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.