Tax Deductions For the Self-Employed and other Job Related Deductions

If you own a small business or home based business, you can deduct just about all of your business expenses. Here are some to keep in mind:
  • Office supplies
  • Postage
  • Shipping supplies
  • Tools & materials
  • Work uniforms (not suitable for every day wear)
  • Safety equipment (hardhats, safety glasses, etc.)
  • Advertising/promotional costs
  • Computer & internet
  • Cell phone (used primarily for business) And long distance business calls, and a separate business line at your home.
  • Business dinners & entertainment costs (up to 50%, and you must specify purpose of the dinner and what clients were in attendance)
  • If you have a home office which takes up 10% of your home and is used primarily for you business, you can deduct 10% of your electricity & utility bills.
  • Books, Magazines, and Journals pertaining to your business.
  • Education/training courses relevant to your buisiness.
  • Liscensing & dues paid to states, your chamber of commerce, etc.
  • Gasoline & vehicle maintenance, if you use your vehicle for your business.
  • Business trip costs.
  • Business gifts up to $25 per client.
  • Office space rent
  • Insurance for business, health insurance premiums, and auto insurance (for business owners who use their car/truck as a primary component to their business)

If you are not self-employed but your employer requires that you own a cell phone, PDA, or a home computer for you job, you may also be able to deduct the costs of these items, as well as home office expenses if you are required to take work home with you. You can also deduct costs for tools, work uniforms (not suitable for daily wear) and other job expenses that are not compensated by your employment

Additionally, if you have been unemployed and actively seeking employment, you may be eligible for deductions.

  • Costs to prepare resumes and portfolios
  • Newspapers & other publications that you purchase to read employment ads
  • Costs to advertise your services in the newspaper
  • Long distance calls to prospective employers
  • Travel costs to go for an interview that is out of your area.
  • Fees paid to employment agencies

Taxes: The Basic Info

This week, I’m focusing on taxes….yes, the dreaded T word that strikes fear and doom into the hearts of man, woman, and child. For those lucky ones of you who have already filed your taxes, well done! Unfortunately, I know there are still a lot of us out there who have not yet filed, and many will even apply for an extension because they can’t meet the April 15 deadline. But hopefully after reading a few posts with tips on the subject we can all get our taxes prepared and filed in a timely manner without all the stress and worry.

For this first post, we’ll start with some basic information.

IRS.GOV – One of the best resources to look at for tax information is the official website of the IRS. Their website contains all the forms that you’ll need to fill out your taxes. It also tells you all of the basic rules/laws that you need to know about when filing your returns. It includes links where you can file your taxes electronically and outlines the options that you have for filing and paying your taxes at your convenience. Additonally you’ll find information about tax deductions and credits and just about anything you need to know about taxes.

Filing online – There are a number of ways in which you can file your taxes online. Check out all your efiling options by clicking here. Some people “fear” efiling, but if you have basic computers skills, there is nothing to be afraid of, beacuse the system tells you exactly what you need to do. (all you have to do is have all your paperwork organized and ready to go) My husband is no accountant by any means, and he was able to use the system to fill out our taxes last year. It only takes a little time, and the cost to file is no more than what you would pay an accountant. In fact, if your adjusted gross income was less than $54,000 then you can file online for free at freefile.

Tax Tips for 2008 -The IRS site lists a lot of important tips on tax credits & deducations which you may find helpful. This page also includes a link to info. on making sure that you get our “stimulus” payment.

Deadlines, extrensions, ect. – The best way to avoid the stress and worry over taxes is to file early. Plan a day right now to do your taxes, or call your accountant today to set up an appointment. The fastest and easiest way to file is to file electronically. (this is also the best way to ensure that your get your return/rebate in a timely manner.)

If you know that you won’t have your taxes done by April 15, file for an extension. But keep in mind that if you apply for an extension and you owe tax money, you will have to pay interest. You may also use a credit card for your payment, but your credit card company will charge you a convenience fee, and you should not pay your taxes with a credit card unless you will be able to pay the balance on the card within the next month. If you file your taxes and discover that you owe more than you can afford to pay right now, you can apply to pay your taxes in an installment plan. However, For more info, read How to Avoid Tax Time Problems.

Avoid Scammers & Identity Theft– A few weeks ago I got an email in my inbox about paying my taxes by clicking a link in the email. If you get an email like this, you should delete and report it immediately. Do not reply to these emails or click the links within them. Remember, the IRS will never contact you through email or through the telephone. Never give out your SSN or tax id to anyone. More info.

**In our next few posts, I’ll have have a list of tax credits & deductions that are often overlooked or forgotten (and some that you may not even know about), as well as some links to other tax info. sources.**
**I’ll also have some tips for organizing your tax information for this current tax season & tips on how you can create a system for organizing all your receipts year round (making for an easy tax season in 2009). In the organizing posts, I’ll include an outline of the system I use for my husband’s business, which can be applied to individuals and households.**