Assumptions abound. Planning for retirement has more what-ifs than you can shake a fist at. If you begin your wealth building journey as assets bounce from a low, advancing for years, you have an advantage.
Numerous benefits available tax-free to employees do not apply to 2% shareholders of an S corporation. With the C corporation tax rate at a low 21% and dividends likely qualified (taxed on the personal return at the long-term capital gains (LTCG) rate), double taxes may no longer be the issue it once was.
For some individuals, the LTCG tax rate can be 0%. This stops double taxation of dividends in its tracks. Even if dividends are taxed it is at the lower LTCG rate rather than at ordinary income rates. The top LTCG rate is currently 20%, however, there is a small (on percentage terms) additional tax on higher incomes that could push the effective LTCG rate to 23.9%.
But the benefits are the real prize. How many fringe benefits you give the owners will determine if the C corporation is better for you. Some of these benefits are massive, allowing for 5-figure deductions. Something you can’t do with an S corporation.
Let’s use The Sanders plan because it illustrates the negative consequences easier. An 8% wealth tax would be paid by those with say $50 million or more in net worth. You can go to a billion net worth if you want; the problem is the same.
The assumption of a wealth tax is that rich people only do stupid or irritating stuff with their money and don’t deserve it. I mean, thing about it. Elon Musk is building new businesses and technologies with his billions. How rude. Those created jobs are not worth it if we as a society must look at a billionaire like Musk.
Yes, I’m being facetious. That is the point. How can Musk create the technologies of tomorrow that will benefit the nation and environment, create jobs, and provide better products without the resources to do so? I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but it takes serious cash to start an electric car company, solar company and a space travel company. Without the super rich these dreams would go unfilled along with all the jobs.
Commingling of funds (mixing business and personal funds) is one of the riskiest things you can do, causing serious legal and tax problems.
The issue is less acute from a legal standpoint if you are a non-LLC sole proprietor. There are still plenty of tax issues, however.
LLCs and corporations are at extraordinary risk when funds are commingled. Treating your business as a personal fiefdom instead of a separate entity—which it is—can cause serious legal and tax issues down the road. We will deal with both issues in this post.
Traditional retirement plan contributions come with a loan attached to it with a variable rate of interest, to be determined at a later date by the tax code and your income level.
We all know that traditional retirement accounts get a tax deduction at your ordinary tax rate to the retirement plan contribution limits. We should also know that these account grow tax-deferred and that all distributions are taxed at ordinary rates.
This is a real problem if your goal is to maximize your net worth. In the early years the tax benefit makes it seem like it is the best deal on the planet. But as time passes the math tells a darker tale.
There are no drawbacks to separating the real estate and business into separate LLCs that I’m aware of. Every attorney I’ve ever spoken with agrees on this. Real estate should never be held inside an S corporation or LLC treated as such. Any tax negatives are easily resolved with elections.
The issues involved with combining real estate and a business under an S corporation are many. Legally you limit your option and put asserts unnecessarily at risk. The tax problems are hard or impossible to resolve without inflicting additional tax pain.
Structured properly your business and assets can enjoy legal protections while basking in the light of lower taxes.
What is the largest expense you’ll have in your life?
Some will say it’s the purchase of their home or their college education. Others, thinking about it a while, feel transportation expenses lead the list of lifetime expenses. You would be justified in thinking medical costs, including medical insurance, are the biggest expense you will face in life.
Yet none of these expenses are close to what you will pay in taxes over a lifetime.
Taxes will consume over half of what the average American earns over a lifetime. This means no other expense can possibly be larger.
The list of taxes in nearly inexhaustible: federal income taxes, state income taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes and now tariffs are being added to the costs of many goods you buy.
The concept is rather simple. The benefits are fairly small, but worth it if your situation dictates. Those facing large RMDs and those seeking to turn a small portion of their tax-deferred tIRA into tax-free growth in an HSA will find the most value.
Now I need to make a confession. When I first saw the question in the private Facebook group I thought the person posting was smoking something. I never heard of such a tax strategy (or it went in this ear and out the other.) I had to look it up to believe.
If you plan on using this strategy don’t get mad at your tax professional if they never heard of this. Just tell them to go to their software’s Special Situations tab on the 1099-R screen. All they need to do is add one simple number (the amount transferred to the HSA up to the contribution limit).