Does a Cash Balance Plan Lower QBI? The Simple Answer


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Cash balance plans have been used for decades to lower taxable income for business owners. But does a cash balance plan lower QBI?

In this article, we will talk about how QBI or the Section 199 deduction works. I will highlight some essential tax tips to ensure you’re reporting the cash balance plan correctly. Let’s get started!

Yes. Cash balance plans do affect the Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction or the Section 199 deduction. A cash balance plan is a qualified retirement plan. As a result, it will reduce taxable income and QBI.

The QBI works for sole proprietors and other pass-through entities, such as partnerships, and S corporations.

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What is QBI?

The QBI deduction, also known as the Section 199A deduction, allows eligible taxpayers to deduct up to 20% of their qualified business income from certain pass-through entities. This deduction is generally determined based on the net income from the business activities and is not directly impacted by the presence of a cash balance plan.

The QBID (Qualified Business Income Deduction), also known as the Section 199A deduction, is a tax deduction introduced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. The QBID is available to eligible taxpayers who receive income from certain pass-through entities, such as partnerships, S corporations, and sole proprietorships.

The purpose of the QBID is to provide tax relief for individuals who are engaged in qualified business activities and to promote small business growth. The deduction allows eligible taxpayers to deduct up to 20% of their qualified business income (QBI) from their taxable income. QBI refers to the net income generated by the qualified business activities, excluding investment income and certain other items.

The QBID has specific limitations and criteria to determine eligibility. The deduction amount may be subject to limitations based on the taxpayer’s taxable income, the nature of the business, and other factors. For higher-income taxpayers, limitations and additional requirements may apply.

It is important to note that the QBID is a complex provision of the tax code, and its application can vary depending on individual circumstances. Seeking the guidance of a qualified tax professional or consulting the IRS guidelines is recommended to accurately determine eligibility and properly calculate the deduction amount.

Similarly, the Section 199 deduction, also known as the domestic production activities deduction (DPAD), was repealed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. Therefore, it is no longer applicable to tax years beyond that date.

Does a Cash Balance Plan Lower QBI?

However, it is worth noting that cash balance plans may indirectly affect the taxable income of the business and, consequently, the availability and calculation of certain deductions. Contributions made by the employer to fund the cash balance plan are generally tax-deductible expenses for the business. By reducing the taxable income of the business, these contributions may indirectly affect the overall tax liability and the availability of other deductions.

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To fully understand the impact of a cash balance plan on specific deductions, it is advisable to consult with a tax professional who can assess the specific circumstances and provide guidance based on the current tax laws and regulations.

Final thoughts

A cash balance plan is a type of employer-sponsored retirement plan that combines features of both defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) plans. In a cash balance plan, employees have individual accounts with a stated balance that grows annually based on a fixed contribution from the employer and an interest crediting rate. This makes it different from traditional pension plans, where the retirement benefit is based on a formula considering factors like years of service and salary.

In a cash balance plan, the employer is responsible for making contributions to each employee’s account, usually as a percentage of their salary. These contributions accumulate with interest over time, and the account balance grows regardless of the plan’s investment performance. When an employee reaches retirement age or leaves the company, they can choose to receive their account balance as a lump sum or convert it into an annuity that provides a regular stream of income during retirement.

One of the advantages of a cash balance plan is that it offers employees the security of a guaranteed benefit, similar to a traditional pension plan. It also provides portability, as employees can take their account balances with them if they leave the company before retirement.

Additionally, the plan allows for greater flexibility and control compared to a traditional defined benefit plan, as participants can see the value of their retirement savings grow over time, similar to a defined contribution plan. However, it’s important to note that cash balance plans may have complex rules and require actuarial expertise to ensure compliance and accurate calculations of benefits.

Paul Sundin

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