Tax Strategies for 2019 with CPA Tom Wheelwright

The beginning of the year is the perfect moment to think about your tax strategy.

It’s the time to take all of the lessons you learned last year and put them to work for you.

We’re not tax experts … but we know someone who is. CPA Tom Wheelwright brings his knowledge and enthusiasm to our tax discussion.

Don’t be scared of your taxes. Use them to save you a TON of cash.

A disclaimer: on this show, we do not offer tax or legal advice. See your personal tax pro for that. We do, however, offer plenty of ideas and information, which you can ponder as you please!

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your tax-free host, Robert Helms
  • His taxing co-host, Russell Gray
  • CPA Tom Wheelwright

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Time to talk taxes

The beginning of a new year is a great time to think about your real estate strategy … but there’s something else to keep in mind. Taxes!

Most people don’t proactively think about managing their taxes. Throughout the year they live their lives, throw their receipts in a box, and eventually give that box to their tax preparer.

But there are things you can do and SHOULD do on your tax form that will make a big difference for your finances going forward.

It starts with figuring out what happened to you tax-wise last year and using those lessons learned to change behavior this year.

If you can change your tax mentality early in the year, you can maximize your financial behavior to get the most out of your taxes all year long.

Cracking the tax code

If you want great answers, you’ve got to ask great questions.

It’s only been a year since the implementation of the new tax code … so we have plenty of questions!

We’ve brought in an expert to help us figure everything out. CPA Tom Wheelwright LOVES taxes … seriously. He really does.

Most people can’t believe how excited Tom is about tax law. But once they have spent time with him and read his book, Tax Free Wealth, they’re thrilled with the amount of money they have saved.

The first thing Tom will tell you is that taxes aren’t something to be scared of. Taxes are a way to save you money!

Our friend Robert Kiyasoki says that if you look at the nation’s tax code, you can tell exactly what they want tax payers to do.

The good news is that real estate is one of the world’s favorite assets. No matter where you are located, there is a very good chance your government has set apart incentives for you as a real estate investor.

Your job is to figure out what those incentives are … and use them to your advantage.

Luckily for us, Tom is here to help get you started.

Last year is not over

Tom says the first thing you need realize is that last year isn’t over. Until you file your tax return, there are still many benefits you can take advantage of.

As you sit with your tax advisor to do your taxes for 2018, there are things you can do under the new tax law that could be the difference between a tax bill and a tax refund.

The big one is bonus depreciation. For the first time ever, investing in real estate can potentially give you a bigger write-off than investing in oil and gas.

We’ve never had bonus depreciation on used property before, and it has never really applied to real estate in general.

The key is cost segregation … the idea that you can treat different components of your property differently from a tax perspective.

When you buy a piece of property, you buy the land, the building, the landscaping, the parking structure, the outdoor lighting, the fencing … and all of those things are treated differently for tax purposes.

Even inside the building, you are buying everything from cabinetry to ceiling fans.  

To cost segregate for bonus depreciation, your CPA and an engineer work together to break down all the components of your purchase.

You’ll find that between 20-30 percent of the cost of the property is eligible for bonus depreciation.

If you bought a property in 2018 and haven’t done a cost segregation … it’s not too late!

Tom recommends extending your tax filing deadline so you have until the fall to complete a thorough cost segregation. There is a cost involved … but the potential savings are enormous.

The good news doesn’t stop there.

Even though bonus depreciation only applies to property purchased in 2018, you can catch up on depreciation you should have taken on properties purchased several years ago.

You MUST do the cost segregation BEFORE you file your tax return … but you can take all of that missed depreciation on your 2018 taxes.

Plan for your 2019 taxes … now

It’s never too early to start planning for next year’s taxes. Every day you have an opportunity to raise or lower your tax rate.

As you sit with your tax advisor, talk about your plans for the year. Project what your taxes will look like in 2019 NOW … so you have the majority of the year to work toward smart tax benefits.

The de minimus rule for purchases is the perfect example.

This rule says that any line item you buy under $2,500 can be deducted. Think about what that means for real estate investors.

Anytime you buy water heaters for apartment units or window coverings or even carpet … all of these things are frequently under the deduction limit.

If you plan to take advantage of this benefit at the BEGINNING of 2019, you can track these purchases … and save the receipts … throughout the year, so you have everything you need when it’s time to file.

Your tax preparer is key to your success

If you’re going to be in the real estate business, it is best to find an accountant that truly understands real estate.

Tom is the first to say that even though he has always been a real estate tax professional … he understands his work so much better as an investor himself.

A tax advisor that can combine real estate book learning AND street learning will lead you to tax nirvana.

Your tax advisor has the biggest impact on your bottom line over anyone besides your spouse and your business partner.

