Gilmore Jasion Mahler Experts Explain New Tax Law

crowd of over 300 people at GJM tax education eventThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law on December 22, 2017 has businesses and individuals around the country trying to get a handle on how the new law affects them. Northwest Ohio is no exception. Many are looking for direction from Gilmore Jasion Mahler (GJM) tax experts. Should they change the classification of their business to take advantage of the new 21% corporate tax rate? How have business deductions changed? What does the new standard deduction mean for their families?

Hundreds turned out for GJM education sessions on the new tax law held in both Maumee and Findlay the first week of February. Tax partners Charlie Heid, CPA and Steve Schult, CPA presented on the big changes for individuals and businesses. Their presentations were followed by a GJM panel of tax experts who tackled some questions on the new tax law's impact.

The GJM panelists included: Tax Partners Dave Baymiller, CPA, Deanna Hall, CPA, Kathi Iott, CPA, Chuck Stumpp, CPA, and Jaimee Weaver, CPA. GJM Managing Partner Kevin Gilmore, CPA welcomed the attendees to the sessions.

“The law passed quickly, just before Christmas and people and businesses haven’t had much time to get a handle on its impact,” says Gilmore. “The new law is anything but tax simplification. We knew our education sessions would help people get a better grasp, but we’ve encouraged all of the attendees to reach out to their tax professionals to discuss their individual situations.”

Major changes for businesses within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act include:

-Corporate tax rate reduced to a flat 21%

-Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) repealed

-Pass-through businesses (businesses that pass their income through to the personal level for tax purposes): 20% deduction of income. Effective tax rate on qualified income will be reduced to 29.6%  

-Sec. 179 limit increased to $1M from $510,000 for property in service after 12/31/17.

-100% bonus depreciation for qualified property acquired and placed in service after 9/27/2017 and before 1/1/23.

-Limits on business interest deduction

-New restrictions on deduction of fringe benefit expenses:

  • Entertainment expenses are now nondeductible
  • Business meals remain deductible at 50%
  • Meals provided for the convenience of the employer are reduced to 50% deductible, but only through 2025

-NOLs (Net Operating Losses): 2-year carryback repealed, 20-year carry forward changed to indefinite, 80% taxable income limitation on usage

-Tax credits retained include:

  • Research and Development Tax Credit
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Among the changes for individuals under the new tax law:

-Standard deduction essentially doubled (through 12/31/25) to $24,000 (filing jointly) and $12,000 for individuals.

-Itemized deductions no longer allowed include:

  • Tax prep fees
  • Investment advisory fees
  • Unreimbursed employee business expenses

-Itemized deductions also impacted:

  • State and local taxes still deductible, but now limited to $10,000
  • Mortgage interest now deductible only on the first $750,000 in debt for primary or secondary homes

-Affordable Care Act individual mandate penalty eliminated

-Child tax credit increased to $2,000 for children under 17

-Alimony is not deductible or includable in income related to divorces after 12/31/18

-Estate Tax is not repealed

Dave Baymiller answers a panel questionMany of those attending the education sessions were looking for some clarity on the new rules for pass-through businesses. GJM Tax Partner Dave Baymiller says those pass-through businesses that qualify for the 20% deduction include:

  • Partners in partnerships/LLC’s
  • "S" corporation shareholders
  • Sole proprietors (reported on Schedule C)
  • Rental real estate (reported on Schedule E)

He says there are some limitations depending on your taxable income.

“The 20% deduction is limited based on taxable income level, amount of compensation paid by business and/or amount of business property owned,” says Baymiller. “The deduction limitations for what are called specified service businesses are much more severe.”

Baymiller says many businesses are also looking for clarification on what qualifies as a “specified service business”. He says they include:

  • Healthcare professionals (physicians, nurses, dentists)
  • Lawyers, accountants
  • Financial, brokerage, investing, and investment management services
  • Consultants
  • Any business where the principal asset of such business is the reputation or skill of one or more of its employees or owners (the IRS has not issued any guidance on how to interpret this)

If you're looking for more detail, Dave has written a more in depth article on the impact of tax reform on pass-through entities. GJM’s Tax team says many businesses are also trying to determine if they should consider converting from an "S" corporation to corporation (or "C" corp) to take advantage of the reduced corporate tax rate. An "S" corp is a pass-through business in which income "passes through" to the owner's personal tax return. A corporation or "C" corp would be subject to corporate taxation.

It sounds like a simple question, but the answer is anything but simple. Tax Partners Deanna Hall and Chuck Stumpp walked through an example for attendees of a business with a million dollars of taxable income that factored in:

  • Taxes paid at corporate level
  • Taxes paid at shareholder level
  • Taxes paid on cash withdrawn from the business (federal tax on "S" Corporation distributions or federal tax on corporate dividends)

“What we wanted to show is that every business is different,” says GJM Tax Partner Deanna Hall. “Depending upon a number of factors it could make sense for your business to incorporate to take advantage of the new low corporate tax rate, but it may not. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your tax advisor to come up with an individualized plan.”

Many attendees said they walked away with a much better idea of the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on their personal and business tax strategy. GJM presenters made it clear that every situation and every business is different, and stressed the importance of a one on one discussion with your tax professional. GJM tax experts are already having these important discussions with clients to ensure the smartest tax strategy for 2018. Learn more about GJM’s approach to tax strategy.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting services and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory and healthcare management. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

LinkedIn share
Twitter share
Navigation Opened. Press tab to navigate the menu.