How to Use the Qualified Business Income Deduction to Reduce Taxes

Small businesses are a significant part of the U.S. economy. According to the United States Small Business Administration, they generate around 44% of our gross domestic product. They also create jobs, drive innovation, and contribute to the communities in which they operate.

To help small businesses continue to thrive, the U.S. tax code provides several tax breaks and incentives. One of the newer incentives is Section 199A of the tax code, also known as the qualified business income deduction.

However, understanding who can claim the deduction and calculating the amount to deduct is no easy task.

What Is the Qualified Business Income Deduction?

The qualified business income deduction allows certain businesses to claim a tax break worth up to 20% of its “qualified business income.”

For many businesses, qualified business income (QBI) is the same as net income. However, there are several types of income that don’t count as QBI. The list includes investment income, such as dividends and capital gains. It also includes income from businesses located outside of the U.S. For a full list of the income types that don’t qualify, check out the IRS qualified business income deduction fact page.

Pro tip: If you have any questions about the QBI deduction and how it might affect your taxes, contact a tax advisor from H&R Block. You chat online with a tax expert and have all your questions answered.

Who Can Claim the QBI Deduction?

The QBI deduction is for owners of pass-through businesses, including sole proprietors, partnerships, LLCs, and S corporations. The term “pass-through” refers to the way these companies are taxed. In a pass-through business, income “passes through” to the owner, who pays income tax on the business income on their individual income tax return.

The QBI deduction isn’t available to C corporations or LLCs that elect to be taxed as a C corporation.

It sounds pretty straightforward. But once you’ve established that your business is a pass-through, you need to know about income limits, specified service trades or businesses, W-2 wages, qualified property, and an overall limitation. Let’s tackle each of these one at a time.

Taxable Income

Taxpayers with total income less than $315,000 for married couples filing jointly or $157,500 for single taxpayers can claim the 20% deduction from qualified business income.

Specified Service Trade or Business

If your taxable income is between $315,000 and $415,000 if married filing jointly or $157,500 and $207,500 for single filers, you need to determine whether your business is a specified service trade or business (SSTB).

An SSTB includes any service-based business other than engineering or architecture in which the company depends on the employees’ or owners’ reputation or skill. That’s a broad definition, but it typically includes doctors, lawyers, accountants, consultants, professional athletes, financial advisors, performers, investment managers, and similar occupations.

The IRS’s frequently asked questions page for the QBI deduction includes additional information to help you figure out whether your business is an SSTB. Once you figure that out:

  • If Your Business Is an SSTB: If your total taxable income is between $315,000 and $415,000 for married couples filing jointly or $157,500 and $207,500 for single taxpayers, the IRS limits your QBI deduction based on the business’ W-2 wages and qualified property. If your income is above that upper limit ($415,000 for married couples or $207,500 for single filers), you cannot claim a QBI deduction.
  • If Your Business Is Not an SSTB: If your total taxable income is between $315,000 and $415,000 for married couples filing jointly or $157,500 and $207,500 for single taxpayers, you can claim the full 20% QBI deduction. If your income is above that upper limit ($415,000 for married couples or $207,500 for single filers), the IRS may limit your QBI deduction based on your W-2 wages or qualified property.

W-2 Wage & Qualified Property Limitation

For SSTB business owners with income between the phase-out limits and non-SSTB business owners with taxable income over the upper thresholds, the QBI deduction is limited to the greater of:

  • 50% of your share of the W-2 wages paid by the business
  • 25% of your share of the W-2 wages paid by the company plus 2.5% of the business’s qualified property

“Qualified property” includes all tangible, depreciable property owned by the business at the end of the year. You must use that property to produce qualified business income during the year, and its depreciation period (typically 10 years) cannot have ended before the close of the tax year.

Real Estate Investment Trust Dividends & Publicly Traded Partnership Income

As the business owner, if you receive income from real estate investment trust dividends or a publicly traded partnership, there’s a second deduction worth up to 20% of that income. So you can add that to the QBI deduction for your business income.

