Rolling with the Changes
By Daniel Eger and Cindy Gonzalez
Tax laws are like a constantly shifting landscape, subject to periodic changes that can significantly impact your financial bottom line. Whether you’re an individual taxpayer striving to maximize deductions or a business owner who wants to optimize your financial strategies, staying informed about the latest tax-law changes is paramount.
In this ever-evolving tax environment, we’ll explore the essential updates that individuals and businesses need to be aware of to navigate the new tax frontier effectively. We’ll dive into the critical modifications that may influence your financial planning and tax strategies in the coming year.
TAX-LAW CHANGES IMPACTING INDIVIDUALS
In 2023, several significant adjustments have been made to tax laws that individuals should be aware of. These changes encompass a wide range of topics, from energy credits to retirement contributions, interest rates, and tax brackets. Let’s delve into some of the key changes that may impact your financial planning.
Residential Energy Credits
For individuals looking to reduce their environmental footprint and lower their tax liabilities, residential energy credits are worth exploring. These credits aim to incentivize the adoption of clean and energy-efficient technologies in homes. A notable change for 2023 is the Clean Vehicle credits, which are now effective after April 18. These credits apply to new, used, or commercial vehicles, with qualifying requirements for sellers, dealers, and manufacturers.
Interest-rate Changes for Q4 Payments
Starting on Oct. 1, 2023, significant adjustments will be made to interest rates for tax payments. In cases of overpayments, where individuals have paid more than the amount owed, the interest rate will be set at 8%. In instances of underpayments, where taxes owed have not been fully paid, individuals will be subject to an 8% interest rate.
Contributions to Retirement Savings
In an effort to help individuals save for their retirement, the IRS has raised the contribution limits for 401(k) and IRA plans in 2023. If you contribute to a 401(k) or 403(b), you can now put in up to $22,500 a year, an increase from $20,500. Those age 50 or older can make an additional catch-up contribution of $7,500. Similarly, traditional and Roth IRA contributors can now contribute up to $6,500 (up from $6,000), with an extra $1,000 catch-up contribution available for those age 50 and older.
“Whether you’re an individual taxpayer striving to maximize deductions or a business owner who wants to optimize your financial strategies, staying informed about the latest tax-law changes is paramount.”
Enhanced IRA Contribution Limits
Traditionally, there have always been strict constraints on contributions to both traditional and Roth IRAs. For the majority of individuals, the contribution ceiling stood at $6,000. However, for those age 50 and above, there was the opportunity to contribute an additional $1,000 as catch-up contributions, bringing the total to $7,000.
The exciting news for 2023 is a boost in these limits by $500, allowing Americans to now contribute up to $6,500 to their IRA. For individuals age 50 and older, this figure escalates to $7,500.
Increased Contributions to Employer-sponsored Retirement Plans
Following a similar upward trajectory, the contribution limits for employer-sponsored retirement plans have also experienced a positive adjustment. In 2022, the threshold for employee contributions stood at $20,500. However, in 2023, this limit has risen by $2,000, providing a new maximum of $22,500. For those eligible for catch-up contributions, the prospects for bolstering retirement savings have become even more enticing, with an elevated contribution limit of $30,000.
It’s important to note that, if you participate in multiple workplace retirement plans, the limitations encompass all salary deferrals and total contributions across these plans. Contributions made to other types of accounts, such as an IRA, remain separate and do not impact these thresholds. These enhanced contribution limits offer individuals and employees greater flexibility and opportunities to secure their financial future.
Health Savings Account Contribution Limits
Health savings accounts (HSAs) have become increasingly popular for managing medical expenses and as an investment vehicle. In 2023, individuals will be allowed to contribute an additional $200 per year to their HSAs, raising the maximum contribution limit to $3,850. For families, the threshold for coverage will also increase by $450, reaching a maximum of $7,750 for the fiscal year. Keep in mind that you must meet the minimum deductibles to qualify for an HSA plan, which are $1,500 for individuals and $3,000 for families.
