Now that the April 18 income tax filing deadline has passed, it may be tempting to set aside any thought of taxes until year end is approaching. But don’t succumb. For maximum tax savings, now is the time to start tax planning for 2016.
A tremendous number of variables affect your overall tax liability for the year. Starting to look at these variables early in the year can give you more opportunities to reduce your 2016 tax bill.
For example, the timing of income and deductible expenses can affect both the rate you pay and when you pay. By regularly reviewing your year-to-date income, expenses and potential tax, you may be able to time income and expenses in a way that reduces, or at least defers, your tax liability.
In other words, tax planning shouldn’t be just a year-end activity.
In recent years, planning early has been a challenge because there were a lot of expired tax breaks where it was uncertain whether they’d be extended for the year. However, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) extended a wide variety of tax breaks through 2016, or, in some cases, later. It also made many breaks permanent.
For example, the legislation passed in December 2015 made the popular research tax credit permanent and has been welcomed by many business taxpayers. The PATH Act also included additional unexpected taxpayer-friendly bonuses: beginning in 2016, eligible small businesses (i.e., those with $50 million or less in gross receipts) may claim the credit against alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability, and the credit can be used by certain even smaller “start-up” businesses against the employer’s Social Security portion of the employer’s payroll tax (i.e., FICA) liability.
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