Overall Deduction

After calculating the two deductions outlined above, add them together. That figure is subject to an overall limitation equal to 20% of the excess of taxable income (before considering the QBI deduction) divided by net capital gains (including qualified dividends taxed at capital gains rates).

This overall limitation ensures you don’t apply the 20% deduction to income already taxed at lower capital gains rates.

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating the QBI Deduction

As you can see, the QBI deduction is complicated. It’s best to take a four-step process to apply it to your business.

  1. Determine whether your business is an SSTB.
  2. Calculate your taxable income for the year. If it’s less than $157,500 if single or $315,000 if married filing jointly, then you don’t need to worry about whether or not your business is an SSTB. You can take the full 20% tax break. If your company is an SSTB and your total taxable income is more than $207,500 if single or $415,000 if married filing jointly, your income is too high. You can’t claim the deduction. If your total taxable income is between $157,500 and $207,500 if single or $315,000 and $415,000 if married filing jointly, then continue to the next step to calculate your deduction.
  3. If your business is an SSTB with income in the phase-out range, you’ll calculate your deduction by taking 20% of your qualified business income and applying the W-2 wage and qualified property limitation.

To illustrate, say you are a 50-50 owner in a non-SSTB business that pays out $100,000 in wages per year and has $50,000 of qualified property. Your share of the qualified business income is $400,000. Your taxable income for the year is $500,000, so you are over the taxable income threshold and need to apply the W-2 wages and qualified property limitation.

  • 50% of your share of W-2 wages would be $50,000.
  • 25% of your share of W-2 wages would be $25,000, and 2.5% of your business’s qualified property would be $1,250. Those two numbers combined are $26,250.

If your QBI deduction wasn’t limited, it would be $80,000 (20% of $400,000). But since we have to apply the limitation, your deduction would be $50,000 because $50,000 is greater than $26,250.

The IRS instructions for Form 1040 and IRS Publication 535 contain worksheets you can use to calculate the deduction. Then you need to complete Form 8995 or 8995-A and attach it to your Form 1040 tax return.

Final Word

If you think calculating the QBI deduction sounds really confusing, you’re right. That’s why it’s a good idea to discuss the QBI deduction with a qualified tax professional who can handle the heavy lifting for you.

While it can be a generous tax break for business owners who qualify, it’s not something most taxpayers want to handle on their own.

Will you take advantage of the QBI deduction this year? Do you feel comfortable calculating it on your own, or will you work with a tax pro?


799: No Experience? No Problem! How to Sell 46 Homes as a New Agent with Casanova Brooks

As soon as you stop showing that you’re doing business, people forget that you’re in the business. That’s what rookie agent Casanova Brooks believes and is why he always promotes his brand by showing what he does best – selling homes. Not only is his marketing method extremely inexpensive, it’s unbelievably effective. His first year in real estate, Casanova sold 46 homes as a solo agent in a new market. Listen to today’s Real Estate Rockstars to learn exactly how he did it so that you can replicate his success!

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Debt Is Not a Tool! (Hour 1)

Debt, Business, Relationships, Insurance

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Employee Offboarding Process – 15 Best Practices for a Positive Transition

A lot of employers put more focus on onboarding than offboarding. But creating a positive experience for departing employees can help to increase retention, keep morale high, and make for a smooth and straightforward transition.

As an employer, you may think you have nothing to offer an employee who has chosen to leave your company. You may even feel hurt or resentful. But it’s important that you put those feelings aside and focus on how to offboard your staff member without burning bridges and providing support and direction to all involved.

How to Positively Offboard an Employee

Here are some tips you can use to create an effective employee offboarding strategy as part of your company culture.

1. Consider Your Organization’s Reputation

Some employers are tempted to let personal feelings take over when an employee decides to leave, but turnover is inevitable in almost every company at one point or another.

Employees choose to leave for a variety of reasons, and it’s important that no matter why a team member decides to leave, you keep your personal opinions in check. Do this not only to encourage a positive offboarding experience for your exiting employee and the rest of your team but to build your company’s reputation as well.

