Your year-end tax planning doesn’t have to be hard. I have outlined below five strategies that will increase your tax deductions or reduce your taxable income so that Uncle Sam gets less of your 2018 cash.
1. Prepaying your 2019 expenses right now reduces your taxes this year, without question. While it’s true you kicked the can down the road some, perhaps you have an offset with a big deduction planned for next year. And even if you don’t have such a plan at the moment, you have plenty of time to create one or to put more big deductions in place for 2019.
2. The easiest year-end strategy of all is simply to stop billing your customers, clients, and patients. Once again, this kicks the can down the road some and makes your 2019 tax planning more important.
3. With 100 percent bonus depreciation and increased Section 179 expensing in 2018, you can make significant purchases of equipment, machinery, and furniture and write off 100 percent of the value. Make sure you place the assets in service on or before December 31, 2018, to get the deduction this year.
4. Charges to your credit cards can create deductions on the day of the charge. This is absolutely true if you are a sole proprietor or you operate as a corporation and the credit card is in the name of the corporation. But if you operate as a corporation and the credit card is in your personal name, your corporation needs to reimburse you before December 31 to create the 2018 deduction at the corporate level.
5. And finally, claim all your legitimate deductions. Don’t think you have too many, and don’t try to guess which of your too-many deductions could be a red flag. First, it’s unlikely you could have enough deductions to create a red flag. Second, no one knows what those red flags are. Third, if the deduction is legitimate, it doesn’t matter if the IRS audits it—you’ll win.
As you can see from the five strategies above, there’s much you can do to control your tax bite.