In order to have a successful tax season, there must be year round planning to maximize your deductions in direct relation to the size and income of your small business. This means keeping the upcoming tax season in mind at all times, constantly looking for ways to decrease your bottom line while making the company more profitable.

Start-Up Expenses

The most commonly overlooked expense for small businesses to take advantage of during tax season is the one that got them where they are today – the expense of going into business. Capital expenses, the money used to pay for marketing, overhead and other related expenses, must be deducted over the first five years you are in business. One thing to remember is that these write-offs cannot be deducted before your doors are open and cash is beginning to flow through your business.

Continuing Education And Training

Any education related to your current business, can also be deducted. For instance, a veterinarian specializing in equine medicine can deduct the costs of attending a conference on new cancer treatments in horses. Because this course is related to the veterinarian’s field, the seminar is deductible from yearly taxes.  However, if the veterinarian specialized in small and domestic animals, the conference would not be deductible. There are strict rules to follow about which types of classes actually qualify for deductions.

Professional Service Fees

The fees charged by your accountant to do your taxes, are actually tax deductible. The only rule for this deduction is that if the work being done relates to future years, the deduction must be taken over the complete term of the benefit.  An example of this would be hiring an architect to help design a building that will take two years to construct. The fees for the architect must be spread over the two years in which the building is actually being constructed.

Bad Debts

If you are in the business of selling goods, and a customer doesn’t pay you for the goods you sold them, that debt is deductible.  However, businesses that provide services instead of goods cannot take this type of deduction because it would be difficult for the IRS to prove a bill was not “inflated” for services provided in order to claim larger deductions for the bad debts.

Other Deductible Expenses

There may be other expenses that are tax deductible in your business.  You can start by referring to the IRC § 162, which outlines different trade and business expenses. This section of the Internal Revenue Code is the basis for determining whether or not a taxable expense is deductible. If the wording is confusing, take the code to your tax accountant along with the expenses you are questioning. Your tax accountant will be able to point you in the right direction and clear up any confusion.

Don’t guess about your small business deductions.  Ask your tax accountant to be sure you’re handling every deductible properly on your small business tax return.