While the exact schedule of your business tax planning reviews may often depend on the exact nature of your business, I want to point out in this article certain events which should trigger a review of your tax strategies by a Minnesota business tax lawyer.
A. Business Formation
A review of your business tax strategies should be scheduled during business formation or at least within several months of your company’s existence. Unfortunately, a lot of business owners neglect obtaining the advice of a business tax attorney during the first year of the existence of their businesses. The anxiety over what the future might bring and the desire to cut costs are usually proffered as the explanation of this tendency.
Yet, this is a mistaken view. In reality, it often leads to a completely opposite result: more money is being spent inefficiently, higher tax costs are incurred, and there is a higher likelihood of creating huge legal and tax liabilities down the road. A company may even go out of business due to its neglect of legal and tax planning.
One of the main functions of a business tax lawyer is to structure business transactions in such a way as to fully comply with U.S. tax laws (and the laws of other relevant tax jurisdictions where appropriate) while making sure that full advantage is taken of these laws to reduce and even eliminate business tax waste. For example, where appropriate, a business tax attorney may advise to hasten a purchase order in order to reduce tax liability in this tax year. If the purchase is being made in a foreign country, this business tax lawyer may advise that the contract is signed in that foreign country in order to offset foreign income that the company received from the sales of its product in that country. This may further favorably impact the situation with respect to the foreign tax credit.
B. One Month Prior to the End of a Fiscal Year
The next tax planning session should be scheduled about a month prior to the end of each fiscal year. By this time, sufficient economic data about the performance of the business should be collected by the company’s accountant. This will allow your business tax lawyer to review the assumptions about income and expenses that were made at the beginning of the fiscal year. Based on this review, the business tax attorney may revise the tax planning strategies and give advice on what to do during this last month of the fiscal year to make sure that full advantage is taken of the Internal Revenue Code provisions.
C. Business Tax Filing
In order to maximize its benefits, business tax filing should consist of three steps. First, the accountant prepares a tax return for the business. If you use your tax attorney to prepare the tax return, then you can skip this step. Second, prior to filing the tax return, submit it for a review to your business tax lawyer. Following this step may bring two important benefits: a.) you get a “second opinion” on the tax return, and b.) the tax lawyer may modify the tax return in order to harmonize it with the rest of the business and tax planning strategies (which may sacrifice short-term benefits in order to achieve your company’s long-term business goals or reduce overall long-term tax liability). Finally, the third step is to use the already filed tax return in conjunction with the economic analysis and projections for the next fiscal year in order to formulate a new business tax plan. This new tax plan will later be reviewed at the end of the year as indicated in Section “B” above.
Thus, in reality, your business tax planning strategies should be reviewed at least twice a year by your tax attorney: while filing the tax return and at the end of the year. This holds true unless there is a material change of your company’s circumstances.
D. Material Change of Circumstances
Every time an event occurs that may materially modify the tax situation of your business, it is necessary to immediately contact your business tax lawyer to review the tax situation and tax strategies of the business. Moreover, it is important to remember that such situations are likely to give rise to additional tax compliance and legal liability issues which may be identified only by a tax professional.
Business tax planning should become a natural and routine practice of your overall business planning. In the long run, the benefits of tax planning are likely to far outweigh whatever immediate legal expenses your business may incur, not to mention the protection it offers against future legal liability. At the very least, two reviews of your business tax strategies should be scheduled during a fiscal year: when you file your business taxes and about a month before the end of the year. If an event occurs that may materially change the tax situation of your company, then an emergency tax and legal liability session with your business tax lawyer should be scheduled.
Sherayzen Law Office can help you throughout this process. We can help you properly analyze your business tax situation, identify the problems and opportunities, and adopt the right business and tax strategies to take full advantage of the U.S. tax laws while reducing potential future liabilities.
Call to discuss your tax situation with Mr. Sherayzen an experienced business tax lawyer!