If you're running a personal business, whether you're selling products for another company in home parties, you sell homemade products on-line, or you're a freelance writer or photographer like me, you need to keep close fiscal records for each year's income tax. Keep track of both your earnings and your deductions, and save a receipt for everything.
Is it deductible?
Look at the checklist below to begin to brainstorm your upcoming deductions for this tax year. For each question that you answer "yes" you may have a tax deduction. (Always check with an accountant to be sure your deduction is eligible for your business.)
- Do you drive to your customers' homes to make sales, close deals, or show products?
- Do you collect money from customers, drive to the bank to deposit it into a bank account set up for your business, and then deduct money from that account to order the products for your customers? (Direct sales reps do this often.)
- Do you drive to the store to buy supplies for your business?
- Do you drive to business meetings or conferences?
- Do you drive to locations to do research for your business?
- Do you drive to office supply stores to make copies?
- Do you purchase items from your host company which you show to your customers as samples?
- Do you purchase basic office supplies?
- Do you have a computer that you use exclusively for your business?
- Do you purchase publications aimed at your business or that enhance your business? Do they provide information you use in your business?
- Do you send catalogs and flyers to your customers?
- Do you read books that are in the subject of your business?
- Do you display products from your business in your home?
- Do you purchase display products in your business?
- Do you take customers to lunch or dinner?
- Do you pay web fees for your business web page?
- Do you have a separate phone line used exclusively for your business?
- Do you pay dues for a professional organization?
- Do you ever travel to conventions, meetings, or events that charge admission?
- Do you ever pay for a hotel while at these events?
- Do you hire someone to help with an aspect of your business?
- Do you pay notary fees?
- Do you incur postage costs in your business?
About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at http://www.kellybutterbaugh.com