By Terri Seymour
1. Keep Organized – Always keep records and receipts of all your purchases, expenses, and income. Keep papers categorized and filed. A lot of records can be kept and organized electronically as well.
2. Home Office Deduction – If you have a room in your home that is used only for your business, you can deduct a portion of your home’s expenses. With a home office, you can deduct a portion of your mortgage, utilities, and home repairs. You can use Form 8829 to figure out your home office deduction and add it to your Form 1040 Schedule C.
3. Donate to Charity – You can deduct cash and property donations, but you must keep impeccable records on all items. For example: if you donate over $5000.00 in a non-cash property, you must have it appraised in writing for fair market value. If you donate over $500.00 in non-cash items, you must use Form 8283.
4. Mileage Log – If you use your vehicle to go see clients, or for other business purposes, be sure to keep a mileage log. Record the date, the destination, the purpose of the trip, the mileage from your odometer at the start and end of the trip.
5. Hire Your Kids – If your kids are over 6, you can hire them to help you with your home business. This is good for the kids as well as helping with your taxes. The wages you pay them are tax free if the kids are under 18, and they are deductible business expenses for you.
6. Telephone Deduction – If you only have one phone in your home, you cannot deduct it as a business expense, because it is not used exclusively for your business. You may deduct long distance charges that are made for your business, but you might want to consider getting a second line used only for your business.
7. Training and Information – If you take classes, attend seminars, or further your education to help you with your business, those expenses can be deducted. You can also deduct business-related books, newspapers, and other publications.
8. Mailing Expenses – If you send greeting cards to your clients and prospects, they can be deducted as business expenses. You can also deduct the postage. If you purchased email addresses or mailing lists for your business, they can be deducted as well.
9. Website Expenses – Web hosting, domain name, and software are all deductible expenses. If you paid someone to design your site, don’t forget that in your business expenses.
10. Health Expenses – If you have non-reimbursed health costs, these can be used as tax deductions. This includes insurance premiums, co-pays, and other health related expenses.
The information provided in this article is based on general online research so be sure to check out all new tax laws and/or consult a professional. HBM
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