Before applying for a job with your company, many potential employees will conduct a quick online search to see what shows up. If a negative Glassdoor review is front and center, and it details a poor offboarding experience, you’re likely to miss out on qualified, high-quality candidates.

Alternately, a former employee who has a large network or who is involved in different professional groups isn’t likely to speak highly of an employer who behaved carelessly during the offboarding process to other industry experts.

2. Meet With Your Exiting Employee

It may seem obvious, but you should meet with your departing employee after they give their notice. A friendly and informative meeting can help to set the tone for the rest of the offboarding process and let your colleague know where they stand.

Cover the following topics so that you’re both on the same page when it comes to offboarding expectations and responsibilities:

  • What you can do to help them
  • What they can do to help you
  • What you expect them to do before they leave
  • Whether they need to develop training material
  • Who will be handling their job duties

Remember to be kind, positive, and friendly during this meeting. The more support and guidance you offer, the more likely the employee is to help with training their replacement and wrapping up any final projects.

You can also use this as an opportunity to ask where they’re going, what their new position will be, and what made them decide to make a move. However, if you suspect that they’re leaving due to dissatisfaction or unhappiness, this is best left for the exit interview.

3. Meet With Your Team

When an employee quits, it affects your entire team. It can cause a lot of uncertainty and negatively impact morale and engagement. But one of the easiest ways to get ahead of any adverse effects is to communicate early and well with your entire team.

After you meet with the employee who is leaving and you’ve made a plan for handing off duties, you should plan for a group meeting with all of your staff members.

If you’d like, let your outgoing employee announce their departure at the beginning of the meeting and then go over any details that will affect the rest of the team, like your transition plan and whether you’ll be hiring a new employee to fill the open position or if you plan to fill the role from within your company.

This is also a good time to make a short, straightforward speech about your ex-employee by thanking them for their contributions and congratulating them on their new professional adventure. A supportive and encouraging message can go a long way, both for departing employees and your current staff.

Give everyone a chance to ask questions so that there’s no confusion surrounding any new roles or responsibilities within your team. Clear communication makes employees feel secure and eases changes in workflow and job duties.

4. Communicate About the Change in Staff

Once an employee leaves, you want to make sure that everyone knows they’re no longer with your company. This includes the rest of your staff as well as any clients, freelancers, partners, or business contacts outside of the company.

Send an email before your employee leaves notifying anyone relevant of their last day and who will be taking over their duties going forward. Make sure that the email is addressed to your entire staff, including department heads and junior employees. As much as possible, you want to ensure that no one is taken by surprise and that they know who to work with in the future.

Once your employee has left, set up email forwarding so that you can catch any important work-related emails that may be sent to their previous email address in error.

5. Keep Morale in Mind

The rest of the team’s morale can be affected when an employee leaves, especially if their coworker has a negative offboarding experience. Poor offboarding tactics — such as refusing to communicate, letting personal feelings get in the way, or failing to plan and organize a smooth transition — give the impression that you only value your team members as employees and not as people.

Alternatively, a positive offboarding plan can keep morale steady and show staff members that you genuinely care about them and that you take your role as a manager or business owner seriously.

Keep a pulse on morale to determine how your staff is being affected by your previous employee’s departure and address specific issues or problems by communicating openly and honestly with your employees.

If morale seems low and you aren’t sure what to do, try adding a few more ideas to your offboarding checklist to help with engagement and motivation.

6. Work With Your Human Resources Department

Your human resources (HR) department is an essential resource for both onboarding and offboarding.

For example, your HR professional can assist with:

  • Ending health benefits, share plans, and other financial paperwork
  • Ensuring a final paycheck is sent out
  • Retrieving company assets, such a security pass, key, credit card, or laptop
  • Removing access to company accounts and software once the employee has left
  • Conducting exit interviews
  • Creating a job description and recruiting for a replacement
  • Reviewing documents like a noncompete contract or nondisclosure agreement

HR can also provide guidance on how to keep communications positive and productive after an employee decides to move on.