Tax Brackets for 2023
Lastly, it’s essential to be aware of the changes in tax brackets for 2023. While there are still seven tax rates ranging from 10% to 37%, the income thresholds for these brackets have been adjusted upward by about 7% from 2022. This adjustment reflects the impact of record-high inflation, potentially placing some individuals in a lower tax bracket than in previous years.
These changes underscore the importance of staying informed about tax-law updates to make informed financial decisions and optimize your tax-planning strategy. Be sure to consult with a tax professional or financial advisor to understand how these changes may affect your unique financial situation.
TAX-LAW CHANGES IMPACTING BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS REPORTING ON SCHEDULE C
In the dynamic landscape of tax laws, staying informed about changes that affect both businesses and individuals reporting their income and expenses on Schedule C is of paramount importance. In recent years, several noteworthy adjustments have been made, significantly impacting the way deductions are calculated, particularly for expenses like Section 179 deductions, bonus depreciation, and meals and entertainment. Here, we delve into these pivotal changes.
Section 179 Deduction Limits
One of the cornerstones of tax planning for businesses has been the Section 179 deduction. This deduction enables businesses to write off the cost of qualifying property and equipment in the year they are placed in service, rather than depreciating them over time.
In 2023, the Section 179 deduction limit has been raised to a generous $1,160,100 for property used 50% or more for business purposes. This marks an increase of $80,000 from the previous year. This change empowers businesses to invest in capital assets and equipment while enjoying substantial tax savings.
“While there are still seven tax rates ranging from 10% to 37%, the income thresholds for these brackets have been adjusted upward by about 7% from 2022. This adjustment reflects the impact of record-high inflation, potentially placing some individuals in a lower tax bracket than in previous years.”
The tax treatment of meals expenses has witnessed a notable transformation, with implications for businesses and individuals alike. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and 2022, the IRS allowed a temporary 100% deduction for such expenses to provide economic relief and support the struggling hospitality industry.
However, starting in 2023, there has been a shift in the deductibility of meal expenses. Any deductible meal is now subject to a 50% deduction under the guidelines outlined in Publication 463. This change underscores the need for businesses and individuals to carefully document and categorize their expenses and adhere to the new rules governing these deductions.
Starting on Oct. 1, 2023, significant adjustments will be made to interest rates for tax payments. Corporations will experience a slightly different rate structure than individuals. For overpayments exceeding $10,000, the interest rate on the excess amount will be reduced to 5.5%. In contrast, large corporate underpayments, representing taxes owed but not fully paid, will incur a higher 10% interest rate. These adjustments in interest rates aim to ensure fairness and compliance within the tax-payment system for both individuals and corporations.
Changes to Bonus Depreciation
The window of opportunity for fully benefiting from one of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s (TCJA) most significant provisions is closing rapidly. This provision allows for a 100% bonus depreciation on a broad range of assets categorized as ‘qualified property.’ Initially set to expire at the close of 2019, the TCJA extended these bonus depreciation rules for assets placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2023, increasing the deductible amount to 100%.
However, unless there are changes in the law, this bonus percentage is set to gradually decrease over the next few years, ultimately phasing out entirely (100% in 2022, 80% in 2023, 60% in 2024, 40% in 2025, 20% in 2026, and 0% in 2027).
The evolving landscape of tax laws necessitates vigilant awareness and proactive tax planning for businesses and individuals who report on Schedule C. The changes to Section 179 deductions, the phasing out of bonus depreciation, and the modifications to meals and entertainment deductions can have a significant impact on tax liabilities. As such, seeking guidance from tax professionals and staying informed about these changes is crucial for optimizing tax strategies and ensuring compliance with the latest IRS regulations.
This material is generic in nature. Before relying on the material in any important matter, users should note date of publication and carefully evaluate its accuracy, currency, completeness, and relevance for their purposes, and should obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.
Daniel Eger is a tax supervisor, and Cindy Gonzalez is an associate, at Holyoke-based accounting firm Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.