Top tax write offs for self employed
Paying extra taxes to be your own boss is no fun. The good news is that the self-employment tax will cost you less than you might think because you get to deduct half of your self-employment tax from your net income.
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Remember, you're paying the first 7. Keep reading on this in Top 4 Financial Jobs You Can Do From Home and Should You Incorporate Your Business?
Home Office The link click to see more deduction is one of the more complex deductions. In short, the cost of any workspace that you use regularly and exclusively for your business, regardless of whether you rent or own it, can be deducted as a home office expense. You are basically on the honor system, but you should be prepared to defend your deduction in the event of an audit.
Top tax write offs for self employed way to do this is to prepare a diagram of your workspace, with accurate measurements, in case you are required to submit this information to substantiate your deduction. For more information on what is required for an audit, see Surviving the IRS Audit. The expenses you can deduct for your home office include the business percentage of deductible mortgage interesthome depreciationproperty taxesutilities, homeowners insurance and home maintenance that you pay during the year. For more, see How to Qualify for the Home-Office Tax Deduction and Creating a Home Business Work Space.
You have two choices for calculating your home office deduction: The standard method requires you to calculate your actual home office expenses.
The simplified option lets you multiply an IRS-determined rate by your home office square footage. To use the simplified option, your home office must not be larger than square feet, and you cannot deduct here or home-related itemized deductions.
If you choose the standard method, calculate the deduction using IRS formExpenses for Business Use of Your Home.
Internet and Phone Regardless of whether you claim the home office deduction, you can deduct your business phone, fax and internet expenses. The key is to only deduct the expenses directly related to your business. If you have only one phone, you shouldn't deduct your entire monthly bill, which includes both personal and business use.
You should only deduct costs that specifically relate to your business. Health Insurance Premiums If you are self-employed, pay for your own health insurance premiumsand were not eligible to participate in a plan through your spouse's employer, you can deduct all of your health, dental and qualified long-term care insurance premiums.
Calculate the deduction using the Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction Worksheet in IRS publication For more, see Buying Private Health Insurance. Meals A meal is a tax-deductible business expense when you are traveling for business or entertaining a client. You might be able to, but tread carefully: The IRS has numerous restrictions on claiming the business entertainment tax deduction. For starters, you must conduct business with the person you are entertaining during, immediately before or here after the event.
Keep your receipts, too.
If you use equipment for both home and business, consult IRS Publication"How to Depreciate Property," to see if depreciation applies in your case. Remember, any time you're not sure whether a cost is a legitimate business expense, ask yourself, "Is this an ordinary and necessary expense in my line of work? Remember to include gas, repairs and insurance. Perkins also mentioned subscriptions to trade or professional publications and donations to business organizations, both of which are frequently necessary for the continuation and growth of your business. Office Supplies — Non-depreciable business items may be deducted as standard business expenses, assuming they are purchased only top tax write offs for self employed your business. Credit card interest is not tax deductible when you incur the interest for personal purchases, but when it interest applies to business purchases, it is tax deductible. Put it on a business credit card.
Travel Meals and entertainment are often intertwined with another tax deductible expense: To qualify, it must last longer than an ordinary workday, require you to get sleep or rest, and take place away from the general area of your tax home usually, outside the city where your business is located. Further, to be considered a business trip, you should have employde specific business purpose planned before you leave home, and you must actually engage in business activity — such as finding new customers, meeting with clients or learning new skills directly related to your business — while you are on the road.
Keep complete and accurate records and receipts for your business travel expenses and activities, as this deduction often draws attention from the IRS.
Deductible travel expenses include the cost of transportation to and from your destination such as plane farethe cost of transportation at your destination such as a car rental, Uber fare or subway ticketslodging and meals. Car When you use your car for business, your expenses for those drives are tax deductible. You can calculate your deduction using either the standard mileage rate determined annually by the IRS or your actual expenses. The standard mileage rate is the easiest because it requires minimal click here keeping and calculation.
Just write down the business miles you drive and the dates you drive them. Then, multiply your total annual business miles by the standard mileage rate 54 cents per mile for This amount is your deductible expense. To use the actual expense method, you must calculate the percentage of driving you did for business all year as well as the total cost of operating your car, including gas, oil changes, registration fees, repairs and car insurance. Interest Interest on a business loan from a bank is a tax-deductible business expense.
Credit card interest is not tax deductible when you click at this page the interest for personal purchases, but when it interest applies to business purchases, it is tax deductible. That said, it's always cheaper to spend only the money you already have and not incur any interest expenses at all. A tax deduction only gives you some of your money back, not all of it, so try top tax write offs for self employed avoid borrowing money.
Publications and Subscriptions The cost of specialized magazines, journals and books directly related to your business is tax deductible. Learn more about paying for college in Invest in Yourself with a College Education and Pay for College Without Selling a Kidney. The Best Self-Employed Tax Deduction of All One deduction in particular can make going into business for yourself particularly profitable: Contributions to SEP-IRAsSIMPLE IRAs and solo k s reduce your tax bill now and help you rack up tax-deferred investment gains for later.
Contributions limits vary by plan type, and the IRS adjusts the maximums annually.
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To keep reading about these plans, see k Plans for the Small Business Owner and Top Retirement Strategies for Freelancers. The Bottom Line Most small business tax deductions are more complicated than this brief overview describes — we are talking about the tax code, after all — but now you have a good introduction to the basics. Remember, any time you're not sure whether a cost is a legitimate business expense, ask yourself, "Is this an ordinary and necessary expense in my line of work?
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If the answer is no, don't take the deduction. To read more about common deductions, see The Most Overlooked Tax Deductions. And see Tax Planning for the latest on all your taxes.