7. Ask Your Departing Employee to Help With Recruitment

When an employee leaves, don’t only focus on transferring duties and redirecting workflow. Have your former employee help with finding their replacement. After all, who knows their job better than they do?

When appropriate, ask them to:

  • Write a job description to use in online job ads for new hires
  • Review resumes and cover letters from potential candidates
  • Sit in on interviews
  • Discuss whether any existing team members would be a fit
  • Meet with a recruiter or hiring manager to explain their role and responsibilities

Involving your former employee in the hiring process for their replacement helps you to find better, more suitable candidates who will have an accurate and realistic understanding of the open position.

8. Conduct an Exit Interview

Although exit interviews should always be optional, they’re an important part of any employee offboarding process. They are a great way to encourage honest feedback and learn where you can improve as a manager and as a company.

Think of an exit interview as an opportunity for you to learn about your employee’s entire experience with you — from onboarding and training to reviews, office politics, company culture, and everything in between.

Some exit interviews are conducted by managers and others by HR departments. It depends on how your company is structured. Regardless of the logistics, exit interviews should be reserved for the last day or two before you and your outgoing employee part ways. If done too early, the employee who is leaving may not feel comfortable being completely upfront about suggestions or complaints.

Although your exiting employee may not have anything bad to say, encourage them to share any tips or advice they have related to their position, the company, their team, or their manager. If they do share negative feedback, remember not to take it personally and to remain professional.

9. Offer to Be a Reference

Depending on your company policy about work references, you can offer to be a reference for your departing employee for future jobs. Knowing that they can rely on you to provide an honest, helpful, and professional reference is a great way to ensure that your employee leaves on a good note.

Most companies prefer that candidates use previous managers or employers as references, so by making the offer, you’re letting them know that you care about their professional future. Plus, it saves them from having to ask you, which can be difficult if they’re not sure where they stand after handing in their notice.

10. Get Your Exiting Employee’s Contact Information

Don’t forget to get your outgoing employee’s new contact information, like an email or mailing address in case you need to contact them with questions related to their previous role. For example, you may need to get in touch about their benefits or to ask about a company account or password. Although you can plan for a comprehensive hand-off, some details can get lost during knowledge transfer, so it’s important to know how to reach your previous hire for a quick question.

And, if they leave on good terms, you may also want to use it to send a friendly message or invite them to a workplace social event down the road.

11. Welcome a Return

Boomerang employees are workers who leave a company only to return later. These employees learned that the grass isn’t always greener and came back to work for you because they had a positive experience at your company. These employees can be a boon to you since they already know the ins and outs of your business, your customers, and the role they held at your company.

But you’ll only get boomerang employees if you facilitate and participate in a proper offboarding process and let outgoing employees know that they’re welcome to return in the future.

If you’re open to having ex-employees work for you again down the road, make sure to communicate that during your offboarding process so that they know it’s an option. If you don’t make it clear, they may assume that you’re not open to it.

12. Connect on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an ideal way to follow your ex-employee’s professional progress and to get in touch about work-related questions, references, or job opportunities. If you aren’t already connected with your departing employee on LinkedIn, send them an invite. You can take things a step further by providing a written recommendation on the platform as well, which can give them a boost during job searches and round out their profile.

And, as a bonus for you, giving recommendations makes you look like a stellar boss to your ex-employee’s connections and network.

13. Plan an Event

Planning an event like a lunch or after-work cocktail can give current employees a chance to say goodbye to co-workers and end the offboarding process on a happy note. Offboarding can be hard for both your former employee and their team members, so offering everyone a chance to have a casual get-together to reminisce and wish each other well can be a welcome change from typical last-day scenarios.

Involve your team in planning the event, and try to choose a venue that your previous employee enjoys. If possible, have the company cover costs for a meal or appetizers to make it even more enjoyable for everyone.

14. Purchase a Gift

A personalized gift from the company is the perfect way to express appreciation and gratitude for your departing employee’s hard work over the years. Some gift ideas for ex-employees include:

  • A briefcase or professional bag
  • Gift cards to their favorite restaurants
  • A donation to a charity or nonprofit they care about
  • Gourmet coffee, tea, or chocolate
  • Personalized office supplies
  • A gift basket
  • A bottle of wine

You can also get a cake, a framed picture of the team, or anything else you think they might like. Talk to their work friends for ideas and choose a gift that’s both appropriate and fits your budget.

