If you’re like most small business owners, you’re always looking for ways to lower your taxable income (legally of course). Here are five ways to do just that.

1. Deducting the Cost of a Home Computer

If you purchased a computer and use it for work-related purposes, you may be able to deduct the cost if you meet certain requirements: your computer must be used for convenience and as a condition of your employment, for instance, if you telecommute two days a week and work in the office the other three days.

Here’s another deduction you can take advantage of even if you don’t claim the home office deduction, is the Section 179 expense election, which allows you to write off new equipment in the year it was purchased if it is used for business more than 50 percent of the time (subject to certain rules).

2. Meal Expenses for Company Picnics and Holiday Parties

If you host a company picnic or holiday party–even if it is at your home–100 percent of your meal expenses are deductible. Starting in 2018, however, entertainment-related expenses are no longer deductible. Prior to tax reform legislation passed in late 2017, 50 percent of your business-related entertainment expenses (with some exceptions) were generally deductible. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

3. Deduct $25 for Business Gifts to Associates without a Receipt

Don’t overlook the deductible benefit of business gifts during the holidays or at any other time of the year. Whether you are a rank-and-file employee, a self-employed individual, or even a shareholder-employee in your own corporation, you can deduct the cost of gifts made to clients and other business associates as a business expense. The law limits your maximum deduction to $25 in value for each recipient for which the gift was purchased with cash.

4. Food Offered to the Public at a Seminar

If your business is a frequent trade show exhibitor (or you are in the business of “food”), you know that offering free food is a sure way to get people to visit your booth but did you know it’s also a tax write off? Typically associated with a promotional campaign, food offered to the public free of charge is 100 percent deductible.

5. Minimize your Tax Bill by Funding a Retirement Plan

As a self-employed small business owner, there are several retirement plan options available to you, but understanding which option is most advantageous to you can be confusing. The “best” option for you may depend on whether you have employees and how much you want to save each year.

There are four basic types of plans:

  • Traditional and Roth IRAS
  • Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plan and Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE)
  • Self-employed 401(k)
  • Qualified and Defined Benefit Plans

To make sure you are getting the most out of your financial future, contact the office to determine your eligibility and to figure out which plan is best for your tax situation.

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