If you follow the tax law, you will always make more money.

So, how do you find a great tax professional?

Find a tax advisor who works WITH the tax law, not against it.

Tom says to look for someone who knows tax law so well that they are never going to be concerned about an IRS audit. At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of understanding.

Taxes are not the enemy. Taxes can save you a ton of money.


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Opportunity Zones – Reduce Taxes by Investing in Main Street

It’s easy to figure out where tax incentives lie in wait. Just study the tax code.

The latest version of the tax code introduces a new tax shelter … opportunity zones. But … what are opportunity zones?

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we dive into what we know about opportunity zones … including three MAJOR benefits.

You’ll hear from:

  • Your opportunistic host, Robert Helms
  • His inopportune co-host, Russell Gray

Listen

 


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Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

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Opportunity zones: The basics

There’s a way to pay no tax on certain investments AND heal struggling communities. We’re talking about opportunity zones.

These new geographic tax shelters are encoded in the version of the tax code passed in 2017 … but they’re not totally finalized yet.

That doesn’t mean they’re not important … savvy investors will be absorbing all the info they can BEFORE opportunity zones go into action.

The idea of opportunity zones is to offer a tax-favored investment vehicle for people who already have capital gains in other investments.

Opportunity zones will be located in low-income communities ripe for revitalization … and will be located in every state in the U.S.

The fundamental purpose of opportunity zones is to encourage long-term investments in struggling communities.

Congress has established an incentive framework that is flexible and unique. This is essentially a new class of investment.

These opportunity zones complement existing community development plans. In essence, the project is treating the U.S. like a giant rehab project.

You’ll basically be moving yourself into a pre-identified path of progress. There hasn’t been a ton of incentive for investors to come into these run-down, lower income areas. But NOW there is.

The benefits of opportunity zones

Like we said earlier, the idea of opportunity zones is set, but the legislation is not in action yet. The appropriate documentation and legislation will be in place by the end of 2018.

So NOW is your time to prepare for the future.

There are definite differences between this opportunity and other investments. Generally, you’re required to pay tax when you liquidate capital gains.

But investing in opportunity zones provides three unique tax benefits. Before we get into those, we do want to clarify … this investment is only available for investors who already have capital gains from previous investors.

But not to worry … if you’re a newer investor who doesn’t have any capital gains yet, there are ways to get in on the action. We’ll get into those in the next section.

Now, the three tax benefits …

  1. You can defer your original capital gains tax for up to 10 years. As you probably know, it’s always better to defer taxes than to pay now.
  2. You also get a 10 to 15 percent discount on your original capital gains tax.
  3. AND …when appreciated capital gains are put into an opportunity zone investment, the gains you make from that investment are completely tax free.

There is a timeline. You have to sell the appreciated assets and invest the capital gains into one or more opportunity zone investments within 180 days.

But we want to emphasize … your capital gains from properties in opportunity zone areas will be completely TAX FREE.

No capital gains? How to invest in opportunity zones

The government has a goal here … they want to bring a ton of investment capital to certain areas and swing them around.

In that vein, there is a certain requirement you have to follow to invest in opportunity zones … there is NO tax incentive if you own property in an opportunity zone under your own name.

You have to invest in opportunity zones through opportunity funds.

If you don’t have appreciated assets, you may be wondering how you can start an opportunity fund and get in on this great opportunity.

There are a few options …

  1. Invest in an area near an opportunity zone. You’ll be boosted up by the wave of capital increasing asset values all around you.
  2. Invest as a syndicator. Set up an opportunity fund … and get other investors to contribute their capital gains.

This last point is something to seriously consider … especially when you start thinking about the stock market.

The stock market is hot, but it’s showing signs of faltering. People want to take their capital gains out … but they don’t want to pay taxes.

A fantastic solution? Opportunity funds.

All about opportunity funds

What does it take to put together an opportunity fund?

Opportunity funds do not have investment limitations.

They must be organized as a corporation or a partnership.

They do not require official IRS approval … the fund manager can self-certify the fund simply by submitting a form to the IRS.

The process is designed for speed. It cuts out bureaucracy … and brings locally driven change to areas that need it.

But it also requires investors to make REAL change … for example, one requirement we expect to see is that investors put as much into rehab and construction as they spent to acquire the property.

Opportunity zones mean sending money to the bottom of the market … and making the subsequent changes LAST for the long term.

For a map of tagged and categorized opportunity zones, plus more information, simply send us an email at opportunityzones [at] realestateguysradio [dot] com.

And don’t think this is the last you’ll hear about opportunity zones … we expect this to be a BIG wave in the real estate investing sea, and we’ll be providing more information to our listeners as this new opportunity develops.


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!