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How to Proactively Seek Business Tax Credits

Tax advisor going through tax credit application with client

Spring is a time of year that correlates with many things: new beginnings, warmer temperatures, basketball tournaments and, of course, taxes. If you’re like many Americans, you’re trying to set aside time to take care of your tax filing before the April 15 deadline. But for businesses, tax season can be a year-round occurrence, as there are multiple filing deadlines they may need to adhere to.

Because of the complexity and frequency of tax filing, taxes are often a pain point for many businesses. However, with an optimized tax strategy that takes full advantage of tax credits, businesses can help minimize their tax liabilities and maximize their savings.

There are numerous business tax credits and incentives available at the state and local levels, but many businesses don’t utilize them because they aren’t aware of the eligibility requirements or don’t think they have the time to navigate the application process.

Although incorporating tax credits and incentives into your tax strategy may seem like a heavy lift, with the right planning and the help of a professional, it doesn’t have to be. Following are a few ways you can proactively seek out and apply for business tax credits.

Be Curious and Stay Informed

Before you can understand your tax credit eligibility, you need to know the options out there. A simple web search can accomplish this task, as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and your state’s department of revenue provide a list of available credits on their websites. These lists will include more information about eligibility requirements, filing deadlines, the forms needed to apply, etc. Tax credit options vary depending on a variety of factors, such as business size, industry, location, entity structure and more, but here are several common types of tax credits:

  • Investment credits 
  • Employment credits 
  • Sales/use tax refunds 
  • Contractor tax refunds 
  • Property tax abatements 
  • Forgivable loans or low-interest loans 
  • Job training funds 
  • Clean energy tax credits
  • Research and development (R&D) credits

It’s also important to stay current on the latest tax legislation that may impact your business. Tax laws are constantly changing, and with new laws can come new credit opportunities or credit expirations, in which case you need to be able to adjust your tax plan accordingly.

Routinely Review Business Plans

Most tax credits can’t be retroactively applied, so they require planning ahead. To help qualify for tax credits, you need to regularly review your business plans and determine where credit opportunities may align. When our team discusses tax credit eligibility with clients, we use the following guiding questions to help determine whether credit opportunities may be available:

  • Do you have capital expenditures planned over the next two to three years? Are you planning any new equipment purchases? Are you considering new building renovations or expansions?
  • What are your hiring plans or forecasts over the next two to three years?
  • Do you have locations in other states? What are your capital expenditures and hiring plans for those locations?
  • Do you have any training planned for new or existing employees?
  • Does your company do research and development (R&D)? If so, what are your plans related to R&D work over the next two to three years?

If any of the above questions apply to your business, there may be tax incentives on the table to help fund future projects and further help your business achieve its goals. If the questions don’t apply, consider using your next strategy planning session to decide if any of these projects may make sense for your business down the road.

Consult With an Advisor

With all the variability surrounding tax credits and incentives, it can be challenging to know what next steps your business should take. You may want to consider working with an advisor who can evaluate your business’s structure and future plans and provide clarity on which incentives you qualify for. Collaborating with a tax advisor can take the guesswork out of applying for various credits and hoping one sticks. Instead, you can feel confident that your advisor is helping you maximize the eligible tax credits available to your business.

Creative Planning Business Services helps clients identify tax incentive opportunities as one of our tax service offerings. We’ll help you optimize your tax planning strategy and perform the tax compliance work so that you can focus on other pertinent business needs. If you’re curious about utilizing tax incentives as part of your business’s tax strategy, we’d be happy to assist you. Schedule a meeting today so that we can learn more about your business.

This commentary is provided for general information purposes only, should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Past performance of any market results is no assurance of future performance. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.


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