Small Business Tax Tips to Maximize Your Tax Return:
As millions of small business owners get ready to file their taxes, they will be searching for exemptions that might be possible for their business. Luckily, there are many exemptions and credits that owners can take advantage of. By writing off certain expenses, a business owner can significantly reduce their tax burden and put the extra money towards growing their enterprise.
First off, you must understand the difference between a credit and a write off. A credit is a dollar for dollar deduction from your taxable income. An exemption will qualify for only a percentage. Following is some useful small business tax tips that you can apply to help you maximize your tax refund.
Auto repairs and mileage (1:20) --
Anyone in business has expenses relating to using a car. Unless your job is done from 100% cyberspace, you have to leave the house to meet with clients, network and pick up supplies. If your job is significantly sales oriented, this mileage can really add up. You can use a standard rate of 55.5 cents per business driven mile. That is not all though. If you use a newer vehicle, you can write off the additional depreciation related to your business expenses. Of course, if you use the car for both business and pleasure, you are only allowed to write off business miles.
New business exemption (2:28) --
If you are a starting up a small business you are allowed to deduct up to $5000 for the first year that you are in business. This deduction is for things like supplies, utilities and repairs. This is for start ups only and only applies to the first year of your new business. You can either take the $5000 in a lump deduction, or you must deduct it in equal amounts over a period of 5 years.
Bad Debts (3:39) --
If a customer stiffs you over a certain amount, you can claim it as bad debt and write it off. This bad debt deduction is only for products and is not for services.
Interest (3:53) --
Most businesses do not start up without a little bit of financing. If you have a loan or credit card that you use, the interest on loans are completely tax deductible. Keep all your receipts in the event you get audited, so you can prove the charges were business related.
Advertising and Promotions (4:54) --
Of course, this means big things like commercials, but it also means small things like business cards and stationary. If the item is used to promote your business, then it is tax deductible. The expenses of networking, like attending conferences and taking clients out to lunch are also deductible. If you are doing it to grow your business, then it is a deductible expense.
If you started a new business and are getting ready to file your small business tax, your best bet is to talk to a CPA. There are virtually thousands of credits and exemptions that can be claimed for a new business. A CPA will be familiar with those credits and exemptions, so they will be able to maximize your refund. In addition, they will be able to tell you if certain things aren't allowed, of if your claiming expenses that are too high, and they will help you avoid the headache of an audit.
To Your Success,
My understanding on using vehicle for a write off is that you can either write off fuel expenses OR claim your milages; not both
Also, food purchases are only 50% deductible unless you have a special event like a Christmas Dinner party, only then its 100% deductible.
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Owned buildings at another site may be used as alternate workspace if a building cannot be occupied. This depends upon the location of the building and whether the building would be affected by the same hazard that prevented use of the primary building. The alternate facility may be a viable business recovery strategy if the building can be configured with the required equipment or existing equipment can be configured to need business requirements.
Systems and Equipment.
Evaluate these systems to determine whether they meet the needs of the program. Identify and plan to overcome emergency communication system limitations such as weak radio or cellular service or areas where a warning system cannot be heard. Upgrading this critically important system may be required. Verify that these systems are in reliable working condition.
If fuel, battery backup power or batteries are required, make sure the system can run for the required time and chargers are available. Document how to operate these systems and mark the locations of controls. Make sure the information is available during an emergency. Many of these systems also require periodic inspection, testing and maintenance in accordance with national codes and standards. Train staff so a knowledgeable person is able to operate systems and equipment.
Materials and Supplies.
Be sure to compile a list of available resources using the Emergency Response Resource Requirements and Business Continuity Resource Requirements worksheets as a guide.
Preparing for an emergency, responding to an emergency, executing business recovery strategies and other activities require resources that come from outside the business. If there were a fire in the building, you would call the fire department. Contractors and vendors may be needed to prepare a facility for a forecast storm or to help repair and restore a building, systems or equipment following an incident.
The following external resources should be identified within plan documents. Include contact information to reach them during an emergency and any additional instructions within the preparedness plan.
Public Emergency Services.
Contractors and Vendors.