Small Business and Tax Policy

For small businesses, two topics are consistently near and dear to our hearts in presidential elections: taxes and health care costs. 

There’s been heated debate on the issues during this election (and most for that matter).  And while I’m no political expert, I’m confident our new president will push for changes that affect the small business community – both good and bad.

To help sort through negative ads, debate & media circuses, and smear campaigns, I’ve compiled the remaining candidates’ positions on taxes and health care.

 

The Candidates

I’ve sorted them by where each falls on the political spectrum with regard to their tax policies.  We’ll start with most conservative, and work our way toward the most liberal.

 

Ted Cruz

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Personal Taxes

Ted Cruz has notably emerged as a proponent for a flat tax.  Cruz wants to tax all personal income and wages at 10%, and eliminate the estate tax and alternative minimum tax entirely.

Corporate Taxes

On the theme of a flat tax, Cruz wants to replace the payroll and corporate income taxes with a 16% flat business tax.  He also wants to eliminate tax on business profits earned abroad.

Cruz’s position is the most radical of the republican candidates, but the camp still claims that social security and medicare would remain fully funded after implementing his measures.

Interestingly the Tax Foundation, which is a group that supports lower tax rates, claims that Cruz’s plan would increase the federal deficit by up to $3.6 trillion over the next 10 years.  With potential economic growth, that number decreases to $768 billion.

Cruz has also been outspoken against the IRS, and wants to relegate tax collection and enforcement to another arm of the treasury.  He’s been critical of the IRS since their targeting scandal, and believes they should be made irrelevant through his tax plan.

Healthcare

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How to Calculate Solo 401k Contribution Limits

How To Calculate Solo 401k Contribution Limits

Whatever you want to call it: solo 401k, solo-k, uni-k, or one-participant-k,  the retirement plan is one of my very favorite for small business owners.  Solo 401k plans are easy to set up, low cost, and easy to maintain.  But despite the benefits, solo 401k contribution limits and the plan’s other intricacies can be murky.

 

When Can You Contribute To A Solo-401(k)?

 

The solo 401(k) is just what the name implies – a 401(k) plan for business owners without employees.

While most often utilized by sole proprietors and single member LLCs, solo 401(k)s can also be used in partnerships, multi member LLCs, S-corporations, and C-corporations as long as there are no qualifying employees.

Basically, you can make contributions in any year that you report income from self-employment on your tax return.  This can come in several forms:

  • Schedule C income from a sole proprietorship or single member LLC
  • W-2 compensation from an S-Corp or C-Corp
  • K-1 income attributable to self employment earnings, from a partnership or multi member LLC

 

Solo = No Eligible Employees

 

Not only must you have self employment income, but you can’t have any eligible employees.  This is where many business owners get tripped up, because the definition of an eligible employee can seem a bit murky.

Basically, the solo 401(k) is not much different than the traditional 401(k).  Solo 401(k) plans must have a plan document that describes how the plan is to be operated, just like traditional 401(k) plans.  Additionally, all 401(k) plans must be fair & equitable to all participants, and not discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees (or against non-highly compensated employees).

Solo 401(k) plans are no different.  They all have plan documents that must be followed, but since there are no other participants in a solo 401(k), there is no one to discriminate against.

From an administration standpoint this is great for business owners. Making sure that a traditional 401(k) is compliant requires non-discrimination testing each and every year, which can be onerous and expensive.  No employees = no testing required.
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