10 Important Tax Numbers Every Business Owner Should Know to Save
Like my best clients, I pay close attention to my taxes. Why? Because for a business owner, taxes are usually one of our biggest expenses.
(This column originally appeared in Entrepreneur)
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I’m a certified public accountant but my firm doesn’t prepare tax returns. However, I’m also a business owner. This means, like my best clients, I pay close attention to my taxes. Why? Because for a business owner, taxes are usually one of our biggest expenses. If you’re running a business, these are 10 federal tax numbers that are very important for all of us in 2023.
This is the maximum amount of wages that can be taxed for social security (FICA) benefits at 6.2% (the 1.45% Medicare tax has no limit). Any wages paid over this amount are not subject to the FICA tax — employee or employer. This is important because if you raise an employee’s compensation above this amount, they’re receiving an added tax benefit which should be part of your salary considerations this year.
This is the amount you can contribute to an individual Roth IRA account. Roth IRAs often get ignored by my clients but they’re a fantastic way to put after-tax money away and watch it grow tax-free with no penalties or additional taxes on withdrawal. Because the stock market is down, I have a number of older clients taking distributions from their 401(k)s, paying the tax on a lower capital gain, and then transitioning those amounts to a Roth where the amounts are never taxed again. Everyone should be putting money into a Roth IRA.
This is an added “catch-up” contribution that can be made to your 401(k) account if you’re over the age of 50 — which means that more than half of business owners in the U.S. are probably eligible. There’s also a $1,000 catch-up for individual IRAs for people in this age group. Thanks to the recently passed Secure 2.0, the 401(k) catch-up amount is going to rise to as much as $10,000 annually for those between the ages of 60 and 63 starting in 2025 and will then be adjusted for inflation each year.
That’s the amount that can be contributed to a 401(k) plan this year which includes both employer and employee contributions and does not include any “catch-up” contributions. This amount is limited to your income and discrimination tests (see below).
That’s the amount of compensation that defines a “highly compensated employee.” This is important because the number of people you have in your 401(k) retirement plan that earns over this amount will figure into your plan’s year-end discrimination testing and that may limit the amount you — and they — can save. The takeaway: The more employees -particularly non-highly compensated employees — that contribute to your 401(k) plan, the more you can contribute.
That’s the IRS-reimbursable mileage rate for 2023 and it changes every year based on the fluctuating costs of operating a vehicle. This is important because you can reimburse your employee for any miles traveled above the commute to your office (for example to a customer) and you’ll get a tax deduction — and the amount won’t be taxable to them. This is potentially a great added benefit to provide for your staff, particularly in these times of high gas costs.
This is the amount you can pay your employees each month to reimburse for their commuting expenses. You’ll get a deduction and they won’t be taxed. If an employee drives to work, you can also pay them $300 to reimburse for their parking expenses with the same tax treatment. It’s another benefit to consider and could be a helpful enticement to get your people back into the office more often.
That’s the maximum Section 179 deduction you can take this year for the acquisition of capital assets. This applies to both new and used assets like capital equipment, machinery, furniture and most computer software. There are “bonus” depreciation deductions that your business can take in addition to the Section 179 amounts. You can even finance these purchases and get these deductions — just make sure they’re “in service” by year-end.
That’s the individual federal estate lifetime tax exemption which means that a married couple can leave more than $25 million of their assets upon their deaths tax-free to the beneficiaries. After that, most transfers of assets will be taxed at 40%. This exemption gets reduced to $7,000,000 individually in 2026.
This is the amount you can gift this year and the recipient won’t be taxed. This is in addition to the lifetime addition above and applies to anyone, not just family members.
You know what’s coming next, right? It’s the usual caveat where I write that your situation may be unique and you should always consult your tax professional before making any decisions based on the above numbers.