New tax law primer for small business owners

By: 
ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK (AP) — 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.

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