April 9, 2021

If you own a small business, you are entitled to claim tax credits that will help reduce the total amount of taxes you may owe to the government.

Tax season for small businesses can be a confusing time for many business owners, especially if they do not know what they qualify for. Optima Tax Relief helps break down everything small businesses need to know when it comes to filing their taxes or seeking tax relief.

How much Tax does a Small Business pay?

Taxes can be complicated, which is why many small businesses struggle come tax time to understand why they have a tax liability. Some business owners may not even know the corporate income tax rate or what tax cuts they may be eligible for. In addition to income taxes, businesses are also responsible for paying their payroll taxes, unemployment taxes and many others.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses are expected to pay an average of 19.8% in taxes based on the type of small business they have. Small businesses with one owner can expect to pay a 13.3% tax rate on average while small businesses with more than one owner will pay an average of 23.6%. Small business corporations, such as small S corporations, will pay an average of 26.9%.

Small Business or Self Employed?

The terms “small business” and “independent contractor” are both commonly used to define a self-employed individual. These two terms are often confused with each other; here is how to tell the differences.

A small business ownership is defined by having others who work for you either as independent contractors or employees. If your business does have employees, you oversee their taxes and are responsible for obtaining Workers’ Compensation Insurance in order to meet your state’s requirements.

Self-employed individuals are responsible for filing a self-employed tax return and paying quarterly estimated taxes if they are expected to owe at the end of the tax year. Self-employment taxes are made up of Social Security and Medicare taxes that are typically withheld from a full-time employee’s paycheck. As a self-employed worker, you can claim a deduction for the equivalent of your employer’s portion of your Social Security and Medicare taxes through Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ. 

Savvy self-employed workers might file their taxes quarterly to avoid penalties and a larger tax bill at the end of the year. For those who are in a self-employed partnership, taxes are typically paid by each member of the partnership based on their income or losses.

If you own a business or are self-employed, you can reach out to a licensed bookkeeper or accountant for guidance to get the most out of filing your taxes and to avoid ending up with a potentially avoidable large tax bill.

Top Small Business Tax Deductions

  • Advertising and promotion costs are considered miscellaneous expenses and if they are ordinary and reasonable, they can be deducted on a small business tax return.
  • Business meals can be deducted both individually and in groups with some limitations.
  • Business insurance expenses can generally be deducted for the ordinary and necessary cost of insurance if it is for your trade, business, or profession.
  • Bank fees can be deducted and any additional charges for a business bank account and credit card.
  • Car or Truck Expenses can be deducted if you own a business or are self-employed and use your vehicle for business-related purposes.
  • Depreciation can be deducted in order to reduce the value of an asset over time due to its age, wear and tear, or decay.
  • Education can be deducted if it maintains or improves skills required for your current job. Tuitions, books, supplies, lab fees, and similar items can also be deducted.
  • Employee Benefit Programs and Qualified Retirement Plans can mostly be deducted but are subject to limits on contributions that are to a retirement plan.
  • Home office expenses can be deducted if you use your residence regularly and exclusively as a principal place of business or a place to meet customer or clients.
  • Interest can be deducted on a business loans and credit as long as you are using your loaned funds for business purposes.
  • Legal and tax professional fees that are related to running your business are considered deductible. This includes fees charged by lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, tax preparers and online bookkeeping services.
  • Moving expenses directly related to the moving of business equipment, supplies, and inventory from one business location to another can be deductible.
  • Rent expenses can be deducted if the rent expense is for property solely used for business.
  • Salaries and benefits paid to an employee are tax-deductible expenses if they are deemed to be ordinary and necessary.
  • Supplies and technology for the offices such as printers, paper, pens, computers, and work-related software programs can be deducted to make it easier for entrepreneurs and small business owners to operate through Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ.
  • Travel expenses such as the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking fees can be deducted for your vehicle. Lodging and non-entertainment-related meals can also be considered deductible.
  • Utilities such as real estate taxes, repairs, maintenance, and other related business expenses can be deducted.

How do LLCs Avoid Taxes?

Having a limited liability company, otherwise known as an LLC, is a legal entity that allows individuals to own and operate a business. LLCs are popular because they offer the same limited liability as a corporation but are much simpler and less expensive to run.

An LLC provides income tax flexibility compared to a sole proprietorship, partnership, and many other popular forms of business organizations. The taxation of an LLC is defined as a pass-through. This means that LLC’s earnings can be passed straight through to the owner or owners without having to pay corporate federal income taxes first.

The IRS also allows an LLC to determine which way their business will be taxes. Owners can choose to be taxed as a sole proprietor, a partnership, an S corporation, or a C corporation.

How can a Small Business Avoid Paying Taxes?

Here are six ways to reduce your taxable income on your small business:

  1. Employ a family member. The IRS allows a variety of options when deciding whether or not you want to employ a family member, all with the potential benefit of sheltering income from taxes. For example, if you have a sole proprietorship, you do not need to pay social security, Medicare and Federal Unemployment Tax if you are employing your children.
  2. Start a retirement plan. If you own your business, then you give up the 401(k) match that is matched by an employer. However, as a small business owner there are multiple retirement account options that can maximize retirement saving and allow you an individual to rake in the benefits.
  3. Change your business structure. Small business owners should consider a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Small business owners may be able to eliminate or decrease the employer-half of taxes for Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  4. Deduct travel expenses and capital expenditures. Costs for equipment to maintain your operations can be substantial, whether your business requires heavy equipment for its daily operations or you’re a road warrior with a laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Section 179 Deductions (personal property that is put into service) and Bonus Depreciation Deductions (qualified property, which includes furnishings, machinery, computers, software bought off the shelf, or land improvements) allow for upfront deductions. You may be able to reduce your taxes if your job requires that you travel a lot. Although business travel is deductible, it is important to keep in mind that personal travel cannot be added to your business tax return.
  5. Save money for healthcare. The best way to reduce small business taxes is to put aside money for healthcare needs. Small business owners can accomplish this by using a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you have an eligible high-deductible health plan. For self-employed individuals without health coverage, you can face much bigger penalties, as much as $695 per adult. If you are uninsured, look into obtaining a qualified coverage to avoid penalties.
  6. Claim tax deductions on losses. Deadbeat customers and thieves can wreak havoc on your bottom line. As a silver lining to what are often very dark clouds, the IRS allows self-employed workers and small business owners to write off bad debts, theft, and other qualified losses. If you had a bad year and suffered a net loss, you may be able to leverage the loss to offset income and revenue, thereby lowering your overall tax bill. Consult with a tax professional to properly claim tax deductions from losses.

Hire a Tax Professional from Optima Tax Relief

Optima Tax Relief is a tax resolution firm with more than 25 years of experience that specializes in providing tax relief to individuals and small business owners that are struggling with IRS or State tax issues. Small businesses that need assistance with filing their taxes or getting out of collections should consider using Optima’s services to get compliant with the IRS.