Four Often Overlooked Tax Reduction Strategies for Small Businesses

Entrepreneurs and small business owners have several deductions available to reduce their overall tax burden. This is especially important for smaller businesses, many of who are struggling to stay viable in today’s highly competitive marketplace. There are some deductions that many business owners fail to take advantage of. Here are four small business tax reduction strategies owners sometimes overlook: Business Tax Deduction

Deducting Business Meals: If you buy lunch during your workday, 50% of the cost of your meals may be deductible, if there is business done or discussed during lunch. If you have frequent meetings with your partners, associates and/or employees, one good tax reduction strategy is to have those meetings during lunch and make those meals 50% deductible. You may not believe this adds up to much, but if you spend $10 on lunch each day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year (assuming two weeks of vacation), you will have spent a total of $2500 on lunch during the year, $1250 of which could be deductible. Also, if you have any meetings at breakfast or dinner or while traveling for business, those meals may be deductible as well.

Deducting Health Care Premiums: Entrepreneurs that have an individual health plan (not a group plan with other partners or employees) can usually deduct health insurance premiums, provided the premiums are not already paid pre-tax or subsidized. To qualify, you must be a sole proprietor, partner in a partnership, member in an LLC, or shareholder in an S-corporation who owns at least 2% of company stock. Health insurance premiums can add up to as much as $10,000 per year or more, providing you and your family with a significant reduction in taxable income.

Use Airline Miles for Personal Rather than Business Use: Many business owners use credit cards that accumulate miles that can be used for airline tickets, then use the miles to reduce the cost of travel on business trips. Keep in mind, however, that business travel is tax deductible while personal travel is not. So, if you fly for both business and personal trips during the year, it is best to spend your miles on your non-business related trips and maximize the amount you can deduct for business travel.

Proactively Manage your Income Tax Brackets: There is a significant difference in the percentage of your income you will owe in taxes when you move from one bracket to the next. For example, if your taxable income is between $50,001 and $75,000, your tax rate is 25%. However, if your taxable income is between $75,001 and $100,000, your tax rate goes up to 34%. So at the margins, a small increase of $1000 in your income (say from $74,500 to $75,500) can cost you over $7000 in taxes!

Pay very close attention to your income throughout the year, and speak regularly with your tax professional about ways to reduce taxable income, particularly if you are close to moving into a higher tax bracket.

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