Organizing your small business taxes

Tracking Business Expenses

writing checkBy Sara Pedersen

Are you taking advantage of all the deductible business expenses available to you as a small business owner? Some expense categories for a professional organizer may include the following, but consult an accountant for a complete list of deductible expenses unique to your business.
  • advertising (printing marketing materials, Google AdWords, print advertisements, etc.)
  • car expenses (mileage OR repair expense if used exclusively for business purposes)
  • dues for professional organizations (like NAPO, POC, or ICD)
  • gifts for clients up to a max of $25 per person
  • educational materials and classes specific to your job (books and magazines on organizing, webinars, teleclasses, conference fees)
  • home office (may include portion of utilities)
  • internet services, business phone expenses, web site hosting and domain names 
  • insurance for your business
  • interest and fees on business-only credit cards, bank service charges
  • legal and professional services (accountant, lawyer, marketing consultant, etc.)
  • office expenses, small equipment and furnishings
  • supplies
  • taxes and licenses
  • travel and meals related to business
Be sure to save receipts for all purchases. Highlight the date, price, and type of product/service on each receipt. You can file them in an expandable wallet folder, group them by month or type of expense in separate 6x9 envelopes, or stack them neatly in a box. Or go paperless by scanning them with a product likeNeatReceipts. There are many ways to store receipts, and you'll need to determine which method works best for you. The most important thing is to have a system so everything stays organized throughout the year. You might check out some of the newest apps that allow you track your business expenses right from your smart phone or tablet. XpenseTracker is one to try.

If you have a separate space within your home that you use solely for business purposes (your home office), you may want to investigate the home office deduction. It can be a great money-saver. And when you claim the home office deduction, you can claim the miles driven from your home to a client's or other business stop. (If you don't claim your office as a deduction, you cannot claim business miles starting at your home as that is considered "commute" miles.) 

Remember that you need to formally track your business mileage in a log book or computer program like Excel or Quickbooks. Or consider one of the easy-to-use apps for your smartphone. Search for "mileage log" to find apps such as MileBug, which can even automatically calculate your mileage using GPS technology!

When in doubt, consult an accountant for full details. Even if you do your own taxes each year, it might be worth it to schedule a consultation with a CPA to make sure you're maximizing all potential deductions.

Copyright 2012 Time to Organize® LLC

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