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San Jose business tax attorney for successor liabilityMaking the decision to purchase an existing business can be an exciting and lucrative endeavor. Owning your own business allows you to have a great deal of independence and direction over how the business is run. Being your own boss and watching a business grow and develop can be especially rewarding. Of course, buying a business is not without risk. One of these risks is successor liability for any debts owed by the business, including tax debts.

Stock Purchase Versus Asset Purchase

When you buy an existing business, you have two options: an asset purchase or a stock purchase agreement. A stock purchase allows you to buy most of the seller’s shares, or in the case of an LLC purchase, the membership units. However, assets such as equipment and inventory are still owned by the entity. If you acquire a business through a stock purchase, you will most likely assume all of that company’s liabilities.

In an asset purchase agreement, you purchase the business’s assets, and the seller retains ownership of the actual business. In most asset purchases, the assets are transferred to the new owner without liabilities, but there can be exceptions. Most people buying an existing business choose to undergo an asset purchase transaction to avoid assuming debts accumulated by the previous owner. A qualified attorney can help you decide what type of business purchase agreement is right for you.

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San Jose business tax deduction attorneyHistorically, business owners have been able to utilize tax deductions based on the cost of assets bought for business use and the depreciation of those assets. However, the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) modified the rules regarding the deduction of expenses under Section 179(a) and the deduction of depreciation under Section 168(g). These changes affect business taxes filed for years 2018 and beyond.

Section 179(a): Business Asset Deductions

This law permits businesses to deduct the purchase price of certain assets as an expense for the year the business begins to use the property. The recent updates to the law raised the maximum expense deduction to $1 million (up from $500,000). The updated law also raised the phase-out limit to $2.5 million (up from $2 million).

This deduction is available for tangible property like tools and technology used in business. The deduction is also available for qualified real property. Under the TCJA, qualified real property includes qualified improvement property, as well as certain types of improvements to nonresidential property, which includes: 

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San Jose business tax form lawyerAn IRS deadline for business owners is fast approaching. January 31, 2019 is the date by which employers and businesses must submit wage statement forms and independent contractor forms. 

These requirements were outlined in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, which made it compulsory for businesses to submit duplicates of Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) and Form W-3 (Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements) to the Social Security Administration by the end of January of each year. In addition, certain Forms 1099-MISC (Miscellaneous Income) must be filed by this date with the IRS to report payments made to independent contractors. 

There are penalties for businesses that do not comply with this deadline. 

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employee classification, independent contractors, San Jose business tax lawyer, gig economy, payroll taxesIn today’s economy, millions of people across the United States act as freelance workers, either as a primary job or as a way to supplement income. The digital tools available to companies and workers in the gig economy allow many people to earn an income by transporting passengers, renting property to travelers, or performing a variety of other tasks. 

While many people and companies have benefited from the sharing economy, the increased prevalence of this type of labor has raised a variety of legal issues as employees seek to receive fair compensation and government entities ensure that taxes are applied correctly.

A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court will have a significant impact on gig economy workers and employers, affecting issues such as employee classification and taxes.

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San Jose business tax lawyer, small businesses, tax cuts and jobs act, tax deductions, pass-through incomeThe United States Congress passed a major tax reform bill in December 2017, and lawmakers stated that one of their top priorities was to help grow the country’s economy by alleviating the tax burden on small businesses. While the full effect of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has yet to be felt, the reform bill contained a number of provisions that will affect the taxes which small businesses pay. Therefore, small business owners should take steps to understand how to make the most of these changes.

Tax Deductions for Pass-Through Businesses

Pass-through companies, in which income is taxed at the rate of the individual business owner rather than through the corporate tax structure, account for 95 percent of businesses in the United States and include sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations. Under the new tax law, pass-through businesses can take a 20 percent deduction on their taxable income, providing them with some financial relief and allowing them to reinvest these tax savings to grow their business. The deduction is subject to several limitations based on the type of business, its financial condition, and the taxpayer’s income.

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