This year’s tax deadline of April 15, 2013, is fast approaching, and many of you as business opportunity, franchise and other small business owners are in a last-minute crunch to report in to Uncle Sam on schedule. Just make sure you take some time to do your homework. Otherwise, you run the risk of missing out on a number of potentially lucrative tax write-offs, many of which the IRS would be all too happy to have you forget about, and here they are:
Startup costs—The costs of launching your own small business are considered capital expenses and can be deducted up to a certain amount.
Marketing—Virtually anything you do to build your customer base and your brand recognition—from business cards to sponsorships in your community and even your professional association dues—is tax deductible.
New equipment—Some small businesses may be able to deduct the full cost of some assets in the year they buy them, as opposed to capitalizing them. There is also a first-year bonus depreciation deduction in effect for this tax year.
Educational expenses—Any activity you engaged in this year to either maintain or improve your business acumen, including seminars, classes and convention fees, can be written off your taxes.
Home office—Just because the simplified home office deduction doesn’t kick in until next year doesn’t mean it isn’t worth getting this year’s write-off. If your home office is exclusively used for business, you need to do the math and get your due.
Mileage and similar expenses—Faced with either deducting your actual auto expenses versus mileage for business-related driving, go for the mileage. You will save more given gas prices are so high. Plus, don’t miss out on the opportunity to deduct such common expenses as business-related entertainment and meals. If you need to move for business purposes, the costs of doing so may also be deductible.
Thieves and deadbeats—Losses you incur as a result of either theft or money you are owed by others are also tax deductible.
Interest—The interest and fees you pay when you use credit to finance your small business purchases are tax-deductible, as is the interest on any personal loan you use for similar purposes.
Health insurance—If you provide your employees with health insurance, you need to look into taking the small-business health care tax credit. Studies show that only a fraction of small-business owners who are currently eligible to take it are doing so.
Tax prep—And last, but certainly not least, the cost of doing your taxes—even if it means paying someone else to do it—is also a write-off, so make sure you keep track of any legal, professional or other associated costs, including do-it-yourself software programs.
For the most up-to-date information on preparing your taxes this year, go to the IRS’ Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center now!
What other tax write-offs do you think small business owners often miss? Are there any resources you’ve found to be particularly helpful in preparing your small-business tax return? What secrets and tips can you share when it comes to efficient and affordable tax-return preparation? We’d like to hear from you…