With the government shutdown and debt-ceiling issues resolved—at least temporarily—it’s time for small business owners and the self-employed to take stock of their finances and do year-end tax planning. Things are much more clear-cut now than they were in the fourth quarter of 2012, when the country faced massive uncertainty around tax cuts and the so-called fiscal cliff.
Patrick Cox, an attorney specializing in taxation and small business in the New York office of law firm Withers Bergman, says he sometimes feels as if he’s crying wolf when he warns clients about looming tax changes at year’s end. “All you want, as a business owner or a tax planner, is the ability to forecast what’s coming next. But for the past five or six years, I’ve been telling people to hurry up because everything is going to change—and then Congress eventually reaches an agreement to extend tax rates, sometimes even retroactively,” he says.