Running a small business can be challenging, especially when it comes to managing your finances and staying on top of your tax obligations. However, one area where small businesses often leave money on the table is in the realm of tax deductions and credits. These valuable tax breaks can significantly reduce your tax liability and improve your bottom line. In this article, we’ll explore commonly overlooked tax deductions and credits that can benefit small businesses, regardless of their location.
If you operate your small business from a dedicated home office space, you may be eligible for the home office deduction. This deduction allows you to write off a portion of your home expenses, such as rent or mortgage interest, utilities, and property taxes, based on the square footage of your office compared to your home’s total area. Just make sure to maintain accurate records and ensure that your home office meets the IRS criteria for eligibility.
Starting a new business often comes with significant upfront costs. Fortunately, the IRS offers deductions for these expenses. You can deduct up to $5,000 in business startup costs in the year your business begins operations, with the remainder amortized over the next 15 years. These expenses can include legal fees, consulting fees, marketing costs, and more.
The Section 179 deduction allows small businesses to deduct the cost of qualifying equipment and property purchases in the year they are placed in service, rather than depreciating them over time. For 2023, $1,160,000 of assets can be expensed, making this deduction a valuable way to offset income.
If you use a vehicle for business purposes, you can deduct certain vehicle expenses, such as mileage, fuel, and maintenance, using either the standard mileage rate or actual expenses method. Again, always make sure to keep detailed records of your business-related travel to substantiate your deductions.
The Research and Development (R&D) tax credit is often overlooked by small businesses. It provides a tax credit for businesses that engage in qualifying research and development activities, such as developing new products or improving existing ones. Don’t assume that R&D credits are only for tech companies; they can apply to a wide range of industries.
Offering employee benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and educational assistance can benefit both your employees and your business. These benefits are often tax-deductible, and some may even qualify for tax credits. Check with your tax advisor to ensure you’re taking full advantage of available tax incentives for employee benefits.
Contributing to a retirement plan, such as a SEP-IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or 401(k), can reduce your taxable income while helping you save for retirement. Many small business retirement plans allow for significant contributions, providing both immediate tax benefits and long-term financial security.
If you offer a high-deductible health plan to your employees, they may be eligible to contribute to an HSA. Contributions to HSAs are tax-deductible and can help employees cover medical expenses tax-free.
Small businesses that invest in energy-efficient improvements, such as energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems, or solar panels, may be eligible for tax credits or deductions. These not only reduce your environmental footprint but also save you money in the long run.
Investing in your own education or that of your employees can have tax benefits. You may be able to deduct expenses related to continuing education or training that is directly related to your business. Stay informed about available educational deductions and credits.
It’s important to note that tax laws and regulations change, so it’s crucial to consult with a qualified tax professional or accountant to ensure you’re taking advantage of all available deductions and credits that apply to your specific situation. Additionally, keeping meticulous records and documentation is essential to support your claims in case of an audit.
Small businesses have a multitude of tax deductions and credits at their disposal, many of which are commonly overlooked. Taking advantage of these tax breaks can help reduce your tax liability, improve your cash flow, and ultimately contribute to your business’s success. While the tax code can be complex, don’t let these opportunities slip through the cracks. Be proactive, seek professional guidance, and make the most of the tax deductions and credits available to your small business, regardless of your location.
Check out our previous blog post How To Save For Your Child’s College Fund. In addition, if you need personalized financial advice, our team is always here to help—contact us today to book an appointment!