Monthly Archives: June 2018

Know the Tax Regulations for Reimbursing Employee Business Expenses

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Any employer reimbursing its employees for business-related expenses should consider whether the reimbursement arrangement meets the IRS’s requirements for an accountable plan. Having an accountable plan that meets tax law requirements can provide tax advantages.

Business Connection

Each expense reimbursed under an accountable plan must have a business connection. This means that the expense must be allowable as a deduction and paid or incurred by the employee while performing services as an employee.

Other Requirements

Employees must adequately account for their expenses and return any excess reimbursements or allowances within a reasonable period of time. The meaning of reasonable period of time depends on the facts and circumstances, but the IRS has provided several safe harbors.

Substantiation of an expense within 60 days after it is paid or incurred will be deemed reasonable, as will the return of an advance within 120 days. Alternatively, an employer may provide its employees with periodic statements (at least quarterly) that require them to either account for or return any advances within 120 days of the statement.

Tax Effects

Expense reimbursements made under an accountable plan that meets the requirements are not included in an employee’s wages and are not subject to federal income or employment taxes. This can be a tax saver for both the employer and the employee.

If no accountable plan is in place, amounts paid to the employee count as taxable wages. In the past, the employee could potentially deduct the expenses, but only if the employee itemizes deductions rather than claims the standard deduction. Under the new tax law, this deduction is no longer available–so the employee will include the reimbursement in income, but would not be entitled to a deduction.

Funding the Future with Your Business

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Your small business does many things. It supports the community by providing goods and services. It supports the local government by paying taxes and fees. And it supports your employees by providing their livelihoods.

Your business provides for you, too. But don’t count on this to continue. You need a plan for using your business to create personal wealth.

Fund a Retirement Plan

Contributing to a retirement plan is generally a great way to convert money from your business into a personal benefit. Over time, you may be able to accumulate a substantial amount, especially if you contribute the maximum amount. If you don’t have a retirement plan, your financial professional can give you information about the options best suited for small businesses.

Fund Your Exit Strategy

A potentially more lucrative way to convert business wealth into personal wealth is to sell your company. This is a big step and it could take longer than you think, so allow plenty of time. Make sure you have a business valuation done early in the process. That way, if the value isn’t as high as you want (need) it to be, you have time to make necessary changes.

If you don’t have a formal succession plan, create one. If you do have one, make sure it’s kept up to date. A succession plan shows potential buyers that you are committed to having the business survive without you. A buy-sell agreement is a popular way to provide for the transfer of a business. Such agreements are legal contracts that establish who can buy an interest in a company and under what conditions they may do so.

Fund Your Buy-Sell Agreement

Life insurance is a popular way to fund buy-sell agreements. If you’d like to learn more about the role insurance can play in your — and your company’s — future, call your financial professional.  Don’t have one?  We have recommendations.

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