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CPA offers last-minute tax tips to business owners

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Like everyone else, small businesses are getting ready for the April 15 tax deadline. This year, they have a few extra breaks thanks to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was designed to spur innovation and support capital investment.

Under the act, which extended several tax incentives and credits, 97 percent of small businesses will not see their income taxes rise. And with 28 million small businesses in the United States, keeping them afloat is critical, said Laura Rosen, senior tax manager at Sobel & Co., LLC, a CPA firm in Livingston.

There are plenty of last-minute tips for small-business owners to take advantage of for the 2012 tax year. Businesses can deduct up to $500,000 of eligible equipment and software purchases made in 2012, up from a maximum of $139,000. Without the new law, the deduction would have gone down to $25,000.

The law also restores a deduction of up to $250,000 of qualified leasehold improvements to restaurant or retail properties, with a 15-year write-off available.

Employees can now receive tax-free parking allowances up to $240 a month, up from $125, for transit passes or van pooling.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit extends through 2013 the tax credits for employers who hire unemployed military veterans. The standard mileage rate for business use of an automobile was raised from 50.5 cents to 55.5 cents a mile, and the research and experimentation tax credit was extended through 2013.

“Certain companies employing engineers, who have outsourced product testing or are seeking to diversify their product line, may benefit from this,” Rosen said.

Self-employed business owners may contribute up to $50,000 to their retirement plan, up from $49,000.

“All of these changes are extremely beneficial to small businesses,” Rosen said. “They should plan for them and utilize these tax benefits throughout the year.”

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