There are so many reasons a company could and should choose to “go green” or, at the very least, make some green improvements to their offices and business structures. We’ve talked about a few of them already, in a post called Green Business Initiatives: Worth the Investment?
Why Go Green?
There are lots of reasons to go green and to take your business with you. Obviously reducing your carbon footprint is a good thing to do for the overall health of the planet. The fact that it makes you feel good and could potentially help your karma is nothing to sneeze at. The biggest reason, however, to “green up” your business is your taxes.
While a bunch of the better known environmentally friendly tax incentives for homeowners expired this year (tankless water heaters, for example) that doesn’t mean that all of the “green” incentives fell off the books. Far from it! There are a lot of different environmental improvements that you can make to your business that will help you reduce your tax burden.
You can find a complete list of the environmental tax incentives for businesses on the EPA website.
Which Incentives Are Right For You?
It is important to understand that the “green” tax incentives are available at both the federal and the state level, but that those incentives don’t necessarily match. It is also important to understand that the availability of green incentives is going to depend upon your company’s industry. For example, a small family farm can take advantage of the “farm to table” breaks that have been offered in Cumberland County through the Clean and Green incentive program. A legal consulting company, on the other hand, would not.
Figuring Out Whether or Not You Qualify
Figuring out which tax incentives, green and otherwise, for which your business qualifies, can be a time consuming and perilous endeavor. You want to make sure you reduce your tax burden as much as legally possible. All the same, you really don’t have the time to read through all of the different credits and write-offs that are available.
Getting it Out of the House: Should You Outsource?
The best thing that you can do to solve this dilemma is to outsource your accounting and tax prep. While, yes, you probably like the idea of having someone take care of these things in house, there are a few incentives to outsourcing.
For one thing, outsourcing saves money. You pay only for work that is actually done. Many businesses find that, outside of tax season, they do not actually have enough work to keep a full time accountant busy, which means that they are paying someone to sit in an office and wait.
Another reason to outsource is accuracy. Firms that specialize in business accounting and tax credits make it their business to keep up with current tax laws. How else will they be able to make sure that you get the lowest tax rates possible?
These firms also have access to software and other tools that would not be readily available to an in house professional—at least not without great out-of-pocket expense to you. An outsourcing firm will typically fold this expense into your retainer fee at a much cheaper rate because they can use one software license to service multiple clients. ADP.com’s tax credits service, for example, has a database of current incentives as well as mapping software that helps them target your incentives geographically (keeping you “within the lines” with your city, county and state laws).
There are lots of ways to save money in your business and on your taxes. Outsourcing helps you save valuable payroll funds as well as ensuring that your tax liability is as low as possible. Further, because the work is done digitally, your carbon footprint won’t be affected. You can be green while saving green!