Starting a Small Business

While many businesses have been forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some entrepreneurs have started new small businesses. Many of these people start out operating as sole proprietors. Here are some tax rules and considerations involved in operating with that entity.

The pass-through deduction

To the extent your business generates qualified business income (QBI), you’re eligible to claim the pass-through or QBI deduction, subject to limitations. For tax years through 2025, the deduction can be up to 20% of a pass-through entity owner’s QBI. You can take the deduction even if you don’t itemize deductions on your tax return and instead claim the standard deduction.

Reporting responsibilities

As a sole proprietor, you’ll file Schedule C with your Form 1040. Your business expenses are deductible against gross income. If you have losses, they’ll generally be deductible against your other income, subject to special rules related to hobby losses, passive activity losses, and losses in activities in which you weren’t “at risk.”

If you hire employees, you need to get a taxpayer identification number and withhold and pay employment taxes.

Self-employment taxes

For 2021, you pay Social Security on your net self-employment earnings up to $142,800, and Medicare tax on all earnings. An additional 0.9% Medicare tax is imposed on self-employment income more than $250,000 on joint returns; $125,000 for married taxpayers filing separate returns; $200,000 in all other cases. Self-employment tax is imposed in addition to income tax, but you can deduct half of your self-employment tax as an adjustment to income.

Quarterly estimated payments

As a sole proprietor, you generally are required to make estimated tax payments. For 2021, these are due on April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 17, 2022.

Home office deductions

If you work from a home office, perform management or administrative tasks there, or store product samples or inventory at home, you may be entitled to deduct an allocable portion of some costs of maintaining your home.

Health insurance expenses

You can deduct 100% of your health insurance costs as a business expense. This means your deduction for medical care insurance won’t be subject to the rule that limits medical expense deductions.

Keeping records

Retain complete records of your income and expenses so you can claim all the tax breaks to which you’re entitled. Certain expenses, such as automobile, travel, meals, and office-at-home expenses, require special attention because they’re subject to special recordkeeping rules or deductibility limits.

Saving for retirement

Consider establishing a qualified retirement plan. The advantage is that amounts contributed to the plan are deductible at the time of the contribution and aren’t taken into income until they’re withdrawn. A SEP plan requires less paperwork than many qualified plans. A SIMPLE plan is also available to sole proprietors and offers tax advantages with fewer restrictions and administrative requirements. If you don’t establish a retirement plan, you may still be able to contribute to an IRA.

EWH can help

Contact us if you want additional information about the tax aspects of your new business, or if you have questions about reporting or recordkeeping requirements.

Restaurant Meals 100% deductible in 2021 and 2022

The stimulus legislation passed at the end of last year included a provision that removes the 50%

limit on deducting business meals provided by restaurants in 2021 and 2022 and makes those meals.

fully deductible.  Here are the details.

Food and Beverage Expense:

In general, the ordinary and necessary food and beverage expenses of operating your business are

deductible. However, the deduction is limited to 50%

The new legislation adds an exception to the 50% limit for expenses for food or beverages provided by a restaurant. This rule applies to expenses paid or incurred in calendar years 2021 and 2022.

Takeout and delivery meals provided by a restaurant are also fully deductible.

Rules for Deducting business meals.

It’s important to note that, other than lifting the 50% limit for restaurant meals, the legislation doesn’t.

change the rules for deducting business meals. All the other existing requirements continue to apply.

Thus, to be deductible:

  • The food and beverages cannot be lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.
  • You or one of your employees must be present when the food or beverages are served.
  • The food or beverages must be provided to you or to a “business associate.

Who is considered a “Business Associate to substantiate this deduction?”

This is defined as a current or prospective customer, client, supplier, employee, agent, partner, or professional adviser with whom you could reasonably expect to engage or deal in your business.

Food or beverages provided at an entertainment activity:

If food or beverages are provided at an entertainment activity either they must be purchased separately

from the entertainment or their cost must be stated on a separate bill, invoice, or receipt. This is required.

because the entertainment, unlike the food and beverages, is nondeductible.

Please contact us for more information about deducting business meals or any other questions you have regarding taxes or your business. You can also visit our tax center for resources for your taxes, and maximizing your deductions.

The Sales Conversation

Having effective sales conversations depends on the overall sales process and your ability to be consistently effective. Whether it’s starting the conversation, generating interest to produce a lead, or a potential new opportunity, you need to capitalize on that opportunity and convert it into business. Conversations are the gateway to their decision-making. Even if they were only looking at you or considering other options, the following steps will help you be more effective, consistent, and enable you to have more rewarding sales conversations.  Below are 5 steps to master your sales conversations.

Step 1: Rapport

Rapport establishes a connection and builds trust that we need later in the process; it’s about a state of responsiveness in the exchange of energy between you and the other person. Rapport can be an accident, and it can also be deliberate. In this step, we establish the feeling of how the conversation is going to be and set the expectations going forward. What energy do you bring to this stage in your conversation? How could you be more effective at establishing energy, alignment, and the expectations up front to pave the roadmap for the conversation ahead?

Step 2: Discovery

This step is where we learn more about the other person’s needs, wants, wounds, desires, and goals. By understanding where they are at, their “point A”, we will be able to understand how we can best serve them by recommending solutions, suggestions, or options. With these options, we can understand the roadmap of how to help them get to “point Z”.

What are their most important outcomes and what results they are looking for?

Step 3: Story Telling

Storytelling consists of two primary elements; Education and Presentation.

