7 Ways to Reduce Small Business Taxes

For most taxpayers, once the April 15 filing deadline has comes and goes, that is the last time they think about taxes until the following January at the earliest. For small businesses, however, taxes are an ongoing concern. Most small businesses are required to pay estimated quarterly taxes, and they are also responsible to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes in full. Tax Shelter

Though taxes can be a large burden for small businesses, there are many ways to reduce your tax liability. The key is to know what deductions you can take advantage of and to keep well-organized and accurate records in the event of an audit. This means you cannot afford to wait until next April to figure this out; the time to get started is now.

Toward that end, here are 7 deductions that can help keep your small business taxes to a minimum and maximize your bottom line:

  1. Home Office: Many businesses these days are mobile or conduct commerce online without the need for a retail office. If you are one of those businesses and are based out of your home, you are allowed to claim a home office deduction. There are two ways to calculate the home office deduction. The old way is to measure the square footage used for business and divide that by the total square footage in your home. Based on the percent of square footage used for the home office, you can deduct this same percentage for rent, mortgage, insurance and utilities. The IRS now offers an easier way; simply multiply the number of square feet used for business (up to a maximum of 300 square feet) by $5 and this is the amount you can deduct.
  2. Furnishings, Equipment and Supplies: All items you purchase that are related to your business can be deducted. This could include furniture such as chairs and desks, equipment such as computers and printers and office supplies such as paper and ink cartridges. Again, make sure to keep accurate records of each purchase in case you ever need to prove it.
  3. Mileage: Business miles can be deducted at a rate of 56 cents per mile as of 2014. The best way to track this is to buy a mileage log book and write down the beginning and ending miles and destination of each business-related trip. Later, enter these numbers into your preferred record keeping software at least once a month or more ideally once a week.
  4. Travel, Meals and Entertainment: Out of town business travel is also tax deductible. The cost of flights, buses, trains or any other modes of transportation as well as hotel rooms are fully deductible. Meals and entertainment are 50% deductible. Also, if you are attending any kind of paid business conference or seminar, don’t forget to deduct the full cost of admission as well.
  5. Software and Subscriptions: If you use computers or other types of electronic devices in your business, you may have subscriptions for anti-virus/anti-malware programs, data recovery services and other forms of digital security. Any software or subscription used to conduct business is tax deductible.
  6. Retirement Plan Contributions: If you do not have a SEP IRA or Keogh plan for your small business, you should. A SEP IRA for example allows you to contribute up to 25% of your pre-tax income up to a maximum of $53,000 for 2015. That is a lot of tax-deferred savings you can put away for retirement! This not only has the potential to place you into a lower tax bracket today, it is also likely you will be taxed at a lower rate on this money during retirement as well.
  7. Self-Employment Taxes: Remember the Social Security and Medicare taxes we talked about earlier? The bad news is you are responsible to pay 100% of these, which currently amounts to 15.3% of your net income. The good news is you are allowed to deduct these self-employment taxes on you income tax, thus lowering your taxable income even further.

Depending on the type of business you are in, there are numerous other potential tax deductions you can take advantage of. To ensure your business is fully maximizing all available tax savings, it is always best to speak with a small business accounting firm.

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