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What expenses can I use for deductions in my business?

    Published October 7, 2023 – Navigating the financial terrain of running a business can be as challenging as it is rewarding. As a business owner, one key aspect you’ll want to master is understanding the expenses that can be used for deductions. Deductible expenses are a lifeline for your business’s financial health, as they can significantly reduce your taxable income and, consequently, your tax liability.

    Table of Contents

    Home Office Expenses
    Rent or Lease
    Meals and Entertainment
    Advertising and Marketing
    Office Supplies and Equipment
    Employee Salaries and Benefits
    Legal and Professional Services

    In this exploration, we will delve into the intricate world of business expenses and deductions. We will demystify the complex tax code, shedding light on the various types of expenses that can be legitimately claimed as deductions for your business. From operating costs like rent and utilities to employee salaries and travel expenses, we’ll help you identify the deductions that can optimize your bottom line while keeping your financial records in compliance with tax regulations.

    So, if you’re ready to uncover the secrets of smart expense management and maximize your business’s financial efficiency, join us as we embark on this journey through the realm of deductible business expenses. Your wallet—and your business—will thank you.

    Home Office Expenses:

    Percentage Deduction: The percentage of your home used exclusively for business purposes can be deducted. This is typically calculated based on square footage.

    The prescribed rate of tax deduction for home office expenses is $5 per square foot and the deductible tax is capped at 300 square feet. So, if your area is 300 square foot your deductible tax would be calculated as:

    300 sq. ft. X $5 = $1500

    Rent or Lease Expenses:

    Percentage Deduction: You can deduct the full cost of renting or leasing a business property. If the tax payer is using his house for business purposes, then his deducted tac will be calculated by the formula:

    Area of the business ÷ Area of the house

    If the whole house is in use, you are allowed to write off the whole tax amount.

    Utilities (for Business Location):

    Percentage Deduction: You can deduct the portion of your utility bills that corresponds to the space used for business. If you use 50% of your house for business purposes, you can deduct your tax by 50% of your utilities total bill.

    Basically, the percentage of deductible tax is the same as the percentage of the house area used for business purposes.

    Travel Expenses:

    Percentage Deduction: Travel expenses are typically deductible based on the portion of the trip dedicated to business activities. If the trip is entirely for business purposes, you can deduct the whole tax amount. This includes travel by plane, train or bus. Even if you rent a car there to move around and meet officials, you can write that off as well. Some other fees, you can write off while traveling are:

    • Baggage fees
    • Laundry and dry cleaning during your trip
    • Rental car costs
    • Hotel and Airbnb costs
    • 50% of eligible business meals
    • 50% of meals while traveling to and from your destination

    Meals and Entertainment:

    Percentage Deduction: Generally, you can deduct 50% of eligible meal and entertainment expenses incurred while conducting business. However, it does have one condition, which is that it should clarify the intent of the business you conducted while ordering the food. So keep the receipts tracked with the nature of business conducted otherwise if you cannot justify the business, it might not get written off.

    Advertising and Marketing Expenses:

    Percentage Deduction: You can usually deduct the full cost of advertising and marketing expenses, under one condition that the cost must be ordinary and necessary, which basically means, it should either be a cost accepted as advertisement cost by the industry or necessary that without the cost, the business could not be conducted.

    Office Supplies and Equipment:

    Percentage Deduction: You can deduct the full cost of office supplies and equipment, subject to depreciation rules for larger items. However, it is necessary that you keep a record of when they are used, also the inventory is maintained, or it doesn’t reduce your total income significantly.

    Employee Salaries and Benefits:

    Percentage Deduction: You can deduct the full tax amount of salaries and benefits paid to employees. It is essential that you are registered as a business owner or a contractor, or you will not be eligible for the deductions.

    Legal and Professional Services:

    Percentage Deduction: You can typically deduct the full cost of legal and professional services related to your business. Just like advertisement and marketing deductibles, this can also be deducted only if the services performed are ordinary or necessary.

    Insurance Premiums:

    Percentage Deduction: You can generally deduct the full cost of business insurance premiums. In case, you purchase something that is used for personal and business both, then you can divide the cost appropriately and write off only the percentage that is used for business.

    Contributor: Ivonne Hong