The education element is sharing what they need to know, or what they don’t know they don’t know and need to know, to make an informed buying decision. In a buying market with so many choices, providing the correct information to make an informed decision is key for decision-makers.

Your presentation is what, how, and most importantly, why you do what you do, and how you share your story. As Simon Sinek states, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”  – they buy what you believe. We also call this a compelling story because you master how to share in a way that also enrolls the other person in the story, and paints the experience of what they will receive, compelling them to want to move forward, because of how clear you have demonstrated the value.

Therefore, how you package your education and presentation, what and how you do it with purpose creates the story and emotional connection people need to see themselves deciding, moving ahead, and taking the next steps.

Here we also collaborate, share, and exchange ideas to find out what options and solutions are the best fit to satisfy their needs, wants, wounds, and desires they shared with us in Discovery.

Step 4: Next Steps

The “next steps” are finalizing the options and making decisions about what happens next to keep the process moving. In this step, we are deciding if we want to move forward and if so, committing to the next steps. Your primary job as a sales leader is to provide leadership and keep the process moving to complete the result. How you do that is very important; there are different communication styles and ways to be successful. A great tool you can learn more about the different communication styles is the DISC communication model. Our Leadership Essentials course is a great resource for that!

To emphasize the importance of this step with one final point, they once interviewed professional buyers and said the most important quality of professional salespeople was their ability to expedite the sale, put differently it was their ability execute and get it done. A reliable professional is one that delivers on what they said when they said they would do it.

Step 5: Button- Down

Go back and clarify and verify what those next steps are, finalize the details, and mention them one more time to reinforce. Remember, they are not real until they are written down and scheduled! Make sure everyone knows what’s happening next and who’s responsible for what. “Button-down” simply means to clarify the “next steps” to reinforce clarity in our communication.

How can you improve your sales conversation? How can you guide your prospects during this process even better? Where do you excel? And how can you build and improve on that?

Applying these steps to our sales conversation and sales leadership will help you close more sales, make more money, be more successful, and be more fulfilled and satisfied with your sales conversation.

Tax Strategies for Tax Efficiency, Reducing Your Income and Minimizing Your Taxes

Each of those keywords above has an important place in effective tax planning. There is a language to taxes, and unfortunately, only accountants have been primarily taught that language. Often a business owner wants to know what they don’t know when it comes to keeping more of what they make. After all, it’s not how much you make, but how much you keep. Making sure you’re reducing your taxes and keeping as much of your money is key to building long-term wealth for yourself and those you care about.

Below are some key areas you will learn about in our Tax Essentials workshop that are a few key strategies that take place in between the 5 factors that determine your tax position.

Tax Efficiency

Entity selection & Pass-through entities – This relates to understanding entity selection and how you get money in and out of your business. Understanding when you pay taxes, and how you are taxed, and how to distribute the profits back to yourself, are all key elements in this equation to make sure you can get money in and out most efficiently. The S Corporation is a common vehicle for tax efficiency today. As President George W. Bush said in one of his presidential debates, “Most small business are a Sub Chapter S”.

In our workshop we will learn more about entity selection and the key considerations. We will also discuss the difference between an S and C Corp, and why many small businesses choose the S Corp option for its tax advantages, and when those advantages become important for you to start considering electing into with that option.  Timing is always a consideration in tax planning.


How pass-through income works and when do you pay taxes when you earn the profit or distribute the earnings – Understanding the timing of your tax payments, estimates, and cash flow of your distributions is key to those profits being converted to real live cash in your personal checking account.

Maximizing & Substantiating Deductions

An audit trail to substantiate and capture all expenses:

  • Make sure you have a receipt for each expense. Without it, it can lead to challenges.
  • Along with the bank or credit card statement for example
  • Make sure you are keeping track of mileage to maximize your deductions.

Tax Questionnaire – Make sure you are using a simple tax organizer/questionnaire. You can find ours at    This organizer will help you with a simple Yes-No format.  Capture any deductions that might be applicable to you to give you peace of mind you covered your bases and checked off all the boxes.

The following will also take you to our tax center where you can find more information on utilizing this tool

Personal Tax Vehicles for Savings

HSA – For those eligible for a Health Savings Account this is a great way to save money for future healthcare- related expenses and reduce your taxable income at the same time, thereby reducing your taxes.

Retirement Plan Contributions – Different retirement plans work differently many you can deduct pre-tax, reducing your amount of taxable income in that year. Others you can put money in after-tax and then when you take it out the growth is tax free.

In EWH’s Tax Essentials Workshop we will talk about how the mechanics of both these vehicles work.

Business Tax Vehicles for Savings

Section 179 – A way to speed up Deprecation and expense more of the equipment you purchased in the year you put it into use. However, you should also be aware of other tax planning considerations impacting why you may or may not want to take Section 179.

Cost Segregation Study – For those that own a building, this is a way to speed up the Deprecation on the building.

Cash and Accrual Accounting – Keeping score for tax purposes.

Other Tax and Cashflow Consideration

Loans – Most owners do not know when you pay off your note(s), it doesn’t reduce your profits, and therefore doesn’t reduce the taxes. But, without knowing that they make a payment and later find out they still owe. Here we will talk more about how this works and why.

These are 10 important tax planning strategies to discuss with your Accountant. Keep in mind, each depends on your situation and all have their unique rules. This list gives you a great platform to start the conversation and to further learn more. Attend our Tax Essentials course where you will learn more about how each of these strategies works, and can help you be more tax-efficient, minimize your income and reduce your taxes.