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New Challenges for Business Owners

Posted September 26, 2012 in Advice Column, Pleasant Hill

As we enter the last quarter of the year, I have thought about all of the changes that are coming for business owners over the next few years.

As I contemplate the various regulatory changes on the horizon, it made me stop and consider, “How is a business owner to know what they should be looking for if they do not constantly keep up on the ever changing regulatory landscape?”

The 2010 Health Care Act alone imposes many new challenges for any business owner who is thinking about health insurance coverage for their employees: new tax credits which may assist the owner when paying and filing taxes, a new 3.8 percent tax on high income individuals, and many other restrictions and limitations pertaining to actual health coverage.

In addition, there are dozens of tax provisions that will expire at the end of 2012.  Items such as accelerated depreciation through “bonus” depreciation, increased capital gains rates and many others will catch many by surprise as they enter 2013 and not realize that the amount of tax they pay may increase substantially. Congress has been delinquent (a charitable description) in acting on so many things that affect business and individuals.

So how is a business owner supposed to keep up? One of the best ways to stay on top of the changes is to schedule a conference with the professionals who assist you at various points during the year. Your health insurance agent would be the first person to ask about upcoming changes to your health plan. Your CPA or tax advisor should be consulted regarding how the specific changes will affect your situation. Your attorney can also be a valuable source of information. There may be other professionals with whom you work, and each one should be able to assist with some of the answers. Every business is unique, and the impact of coming changes will be felt differently. It is important to plan ahead and minimize the impact of these changes on your business.

Many people choose not to talk to their advisors because they know there will be a fee for the time spent. What they do not understand is that paying an advisor a few hundred dollars for his or her time may result in thousands of dollars saved at tax time. For most business owners, taxes take 35 -50 percent of their profit.  Imagine if you could cut that percentage even a few points.

Take time to consider the future and develop a plan for success. Working on your business is different than working in your business.

Information provided by Tim Tarbell, CPA MBA, Tarbell & Company PLC, 2130 Grand Ave., Des Moines, 515-282-0200.

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