15. Send Around a Card

A card is a cost-effective and common way to bid farewell to an employee. Give the whole team a chance to write a personal message and sign their name by sending it around in advance. If you have a good relationship with your departing employee, you may even want to give them a card yourself, expressing how much you have valued them and enjoyed having them on your team.

Final Word

When you offboard employees with morale, engagement, and professionalism in mind, you reap the rewards of being a thoughtful and desirable employer. Your company’s reputation is a powerful tool in attracting and retaining quality hires, and how you treat previous employees can have a significant impact on how you’re viewed by potential candidates.

Keep your offboarding strategy professional, communicative, and positive to facilitate a smooth transition for everyone involved.


691: How to Bounce Back After Real-Life Crises Put Real Estate on Hold with Vicky Noufal

Shortly after her real estate business’ best year ever, Vicky Noufal got the news that her husband was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. Suddenly, she had to put her career on hold to care for her husband and their three sons. After her husband passed 18 months later, Vicky struggled to get back on her feet, but she persevered. Now, she’s completely rebuilt her business, hitting over $25 million in sales in the last six months alone. On today’s podcast, Vicky shares how she managed to overcome tragedy and triumph in the face of adversity. Listen and learn how to handle real-life crises so that you’re always able to bounce back.

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I Want To Keep an Inheritance a Secret From My Husband (Hour 2)

Debt, Retirement, Relationships, Business

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301: Stefan Aarnio: How to Go From Being Broke to Becoming an Award Winning Real Estate Entrepreneur

Stefan Aarnio is an Award Winning Real Estate Entrepreneur, author of Money People Deal: The Fastest Way to Real Estate Wealth, and the 2014 winner of the Rich Dad Hall of Fame award. Starting with only $1200, Stefan has built a multi-million dollar portfolio for his partners, and has earned himself a spot on The Self Made List. Stefan has accumulated properties at an alarming pace controlling 25% of his local niche through his understanding of Real Estate Joint Ventures.

Join us as Stefan shares his Realtor mindset and a glance at his journey to becoming a Real Estate Rockstar by finding great deals, building a fantastic team, paying everybody and creating partnerships for life.

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Stop Spending Your Money To Fix Someone Else’s Bad Decisions (Hour 1)

Debt, Savings, Home Buying, Taxes, Relationships

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SOTM 56: Foreclosure Moratorium Extended to End of 2020

It’s official: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will extend its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through the end of 2020. On today’s podcast, we cover this along with other recent real estate news stories. Listen and learn what’s happening in the industry right now.

Listen to today’s show and learn:

  • FHA homeowners have the most to lose [1:48]
  • 2020 housing markets outperform 2019 [5:18]
  • Screen your next listing on streaming services like Hulu [6:50]
  • Metro homeownership unaffordable for renters [8:05]
  • California extends eviction moratorium [11:40]
  • Foreclosure and eviction moratorium extended to end of 2020 [13:35]
  • New home sales at highest level since 2008 [18:17]
  • $75,000/month rentals in the Hamptons [19:12]
  • Commercial investors turn to mobile home parks [21:30]

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Thanks for Rocking Out

Thank you for tuning in to Pat Hiban Interviews Real Estate Rockstars, we appreciate you! To get more Rockstar content sent directly to your device as it becomes available, subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher! Reviews on iTunes are extremely helpful and appreciated! We read each and every one of them, please feel free to leave your email so that we can personally reach out and say thanks! Have any questions? Tweet me, Facebook me and ask Pat anything. Don’t forget to head on over to Bare Naked Agent for Pat’s answers, and advice. Thank you Rockstar Nation, and keep rockin!


How Do I Convince My Husband To Sell Our House That We Can’t Afford? (Hour 3)

Debt, Retirement, Investing, Relationships, Savings

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