2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act Information

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed by Congress on December 20, 2017. 

The President signed it into law on December 22, 2017. 

Here is some information about how the changes affect Businesses.

When all of this goes into effect, and when you'll notice the changes

The majority of changes made by the tax reform bill go into effect for the 2018 tax year, which means you'll first notice them on your tax return that you file in 2019.

However, there are modifications that should be made as of Jan. 1 2018, to adapt paycheck withholding to match the newly passed 2018 tax brackets.

Corporate Tax Rates

the bill lowers the corporate tax rate to a flat 21% on all profits. This is not only a massive tax cut, but is a major simplification as compared to the 2017 corporate tax structure.

The global average corporate tax rate is about 25%, so this move is designed to make the U.S. more globally competitive, which should in turn help keep more corporate profits (and jobs) in the United States.

In addition to these changes, the corporate AMT of 20% has been repealed.

A territorial tax system

The tax reform bill also changes the U.S. corporate tax system from a worldwide one to a territorial system. Currently, U.S. corporations have to pay U.S. taxes on their profits earned abroad, and the new system will end this effective double-taxing of foreign profits.

Repatriation of foreign cash and assets

As a result of the worldwide tax system, which makes foreign profits subject to the 35% top corporate tax rate, there is about $2.6 trillion in U.S. corporations' foreign profits held overseas.

In order to bring this money back to the United States, the new tax law sets a one-time repatriation rate of 15.5% on cash and equivalent foreign-held assets and 8% on illiquid assets like equipment, payable over an eight-year period.

This could be big news for companies like Apple, which has more than $200 billion parked overseas.

Taxes

The new tax law changes rates for many small business owners, whether they are sole proprietorships, partnerships or corporations. But the benefits aren't across the board: Some owners will lose out on savings because they'll end 2018 with income above thresholds set out in the law, or they work in fields like accounting, law or consulting.

Many business owners aren't sure yet how the law will affect them. Although accountants and other tax professionals may have given owners some general ideas about the impact, the IRS must still write regulations that will spell out what taxpayers can do under the law and how they must comply.

Some things are known. The Section 179 deduction that small businesses can use to get an immediate break on purchases of equipment ranging from computers to vehicles to manufacturing equipment doubles this year to $1 million.

And separate from the tax bill, the IRS has set the standard mileage rate for business use for a car at 54.5 cents per mile, up 1 cent from 2017. The rate is one of two methods for accounting for how much an owner spent on using a car for business; the second is to deduct the actual expenses for the car. Under the actual expense method an owner must calculate the percentage of miles the car is driven for business, and apply that percentage to expenses like lease payments, fuel, maintenance, repairs, insurance and depreciation.

Minimum Wage Rises

Eighteen states have higher minimum wages as of Dec. 31, 2017, or Jan. 1.

Laws were passed boosting the wage floor in 10 of those states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state.

Eight states see increases because their minimums are tied to the inflation rate. They are Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota.

Small businesses such as restaurants or food service companies are most likely to now be paying their workers more under the higher minimums. Three-fifths of all workers paid at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour are in the leisure and hospitality industries. Almost all of those are restaurants or food service businesses, according to the Department of Labor. By joyce m. rosenberg, ap business writer NEW YORK — Jan 3, 2018, 11:08 AM ET

New 20% Deduction for Small Businesses (Except C Corps)

There is a significant new tax deduction taking effect in 2018 under the new tax law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the Act). It should provide a substantial tax benefit to individuals with “qualified business income” from a partnership, S corporation, LLC, or sole proprietorship. This income is sometimes referred to as “pass-through” income.

The deduction is 20% of your “qualified business income (QBI)” from a partnership, S corporation, LLC or sole proprietorship, defined as the net amount of items of income, gain, deduction, and loss with respect to your trade or business. The business must be conducted within the U.S. to qualify, and specified investment-related items are not included, e.g., capital gains or losses, dividends, and interest income (unless the interest is properly allocable to the business). The trade or business of being an employee does not qualify. Also, QBI does not include reasonable compensation received from an S corporation, or a guaranteed payment received from a partnership for services provided to a partnership’s business.

