Navigating Tax Challenges in a Tough Year for Staffing Firms

AdminAssist October 4, 2023
4-minute read

2023 has undeniably been a challenging year for staffing firms. Many businesses have experienced a decline in revenue due to various economic factors. While declining revenue may seem like a relief when it comes to taxes, staffing firms, especially those on a cash basis, need to be cautious. In this blog post, we'll explore why lower revenue doesn't necessarily translate into a lower tax bill for staffing firms and how to prepare for potential tax challenges in the coming year.

The Cash Basis Conundrum

Most staffing firms operate on a cash basis tax accounting method. This means that they recognize income when payment is received and expenses when they are paid. This approach is simple and intuitive, but it can have tax implications that catch business owners off guard.

Deferred Taxes and Growing AR

In the years leading up to 2023, staffing firms may have enjoyed the benefits of deferred taxes. This often occurs in growing businesses because accounts receivable (AR) has been steadily increasing, resulting in correspondingly low cash basis net income. When AR grows, revenue is recognized but not yet collected, effectively deferring the tax liability until the cash is received.

The Tax Implications of Declining AR

The problem arises when AR significantly decreases compared to the previous year, which has been the case for many staffing firms in 2023. This decrease in AR typically results in comparatively more cash being collected in 2023 than in 2022 which increases taxable income in 2023. In other words, your tax bill may not reflect just the current year's revenue but rather the accumulated revenue from previous years collected on in 2023.

Prepare for the Tax Bill

To avoid surprises and ensure you have the cash to cover your tax bill in 2023, it's crucial to start planning now. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Review Your Financials:  Take a close look at your financial statements and assess the changes in AR from year-end 2022 to the present. Understanding the magnitude of the decrease will help you estimate your potential tax liability.
  2. Budget Accordingly:  Based on your analysis, create a budget that accounts for the expected tax liability. Allocate funds to cover this expense, so you're not caught off guard when tax season arrives.
  3. Consult a Tax Professional or Advisor:  Tax laws can be complex, and staffing firms have unique financial considerations. Consider scheduling a free 30-minute introductory call with an AdminAssist representative.  We would love to discuss your specific situation and provide guidance on what to expect and how to plan effectively.  There are several strategies staffing firms can use to successfully defer taxable cash basis income, but the time is now to act with year-end fast approaching.
  4. Secure Needed Financing Now:  Asses the sufficiency of your Line of Credit or other Credit Facilities to fund any 2023 tax liability.   Credit is always easier to obtain in advance of when its actually needed.   We are experts in assisting with finding, structuring and securing funding arrangements.     

While 2023 has been a rough year for staffing firms in terms of revenue, it's essential to remember that the tax implications may not align with your current financial situation. Don't let a declining AR situation catch you off guard when it comes to your tax bill. By reviewing your financials, budgeting accordingly, and seeking professional advice, you can better prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.

AdminAssist is here to help you navigate these tax challenges. Schedule a free 30-minute call with us to review your specific situation and ensure you're prepared for a potentially rough tax year. Your financial future may depend on it.