Article Date: 11/1/2004

business advisor
Four Ways to Save Big on Taxes
If you dread tax time, then follow these steps for an easier time next year.
By Jerry Hayes, O.D.

We work hard in these columns, in our lectures and in personal consulting to teach you how to improve practice efficiency and production so you can increase your true net income. But there's a little catch to that: The more profitable you are, the more you have to pay in income taxes.

Fortunately, you can save on your 2004 return if you act before December 31, 2004. How? Just read the following four pointers.

1. Incorporate

If you earn more than $100,000 this year and are currently filing your tax return as a proprietorship or C. Corporation, then Ken Hicks, C.P.A., recommends that you convert to an S. Corporation. Why?

An S. Corp will allow you to better control the amount of payroll taxes you pay on your own salary. Let's say that you're unincorporated and net $100,000 after all expenses and deductions. An unincorporated optometrist will pay approximately $22,000 in federal income tax and another $12,000 in payroll tax. But an O.D. in an S. Corp can elect to pay himself a smaller salary, say $60,000, and take $40,000 in a non-payroll distribution. You'll still owe income tax on the entire $100,000, but because you don't have to pay payroll taxes on the $40,000 distribution, you can save approximately $4,500 in taxes.

2. Pay those bills

Pay all of your supply and maintenance bills before the end of the year, even if you're tight on cash and have to borrow the money. Doing so allows you to deduct those expenses in 2004. The tax savings will more than offset your interest costs.

3. Buy new equipment now

Under section 179 of the tax code, you can deduct up to $102,000 in equipment purchases made in 2004. Plus, this year carries with it a 50% bonus depreciation. But you'll want to take advantage of this depreciation soon because it expires on December 31, 2005.

4. Get compliant

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides that businesses must grant disabled individuals full and equal access to their goods, services and facilities. Although compliance is mandatory, you do get a tax credit if you have to spend money on approved new equipment or on office modifications to meet ADA standards.

The credit is equal to 50% of the qualified expenditures that are more than $250, not to exceed $10,250 for a maximum credit of $5,000. (If you spent $8,250, the credit would equal [$8,250 � $250] x 50% = $4,000.) This is a credit against your tax bill, which is much better than a mere deduction.

Typical ADA-type expenses include sign language interpreters, special printed materials or audio formats, the purchase or modification of special equipment or devices such as wheelchair accessible instruments and the removal or modification of physical barriers such as steps or inclines. Note: For a practice to be eligible, it must have gross receipts of less than $1 million.

Save with good tax planning

Can good planning really help you save money on your taxes? Absolutely! But it takes two things:

1. Action on your part

2. A C.P.A. who's knowledgeable regarding the ins and outs of tax laws that apply specifically to optometrists.


A frequent writer and speaker on practice management issues, Dr. Hayes is the founder and director of Hayes Consulting.  You can reach him at (800) 588-9636 or JHAYES@HAYESCONSULTING.NET.


Optometric Management, Issue: November 2004