By now you’ve probably heard about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, President Trump’s major corporate tax bill. Known commonly as the TCJA, this law has already had far-reaching effects around the nation. But nowhere has its impact been felt more strongly than in the business sector. In fact, many industries will experience double-digit reductions in their tax liabilities under this new law (source: Ernst & Young).
If you’re wondering how the TCJA can help serve your company’s bottom line, you might find that major savings can come from an unexpected place—software that you buy and use to run your business. The TCJA has expanded companies’ ability to deduct the costs of buying, renting, and financing software more than ever before.
For more details about how much you can claim in deductions for business equipment and software, see the [first article in our series.] For now, here are four steps you can use to take advantage of software deductions for your business:
- Find out which software is eligible for deductions. The first thing you’ll want to do is learn exactly which types of software do and do not qualify for deductions under the TCJA. There is a specific list of parameters set forward by the IRS that determine eligibility.
- The software has to be used by your business for the purpose of producing revenue, either directly or indirectly.
- The software must have a lifespan of ‘usefulness’ that can be clearly determined (This essentially means that the effectiveness of the software for your business must be clear.)
- The software must be expected to be functional for at least one year or more.
- The software can’t be totally custom to your business—it must be available to the general public at large for purchase and not heavily modified for your company’s use.
- The software can’t be purchased on an exclusive license. That means it’s not only your software, but can be used by others with their own licenses.
This might seem like a lot of strict parameters, but the good news is that most software qualifies under all of these stipulations. As long as software is available to the public and used by your business for a clear income-generating purpose, you’ll generally qualify for the deduction.
- Learn how section 179 works and what it means. We discussed Section 179 in the [first post of this series]. It’s the section of IRS tax code that applies specifically to which equipment and software purchases can be deducted and for how much.
Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the deduction limit for 2019 has increased to $1,000,000 with a spending cap on equipment purchases set at $2,500,000. You can also temporarily deduct 100% of depreciation costs for 2019, though this number will decrease in the coming years.
- Consider financing your software purchases. The TCJA’s new rules allow businesses to deduct the full cost of equipment and software purchases made by a business in the year those purchases are made. Amazingly, that also applies to financed purchases.
What does that mean for you and your business? It means that financing software can actually increase your cash for the fiscal year. If you were to finance $100,000 in software in 2019, but only make $5,000 in payments over the course of the year, you’d still be able to claim a deduction of $100,000, resulting in savings of tens of thousands of dollars.
- Ensure your software purchases qualify. If you’re planning on taking advantage of the tax benefits of financing software for 2019, it’s important to make sure your purchases qualify. The IRS treats software much in the same way it treats all business equipment purchases. That means that to qualify, the software must be purchased and put into use in the same year that it’s being claimed.
The software must also be genuinely new to your company, and it can’t have been bought from an entity that has any direct connection to your own.
Software is an essential aspect of nearly every modern business and industry. And now, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, buying or financing computer software is a smart financial move in its own right. If your business is in need of vital software, there’s never been a better time.
If you’d like to learn more about financing software for your business, contact Dimension Funding today.