Only certain trusts can own S corporation stock
Business Ownership

S corporations must comply with several strict requirements or risk losing their tax-advantaged status. Among other things, they can have no more than 100 shareholders, can have no more than one class of stock and are permitted to have only certain types of shareholders.

In an estate planning context, it’s critical that any trusts that will receive S corporation stock through operation of your estate plan be eligible shareholders.

Which trusts are eligible?

Eligible trusts include:

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2 tax credits just for small businesses may reduce your 2017 and 2018 tax bills
Business Ownership


Tax credits reduce tax liability dollar-for-dollar, potentially making them more valuable than deductions, which reduce only the amount of income subject to tax. Maximizing available credits is especially important now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has reduced or eliminated some tax breaks for businesses. Two still-available tax credits are especially for small businesses that provide certain employee benefits.

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Your 2017 tax return may be your last chance to take the “manufacturers’ deduction”
Business Ownership


While many provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) will save businesses tax, the new law also reduces or eliminates some tax breaks for businesses. One break it eliminates is the Section 199 deduction, commonly referred to as the “manufacturers’ deduction.” When it’s available, this potentially valuable tax break can be claimed by many types of businesses beyond just manufacturing companies. Under the TCJA, 2017 is the last tax year noncorporate taxpayers can take the deduction (2018 for C corporation taxpayers).

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Be on alert for new tax scams


Be on alert for new tax scams. The IRS is warning about new ways thieves are stealing from taxpayers. In one scam, criminals pose as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS. They contact taxpayers to say refunds were deposited in their accounts in error. They ask the taxpayers to send the money back. In another scam, taxpayers receive automated calls saying erroneous refunds were deposited and threatening criminal charges and “blacklisting” of Social Security numbers if the money isn’t returned. Hang up on these types of calls immediately.

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Meals, entertainment and transportation may cost businesses more under the TCJA
Business Ownership


Along with tax rate reductions and a new deduction for pass-through qualified business income, the new tax law brings the reduction or elimination of tax deductions for certain business expenses. Two expense areas where the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changes the rules — and not to businesses’ benefit — are meals/entertainment and transportation. In effect, the reduced tax benefits will mean these expenses are more costly to a business’s bottom line.

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Don’t be a victim of tax identity theft: File your 2017 return early
Identity Theft

The IRS has just announced that it will begin accepting 2017 income tax returns on January 29. You may be more concerned about the April 17 filing deadline, or even the extended deadline of October 15 (if you file for an extension by April 17). After all, why go through the hassle of filing your return earlier than you have to?

But it can be a good idea to file as close to January 29 as possible: Doing so helps protect you from tax identity theft.

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2018 Withholding Tables must be updated by 2/15/18
Business Ownership


Employers and employees: Withholding tables reflecting Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changes are now available, and employees could see paycheck changes by February. The IRS has issued new income tax withholding tables for 2018 and advised employers to begin using them as soon as possible, but no later than Feb. 15. Find the IRS’s information release at http://bit.ly/2D2ihJn and the percentage method tables themselves in IRS Notice 1036 at http://bit.ly/1Ne91he Answers to frequently asked questions about using the new tables can be found at http://bit.ly/2D5iWJm

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New tax law gives pass-through businesses a valuable deduction
Business Ownership


Although the drop of the corporate tax rate from a top rate of 35% to a flat rate of 21% may be one of the most talked about provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), C corporations aren’t the only type of entity significantly benefiting from the new law. Owners of noncorporate “pass-through” entities may see some major — albeit temporary — relief in the form of a new deduction for a portion of qualified business income (QBI).

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Key provisions affecting estate planning

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) is a sweeping revision of the tax code that alters federal law affecting individuals, businesses and estates. Focusing specifically on estate tax law, the TCJA doesn’t repeal the federal gift and estate tax. It does, however, temporarily double the combined gift and estate tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption.

Beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026, the combined gift and estate tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption amounts double from an inflation-adjusted $5 million to $10 million. For 2018, the exemption amounts are expected to be $11.2 million ($22.4 million for married couples). Absent further congressional action, the exemptions will revert to their 2017 levels (adjusted for inflation) beginning January 1, 2026. The marginal tax rate for all three taxes remains at 40%.

Estate planning remains a necessity

Just because fewer families will have to worry about estate tax liability doesn’t mean the end of estate planning as we know it. Nontax issues that your plan should still take into account include asset protection, guardianship of minor children, family business succession and planning for loved ones with special needs, to name just a few.

In addition, it’s not clear how states will respond to the federal tax law changes. If you live in a state that imposes significant state estate taxes, many traditional estate-tax-reduction strategies will continue to be relevant.

Future estate tax law remains uncertain

It’s also important to keep in mind that the exemptions are scheduled to revert to their previous levels in 2026 — and there’s no guarantee that lawmakers in the future won’t reduce the exemption amounts even further. Contact us with questions on how the TCJA might affect your estate plan. We’ll be pleased to review your plan and recommend any necessary revisions in light of the TCJA.

© 2017

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Changes in Partnership Audit Rules

old cash register buttonsIf your business files a Partnership Form 1065 return or you have an interest in a partnership, you need to be aware of changes in the IRS audit rules which will have a significant impact on partnerships. These changes also affect LLCs filing partnership returns.

Some small partnerships/LLCs may be able to elect out of the new rules. The election requires the partnership/LLC to have no more than 100 partners/members. The owners must generally be: Individuals, C or S corporations, or the Estate of a deceased partner/member. It is unclear whether a Single-Member LLC is a qualified owner. An annual election is required for this option in addition to other disclosure requirements.

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Hancock & Dana, PC
Certified Public Accountants and Business Consultants
12829 West Dodge Road, Suite 100
Omaha, NE 68154

Phone: 402.391.1065
Fax: 402.334.9498

Email: info@hancockdana.com