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3 Purchases or Investments You Can Make to Save Money on Your Business Taxes

With a little over one month to go in 2019, small business owners should think about purchases or investments that make good business sense and will give them a break on their taxes.

Owners with available cash and a wish list should consider what equipment they need. Or, do they want to create a retirement plan or make a big contribution to an existing one? If they have home offices, are there repairs or improvements that can be done by Dec. 31? But owners should also remember the advice from tax professionals: Don’t make a decision based on saving on taxes. Any big expenditure should be made because it fits with your ongoing business strategy.

A look at some possible purchases or investments:

Need a PC or SUV?

Small businesses can deduct up-front as much as $1,020,000 in equipment, vehicles and many other types of property under what’s known as the Section 179 deduction. Named for part of the federal tax code, it’s aimed at helping small companies expand by accelerating their tax breaks. Larger businesses have to deduct property expenses under depreciation rules.

There is a wide range of property that can be deducted under Section 179 including computers, furniture, machinery, vehicles and building improvements like roofs and heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems. But to be deducted, the equipment has to be operational, or what the IRS calls in service, by Dec. 31. So a PC that’s up and running or an SUV that’s already in use can be deducted, but if that HVAC system has been ordered but not yet delivered or set up, it can’t be deducted.

It’s OK to buy the equipment and use it but not pay for it by year-end — even if a business buys the property on credit, the full purchase price can be deducted.

You can learn more on the IRS website, www.irs.gov. Search for Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization, and the instructions for the form.

Home Office Repairs

Owners who run their businesses out of their homes and want to do some repairs, painting or redecorating may be able to get a deduction for the work. If the home office or work space itself is getting a makeover, those costs may be completely deductible. If the whole house is getting a new roof or furnace, then part of the costs can be deducted.

To claim the deduction, an owner can use a formula set by the IRS. The owner determines the percentage of a residence that is exclusively and regularly used for business. That percentage is applied to actual expenses on the home including repairs and renovation and costs such as mortgage or rent, taxes, insurance and maintenance.

There’s an alternate way to claim the deduction — the owner computes the number of square feet dedicated to the business, up to 300 square feet, and multiplies that number by $5 to arrive at the deductible amount. However, repairs or renovations cannot be included in this calculation.

Owners should remember that the home office deduction can only be taken if the office or work area is exclusively used for the business — setting up a desk in a corner of the family room doesn’t quality. And it must be your principal place of business. More information is available on www.irs.gov; search for Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.

Retirement Plans

Owners actually have more than a month to set up or contribute to an employee retirement plans — while some can still be set up by Dec. 31, plans known as Simplified Employee Pensions, or SEPs, can be set up as late as the filing deadline for the owner’s return. If the owner gets a six-month extension of the April 15 filing deadline, a SEP can be set up as late as Oct. 15, 2020, and still qualify as a deduction for the 2019 tax year.

Similarly, contributions to any employee retirement plan can be made as late as Oct. 15, 2020, as long as the owner obtained an extension. This means owners can decide well into next year how much money they want to contribute, and in turn, how big a deduction they can take for the contribution.

You can learn more at www.irs.gov. Search for Publication 560, Retirement Plans for Small Business.

–The Associated Press

By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer

Source: 3 Purchases or Investments You Can Make to Save Money on Your Business Taxes

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Facebook Defends Libra Cryptocurrency in Sometimes Hostile Senate Hearing

Ahead of the launch of its new global cryptocurrency, Facebook (FBGet Report) sent its crypto chief David Marcus to the Senate Tuesday to face questioning from the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

The mixed reaction Marcus received among senators was mostly divided along party lines, with some of the toughest questioning coming from Democratic Senators still skeptical of the company in the wake of the Russian election hacking scandal that Democrats blame for their candidate’s loss in the 2016 presidential election.

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Senator Mark Warren (D-VA) stated that “Facebook has a history of buying or copying competing technologies,” before demanding that Marcus assure the panel that competing digital wallets wouldn’t be hindered on WhatsApp and Messenger, two of Facebook’s most popular products.

Marcus went back and forth with Warner before assuring Warner that users would be able to send and receive non-Libra digital currencies on Facebook’s networks. But Marcus would not commit to embedding those competing currencies on its platforms.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) baldly stated that “Facebook is dangerous,” saying that the company has continued to misuse customer data while continually referring to each instance as a “learning experience.”