The deduction is taken “below the line,” i.e., it reduces your taxable income but not your adjusted gross income. But it is available regardless of whether you itemize deductions or take the standard deduction. In general, the deduction cannot exceed 20% of the excess of your taxable income over net capital gain. If QBI is less than zero it is treated as a loss from a qualified business in the following year.

Rules are in place (discussed below) to deter high-income taxpayers from attempting to convert wages or other compensation for personal services into income eligible for the deduction.

For taxpayers with taxable income above $157,500 ($315,000 for joint filers), an exclusion from QBI of income from “specified service” trades or businesses is phased in. These are trades or businesses involving the performance of services in the fields of health, law, consulting, athletics, financial or brokerage services, or where the principal asset is the reputation or skill of one or more employees or owners. Here’s how the phase-in works: If your taxable income is at least $50,000 above the threshold, i.e., $207,500 ($157,500 + $50,000), all of the net income from the specified service trade or business is excluded from QBI. (Joint filers would use an amount of $100,000 above the $315,000 threshold, viz., $415,000.) If your taxable income is between $157,500 and $207,500, you would exclude only that percentage of income derived from a fraction the numerator of which is the excess of taxable income over $157,500 and the denominator of which is $50,000. So, for example, if taxable income is $167,500 ($10,000 above $157,500), only 20% of the specified service income would be excluded from QBI ($10,000/$50,000). (For joint filers, the same operation would apply using the $315,000 threshold, and a $100,000 phase-out range.)

Additionally, for taxpayers with taxable income more than the above thresholds, a limitation on the amount of the deduction is phased in based either on wages paid or wages paid plus a capital element. Here’s how it works: If your taxable income is at least $50,000 above the threshold, i.e., $207,500 ($157,500 + $50,000), your deduction for QBI cannot exceed the greater of (1) 50% of your allocable share of the W-2 wages paid with respect to the qualified trade or business, or (2) the sum of 25% of such wages plus 2.5% of the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of tangible depreciable property used in the business (including real estate). So if your QBI were $100,000, leading to a deduction of $20,000 (20% of $100,000), but the greater of (1) or (2) above were only $16,000, your deduction would be limited to $16,000, i.e., it would be reduced by $4,000. And if your taxable income were between $157,500 and $207,500, you would only incur a percentage of the $4,000 reduction, with the percentage worked out via the fraction discussed in the preceding paragraph. (For joint filers, the same operations would apply using the $315,000 threshold, and a $100,000 phase-out range.)

Paul Thorstenson

CPA, ABV, CVA, Partner at Ketel Thorstenson, LLP

The Economy

If the economy maintains the robust expansion it showed in 2017, owners' profits and their optimism should grow as well. But that may not translate into more jobs.

In multiple surveys last year, owners indicated they're generally sticking to their conservative hiring patterns. Job creation plans ticked higher in a fourth-quarter survey by researchers at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management and Dun & Bradstreet Corp., with 42 percent of small business owners saying they'd add one to two staffers in the next six months, up from 38 percent in the third quarter.

Owners have said a significant revenue increase might persuade them to hire. For many, that could depend on whether consumer spending remains strong. The government's figures on retail sales and consumer spending show Americans were feeling fine about spending as 2017 ended, a sign that business will be good in the new year. Retail sales rose 0.8 percent in November after a 0.5 percent gain in October, according to the Commerce Department. Overall consumer spending rose 0.6 percent in November after rising 0.2 percent in October.

Many small businesses are dependent on consumers, among them restaurants, retailers and service providers like hair salons. Consumers may feel like spending if the stock market extends its big 2017 advance; the Dow Jones industrial average rose 25 percent, giving many people with 401(k)s and other accounts a stronger sense of financial well-being.

Unpredictable events like blizzards and hurricanes can hurt spending, and slow the economy. But if consumers regain their confidence quickly, small businesses are likely to shrug off any dips.

Stephens Management Corporation

P.O. Box 17118

2040 E. Murray-Holladay Road, Suite 203

Holladay, UT  84117

Bus: 801-277-6222

Fax: 801-277-6233

Email: office@smctaxes.com