new tax rates. By restructuring your organization or shifting income to lesser-taxed areas, there are opportunities to save – if you’re prepared.
Bottom line: the new tax code is complex and cumbersome for business. To navigate the new legislation, you need trusted experts and advisors who understand the nuances of accounting. We are here for you!