Taxes, trade and tariffs translate to trouble

One of the top five concerns noted in Vistage’s recent report Decision Factors H2 2018, is taxes, trade and tariffs.

The new tax law has created as much uncertainty as opportunity for SMBs. Certain changes — such as the revised Section 179 deduction and 20% pass-through income deduction — are expected to benefit many companies. However, other revisions to the tax law — such as limitations to net business loss deductions — may create new costs. At the same time, new trade policies and tariffs (e.g., steel and aluminum tariffs) are driving up material costs and heightening financial risks for businesses.

Joe Gavin, Vistage chief research officer, offers these suggestions:

Hire a CPA you can trust – Your accountant should be willing to sit down with you and explain how they’re planning to calculate your income as a result of the tax law. For example, a great CPA will show you what your taxable income looks like under the old rules compared to the new rules and walk you through multiple options for filing. Your accountant should also ensure that your business is taking full advantage of the new tax rules while mitigating new risks.

Take a critical eye to your supply chain – Mark Emmer, business strategist, sees the new tariffs as a “wake-up call” for many businesses. “Companies need to carefully consider what concentration risk they have in their supply chain,” says Emmer, “and perhaps think about alternatives or contingencies with suppliers in other regions.”

Educate yourself – As a starting point, download  Top 8 things small and midsize businesses need to know about tax reform.

Consider trade risks when making decisions – If you’re in manufacturing or do anything that involves any international partners, you have to understand what the risks are and factor them into your decisions — knowing that this could swing 100 points in either direction. It is a factor to consider for the first time in decades.

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