Just when you feel like you’ve recovered from the rush and hubbub of the holidays, tax season is right around the corner. And when you run a small business out of your home, it can be hard to figure out what forms you need to fill out, what pieces of documentation are necessary and a myriad of other important details. One of the thorniest issues for many small business owners (after actually buckling down to DO the dreaded taxes, of course) is figuring out what expenses are deductible.
What Business Expenses Are Deductible?
It can be extremely confusing to separate deductible from non-deductible business expenses. Some things may seem like they should be deductible but are not, and it may surprise you to discover some expenses are deductible. Here’s a short list of some of the most common home business expenses that may be deductible:
• Office equipment
• Property rental or purchase
• Space in your home that is used exclusively for business
• Company vehicle
• Telecommunications, such as phone and internet
• Advertising and promotional expenses
• Employee expenses, such as salaries and retirement contributions
• Professional development
According to Nolo, deductible expenses must be what the IRS considers “ordinary and necessary”. For example, a dedicated phone line for your business is both ordinary and necessary. But the purchase of a companion pet for your office, even if Fido boosts morale, is probably not! There are countless expenditures businesses make, so it’s wise to read up on what’s deductible and what isn’t so you don’t accidentally run afoul of the IRS.
Get it Right: Who Will Prepare Your Taxes?
If you’re filing your own taxes, make sure you have as much help as you need. There are several do-it-yourself tax filing programs you can buy for your computer that walk you through the process. They make it much easier for you because they do all the calculations, and also remind you about additional forms you may need to complete for your federal, state and personal taxes. The IRS has published dozens (if not hundreds) of articles covering every small business topic you can imagine.
If the thought of dealing with taxes makes you queasy, ask your virtual assistant to research the best local tax preparer for you. She can also organize your business documents and receipts for you. All you will need to do is sign the forms and pay the preparer. And delegating this stressful task will eliminate the need for one more expense: antacids!
If you need help getting your receipts and documents organized for your taxes, let me know. I can help.
© Copyright 2014 Sophie Zollmann