Inflation and Your Taxes: Essential Planning Strategies for a Shifting Economy

According to studies, we are experiencing the most acute inflation in 40 years. As inflation rates escalate, it becomes more vital to understand and adjust to the tax implications that arise. To aid individuals and companies in accomplishing this, Jonathan Bander, a renowned corporate accounting and taxation expert at ExperityCPA, offers his seasoned perspective on effectively managing these financial challenges. His expertise is especially relevant for those looking to stay ahead in a rapidly changing economic climate.

The Impact of Inflation on Taxes

Inflation’s reach extends beyond just the consumer market; it significantly impacts personal and corporate taxation. Jonathan Bander, a tax professional, sheds light on this, stating, “Inflation can subtly shift tax brackets, affect deductions, and alter the real value of tax credits.” This statement underscores the subtle yet profound ways inflation can alter the tax landscape.

Bander points out that individuals and businesses should review and update their tax strategies. This process is crucial to ensure that one is not overpaying taxes due to these shifts or missing out on potential tax benefits that might arise due to inflation-induced changes. The goal is to stay aligned with the tax changes to maximize financial efficiency and minimize unnecessary tax burdens.

Maximizing Tax Credits and Deductions

An aspect of adapting tax strategies is to maximize available tax credits and deductions, which might be adjusted to account for inflation. Bander suggests looking into options like energy credits or education-related deductions. These tax benefits can provide substantial savings, especially when indexed to inflation, offering increased value in times of rising prices. It’s about making informed decisions that align with one’s current financial situation and taking advantage of inflation-adjusted tax relief opportunities.

In that regard, Bander asks individuals to consider other significant tax credits and deductions on top of energy and education. Top on the list are;

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a crucial benefit for individuals and families with lower to moderate incomes, particularly those with children. This credit is designed to reduce the tax burden and potentially provide a refund to those who qualify, making it an essential aspect of financial planning for eligible taxpayers.

Standard Deduction

The standard deduction is a key element in tax filing, especially for those who do not itemize their deductions. It lowers the taxable income, directly affecting the overall tax liability. This deduction is adjusted yearly for inflation, ensuring its relevance and aid in reducing tax burdens.

Mortgage Interest Deduction

Homeowners who itemize deductions can benefit from the mortgage interest deduction. This provision allows for the deduction of interest paid on up to $750,000 of mortgage debt, providing significant tax relief for those with mortgage payments.

State and Local Taxes (SALT) Deduction

The SALT deduction permits taxpayers to deduct state and local taxes paid up to a cap of $10,000. This deduction is particularly beneficial in high-tax states, helping to alleviate the burden of being taxed twice on the same income.

Retirement Contributions

Contributions to retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs offer tax advantages. These contributions, within certain limits, can be deducted, lowering taxable income and encouraging savings for retirement.

Medical Expenses

For those with substantial medical expenses, the ability to deduct costs exceeding a specific percentage of adjusted gross income can provide significant tax relief. This deduction is particularly beneficial for individuals with high medical bills, such as those with chronic conditions or important medical events.

Charitable Contributions

Donations to qualified charities, when itemizing deductions, can also be deducted. This incentivizes charitable giving and provides tax relief for those who support charitable organizations financially.

Corporate Tax Planning in an Inflationary Environment

Businesses face their own set of challenges in an inflationary economy. Bander suggests, “Companies should consider strategies like deferring income or accelerating deductions to manage their tax liabilities effectively.” He emphasizes the importance of understanding how inflation impacts business expenses and taxable income.

Deferring Income

Deferring income is a strategic approach where businesses delay recognizing certain income until a later tax period. This can be particularly effective when the company anticipates being in a lower tax bracket in the future, which can result from various factors, including changes in business income or tax law. Methods to defer income can include delaying the execution of contracts or postponing the delivery of services or goods until the next tax period.

Accelerating Deductions

Conversely, accelerating deductions involves bringing forward expenses or losses into the current tax year, even if the payment will be made in the future. This can be achieved through strategies like prepaying expenses or making purchases for equipment or supplies before the year-end. By doing so, a business can increase its costs for the current tax year, thereby reducing its taxable income and the associated tax liability.

Investment Strategies to Combat Inflation

Inflation significantly impacts investment decisions. Jonathan Bander points out the efficacy of diversifying investment portfolios as a defense against inflation. He suggests incorporating assets such as real estate or commodities, which historically have shown resilience or growth during inflationary periods. This diversification strategy is aimed at balancing the investment portfolio, potentially minimizing the adverse effects of inflation on investment returns.

Staying Ahead of Policy Changes

Staying informed about changes in tax policies is crucial. Bander advises regular interactions with tax professionals to keep abreast of the latest developments in tax laws. This proactive approach ensures that individuals and businesses remain compliant and adapt their financial strategies to align with new regulations.

Effective tax planning in an inflationary environment requires a proactive approach and a keen understanding of how economic changes impact financial strategies. Bander concludes, “Regular reviews and adjustments of your financial and tax plans are more important than ever.” Consulting with tax professionals can provide valuable guidance in these uncertain times, helping to safeguard and grow your wealth.

When implemented effectively, these strategies can help businesses manage their tax liabilities more efficiently, especially during inflation. However, it’s essential for companies to carefully consider their specific financial situation and consult with tax professionals to ensure that these strategies align with their overall financial goals and comply with tax regulations.

Dee
 

Dee is a well-respected business journalist with a deep understanding of global financial markets and a talent for uncovering the stories behind the numbers. With over 20 years of experience covering the business beat, Dee is known for his in-depth reporting and analysis of industry trends, as well as his ability to make complex financial concepts understandable to a wide audience.