A November revenue ruling offers an interesting opportunity for employers to do some beneficial year-end tax planning.

When structuring a bonus pool for key employees, companies now have an opportunity to set the bonus pool this year and deduct the cost of the pool this year, yet actually pay for the bonuses early next year.

In ruling 2011-29 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that an accrual-basis taxpayer can take a deduction for payments made under a bonus program, even though the payments are not made until the following year and the individual recipients and the amount paid to each recipient is unknown at the end of the employer's tax year.

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