As your business grows and makes more money, you’ll likely find yourself with a growing list of expenses as well. Luckily, the government helps out small business owners (well … a little bit 😉 ) by allowing us to write off things that are necessary or make business much easier. Too often, business owners forget these things are deductible, and in doing so they’re leaving hundreds–or even thousands!–of dollars on the table.
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All those trips across town to Target or the Post Office for work-related errands add up! Don’t forget to keep track of your mileage throughout the year to take advantage of this write-off. Every year, the IRS sets a mileage reimbursement rate. As of 2019, it’s .58/mile. Multiply this by your annual mileage, and that equals money back in your pocket.
But remember: while you can write off business drives, you can’t write off what would be considered your commute, or driving from your home to your primary business address.
So why do so many people overlook mileage as a business expense? It can feel really overwhelming to know how to track it all. I love the app MileIQ for this reason. It makes it incredibly easy to track drives that can be filed under business expenses, and forget the ones that can’t.
2. Business Travel
Headed out of town for a meeting or appointment? Flying somewhere fun for a conference? That’s all tax deductible!
Every few months, I get together with a group of women to workshop, dream, and plan for our businesses. My plane ticket, lodging, Uber rides and car rentals are all things that can be written off come tax time. These things are super easy to track as long as you have a separate business checking account or credit card.
3. Office Supplies
This is quite the catch-all category, because honestly, there are so many different kinds of office expenses! Printer ink, paper, office furniture and decor … there’s even a home office deduction if your office is based out of your house.
4. Shipping & Postal Fees
If you frequent the post office sending packages to clients or colleagues, those expenses are write-offs as well. Whether you’re picking up stamps or shipping something that requires more cash, make sure you’re keeping track of all the things you need to send in via the mail, UPS or FedEx.
In my opinion, this is one of the best tax write-off opportunities for small business owners! Start putting together a budget for your business and make sure that there is a line item for continuing your education! Whether you join a mastermind, buy a course, invest in a mentorship … all these things can be written off at the end of the year and are incredible ways to keep learning and growing.
As you begin to scale your business, the amount of subscriptions you end up with–either out of necessity or just to make things easier–is insane. Luckily, these are tax deductible as well.
For example, I subscribe to a CRM (Dubsado), a photo delivery service (CloudSpot), computer backup (CrashPlan), photo editing and design software (Adobe Creative Cloud), video editing software (Animoto), email marketing software (Flodesk), stock photography (Haute Stock), and probably a few dozen more that I’m missing … and all are considered business expenses.
Every couple months I’ll do an audit of my subscriptions to make sure I’m only paying for what I need, because these can definitely add up. But it’s reassuring knowing that since they are necessary business expenses, my checkbook will be hurting a little bit less at tax time.
7. Phone & Internet
The business portion of both your cell phone and Internet bill can be written off–great news if you’re often working from home like me! Don’t qualify for that home office deduction I mentioned earlier? No worries–you can actually still deduct your phone and Internet whether you have a home office or not.
To calculate this, you’ll need to determine the percentage that you typically use your cell phone and Internet for business use. I always chat with my accountant about my habits to make the best call for my business.