Brown concluded his remarks by saying that “it takes a breathtaking amount of arrogance to look at that record” and believe that the next move for the company should be to create a digital currency.

Republican Senators were more forgiving for the most part, with Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) applauding the company’s efforts to provide financial services for the under-banked.

“I want to make clear that we are only at the beginning of this journey,” Marcus said. “We expect the review of Libra to be one of the most extensive ever. Facebook will not offer the Libra currency until we have addressed the concerns and receive appropriate approvals.”

Marcus also stated the Calibra network will have the “highest standards” when it comes to privacy and that the social and financial data will be completely separated.

Users will have to provide an authentic government ID so sign up for Calibra and will not be able to register by simply using their existing Facebook profiles.

Marcus stressed Calibra’s independence from Facebook, stating that the company has taken the lead in developing the technology but that it would give up the lead once the digital currency is launched.

“We will not control Libra and will be one of over 100 participants that will govern over the currency,” Marcus said. ” We will have to gain people’s trust if we want people to use our network over the hundreds of competing companies.”

Facebook shares were up 0.18% to $204.27 on Tuesday early afternoon and are up more than 55% this year.

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Source: Facebook Defends Libra Cryptocurrency in Sometimes-Hostile Senate Hearing

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Alphabet’s DeepMind Losses Soared To $570 Million In 2018

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DeepMind, the Google-owned artificial intelligence firm on a mission to create human-level AI, had an expensive year in 2018, according to documents filed with the U.K.’s Companies House registry on Wednesday.

The London-based AI lab—founded in 2010 by Demis Hassabis, Mustafa Suleyman and Shane Legg—saw its pretax losses grow to $570 million (£470 million), up from $341 million (£281 million) in 2017, and $154 million (£127 million) in 2016.

DeepMind’s losses are growing because it continues to hire hundreds of expensive researchers and data scientists but isn’t generating any significant revenue. Amazon, Apple, Facebook are locked in an expensive battle with DeepMind and Alphabet to hire the world’s best AI experts, with the goal of building self-learning algorithms that can transform industries.

In 2018, DeepMind spent $483 million (£398 million) on around 700 employees, up from $243 million (£200 million) in 2017. Other significant costs included technical infrastructure and operating costs. In addition, DeepMind spent $17 million (£14 million) on academic donations and sponsorships.

DeepMind also spent $12 million (£9 million) on construction and $1.2 million (£1 million) on furniture and fixtures. The company is planning to move out of Google’s office in King’s Cross and into a new property around the middle of 2020.

While losses at DeepMind have grown, so to have the company’s revenues. Turnover almost doubled in 2018 to £103 million, up from £48 million in 2017. The firm sold some of its software to Google, which has used DeepMind’s AI systems to make the cooling units in its data centers more energy efficient, and improved battery life on Android devices. DeepMind does not make any money from its work with Britain’s National Health Service.

A DeepMind spokesperson provided Forbes with the following statement:

“We’re on a long-term mission to advance AI research and use it for positive benefit. We believe there’s huge potential for AI to advance scientific discovery and we’re really proud of the impact our work is already having in areas such as protein folding.

“Our DeepMind for Google team continues to make great strides bringing our expertise and knowledge to real-world challenges at Google scale, nearly doubling revenues in the past year. We will continue to invest in fundamental research and our world-class, interdisciplinary team, and look forward to the breakthroughs that lie ahead.”

In 2018, DeepMind also passed its Streams application for clinicians to Google. However, this transaction had not been completed by the time the financial statements were filed.

Yann LeCun, chief AI scientist at Facebook, said in an interview last year that he does not think DeepMind has yet proved its worth to Google, adding that DeepMind is too isolated to have a significant impact on the tech giant. “I wouldn’t want to be in the situation Demis [the CEO] is in,” he said.

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I’m a Staff Writer covering tech in Europe. Previously, I was a News Editor for Business Insider Australia, and prior to that I was a Senior Technology Reporter for Business Insider UK. My writing has also appeared in The Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Wired, The Independent, and elsewhere. I have also appeared on the BBC, Sky News, Al Jazeera, Channel 5, Reuters TV, and spoken on Russia Today and Shares Radio. In 2015, I was shortlisted for Technology Journalist of the Year by the UK Tech Awards and in 2016 I was nominated as one of the 30 young journalists to watch by MHP Communications.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

 

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