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Built by Blue Sound Construction, designed by MaKe Design, photos by Alex Hayden

Make the New Business Income Deduction Work for You

Posted on Dec 14, 2018 in:
  • Tips & Trends
  • Builders

Many businesses will benefit this year from the new 20 percent qualified business income deduction. This deduction applies to "pass-through entities:" partnerships, S-corporations, sole proprietorships, and most LLCs. However, if your taxable income from all sources exceeds $157,500 for an individual or $315,000 for a married couple filing jointly, your 20 percent deduction could be phased out. For these higher-income business owners, the deduction is limited to your share of your most advantageous calculation:

  • 50 percent of the W-2 wages your company pays OR
  • 2.5 percent of the purchase price of business fixed assets (with some limitations), plus 25 percent of W-2 wages paid.

The above assumes you are not a "Specified Service Trade or Business," but few construction-related companies are.


PRO TIP: If your company files a partnership return, beware the guaranteed income trap. Guaranteed income paid to the partners is not considered pass-through income eligible for the 20 percent deduction. Neither is the S-corp owner's W-2 pay, but at least that counts toward the 50 percent/25 percent W-2 wages in the above calculations, so it can help the owner qualify for the 20 percent deduction.

For more information, consult your CPA. There’s still time for last-minute tax strategies involving owner payroll, paying a spouse, or retroactive S-corp elections, among others.


Brooke Witt is a CPA at Duncan Witt CPA Group PLLC, a Bothell-based accounting firm specializing in tax advice for families and small businesses in Snohomish and King counties looking for someone to trust. For high-quality, comprehensive accounting and tax services, visit their website or reach out to them at 425.501.9000.


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Photo courtesy Blue Sound Construction, builder; MaKe Design, architect; and Alex Hayden, photographer