Monday, August 13, 2012

Allowed Expenses for Tax Deduction

Did you know as a business owner of a sole proprietorship, you will pay a self-employment tax? Your business expenses can help off-set this tax. What can you deduct?
  • Car expenses (gas, repair, maintenance, taxes, tag fees)
  • Building expenses (lights, water, internet) a percentage of this if it is a home business
  • Cell phone (if used more than 50 percent of the time)
  • Clothes and dinning (if you can prove they are needed for business)
  • Equipment (will deprecate over time and can be deducted it until sells or has no value)
  • Supplies (are used up on a regular basis)
  • Accountancy and professional fees
  • Logo'd uniform
  • Advertising
  • Insurance
  • Postage
  • Safety Wear - such as a safety Helmet
All of these are included on a different line when you itemize your expenses. Keep track of these expenses all year long. Keep logs of money spent. You memory will not be reliable when it comes down to every penny. Certain deductions require proof that they were indeed needed for business (clothes, dinning, hotels, etc.).
Here are few do's and don'ts about tax deductions.
Do keep all gas receipts and a mile log.
As a sales person going from place to place each day, keeping a mile log really pays off.
Do keep money earned from the business separate from personal money.
Two accounts are better than one when it comes to owning a business. There is a chance you could get audited if you are still earning a check outside the business and don't keep it separate to track money from both sources.
Do keep a log of all you meetings.
Your need for clothes or dinning expenses will match your meeting log. If you are on a business trip and buy memorabilia, you cannot deduct that purchase on your taxes.
Don't throw all your paper into a bin for the whole year.
Your memory will not be reliable in 12 months to remember what dinning receipts went with which meeting and who you saw.
Don't try to deduct luxury items.
Your car washes, carpet cleaning, and office decor are not tax deductible. If you try to include these things in your expenses, you may red flag your account and get audited for sure.
If you are unsure if an item is deducible or not, consult an accountant to be sure.

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