Tax Deductions For Small Business

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Tax Deductions For Small
Business
by Tax Attorney Frederick W. Daily
June 2000
An Important Message to Our Readers
This product provides information and general advice about the law. But laws and
procedures change frequently, and they can be interpreted differently by different
people. For specific advice geared to your situation, consult an expert. No book, soft-
ware or other published material is a substitute for personalized advice from a knowl-
edgeable lawyer licensed to practice law in your state.
Copyright © June 2000 by Frederick W. Daily. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this
publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form
or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without
prior written permission.

Contents
A. What Is Tax-Deductible in Business? ........................................................................................................ 3
B. Current or Capitalized Expense? ............................................................................................................... 5
C. Special Deduction Rules .......................................................................................................................... 6
D. How and Where Deductions Are Claimed ............................................................................................. 17
E. Writing Off Business Assets .................................................................................................................... 19
F. Expensing Business Assets: IRC Section 179 ........................................................................................... 24
G. Depreciating Business Assets .................................................................................................................. 28
H. Depreciating Some Typical Business Assets ........................................................................................... 33
I. Leasing Instead of Buying Assets ............................................................................................................ 35

TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
“There is nothing sinister in arranging one’s
—if you follow the myriad of tax rules. This guide
affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible … for
deals with the best ways to get the biggest business
nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the
expense deduction bang for your buck.
law demands.”
— Judge Learned Hand
1. Business Operating Expenses
Every small business owner wants to know I promise not to burden you with a lot of tax code
how to legally minimize his or her tax
sections, but hear me out on this one. IRC § 162 is
obligations. The key is understanding tax-
the cornerstone for determining the tax-deductibility
deductible expenses and business assets, which are
of every business expenditure. It is fairly lengthy,
explained in this guide. Sections A through D dis-
but the first hundred or so words are the key:
cuss everyday expenses that your business can de-
“Internal Revenue Code § 162. ‘Trade or business
duct, and Sections E through I discuss business as-
expenses.’
sets that are written off over time.
“(a) In general. There shall be allowed as a
deduction all the ordinary and necessary expenses
paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying
on any trade or business, including
Tax-Deductible Expenses in a Nutshell
“(1) a reasonable allowance for salaries or other
compensation for personal services actually rendered;
1. Just about any expense that helps a business is
“(2) traveling expenses (including amounts
tax-deductible as long as it is ordinary, neces-
expended for meals and lodging other than amounts
sary and reasonable.
which are lavish or extravagant under the circum-
2. Some business outlays can be deducted in the
stances) while away from home in the pursuit of a
year they are paid. (They are called “current
trade or business; and
expenses.”) Other expenditures must be
“(3) rentals or other payments required to be
capitalized—that is, spread out and deducted
made as a condition to the continued use or
over several future years.
possession, for purposes of the trade or business, of
property to which the taxpayer has not taken or is
not taking title or in which he has no equity.”
Section 162 goes on—and on—but the rest of it
A. What Is Tax-Deductible
deals with specific items that can’t be deducted.
in Business?
Other code sections contain specific rules for de-
ducting purchases of assets used in your business—
How tax savvy a businessperson you are has a great
machinery, cars and a thousand other things. We’ll
effect on how much money is in your pocket at the
get to asset write-offs starting in Section E. Right
end of the year. I am sure you know that the tax
now we are focusing on the day-to-day operating
code allows you to deduct costs of doing business
expenses of a business.
from your gross income. What you are left with is
In most cases, a legitimate business expense
your net business profit. This is the amount that
under IRC § 162 is obvious. In some cases, such as
gets taxed.
outlays for travel, the IRS provides specific instruc-
So knowing how to maximize your deductible
tions for determining whether or not an expense is
business expenses lowers your taxable profit. To
“ordinary and necessary.” This is often done through
boot, you may enjoy a personal benefit from a busi-
various IRS publications (“pubs”) and “regulations”
ness expenditure—a nice car to drive, a combination
mentioned above and noted throughout this guide.
business trip/vacation and a retirement savings plan
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TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Like the rest of the tax code, IRC § 162 is far
The laugh test. Tax pros frequently rely on
from crystal clear. Starting with the meaning of
the “laugh test”: Can you put down an
“ordinary and necessary,” we suspect that things
expense for business without laughing about putting
could go wrong for us. The tax code doesn’t define
one over on the IRS? In the example above, the Tax
either “ordinary” or “necessary.” Instead, myriads of
Court laughed the accountant and his yacht out of
federal courts have tried to figure out what Congress
court.
intended and apply it to a particular set of facts.
“Ordinary” has been held by courts to mean “normal,
common and accepted under the circumstances by
2. Large Expenses
the business community.” “Necessary” means
“appropriate and helpful.” Taken together, the legal
Because the IRS knows that people don’t intention-
consensus is that “ordinary and necessary” refers to
ally overpay for anything, amounts paid aren’t
the purpose for which an expense is made. For in-
usually questioned. However, IRS auditors some-
stance, renting office space is ordinary and necessary
times object to expenditures deemed unreasonably
for many business folks, but it is neither unless it is
large under the circumstances.
actually used in running an enterprise for profit.
While the tax code itself contains no “too big”
Given these broad legal guidelines, it is not
limitation, courts have ruled that it is inherent in
surprising that some folks have tried to push the
IRC § 162. For example, it might be reasonable for a
envelope on “ordinary and necessary” business
multi-state apparel company to lease a jet for travel
expenses, and the IRS has pushed back. Sometimes
between manufacturing plants, but not for a corner
a compromise is reached, and sometimes the issue
deli owner to fly to New York to meet with her
is thrown into a court’s lap.
pickle supplier.
3. Personal Expenses
The number one concern of the IRS when auditing
business deductions is whether purely personal
expenditures are being claimed as business ex-
penses. For instance, you can’t deduct the cost of
commuting to work, because the tax code specifi-
cally says this is a personal, not a business, ex-
pense. Ditto with using the business credit card for
a vacation or cruising the beach in the company
car. Because such shenanigans are common, IRS
auditors are ever watchful.
EXAMPLE: Mr. Henry, an accountant, deducted
Fortunately, as discussed throughout this guide,
his yacht expenses, contending that because the
you can often arrange your affairs—legally—in a
boat flew a pennant with the numbers “1040,” it
way that lets you derive considerable personal
brought him professional recognition and clients.
benefit and enjoyment from business expenditures.
The matter ended up before the Tax Court. The
court ruled that the yacht wasn’t a normal
Be careful if you deal with relatives. An IRS
business expense for a tax pro, and so it wasn’t
auditor will look askance at payments to a
“ordinary” or “necessary.” In short, the yacht
family member or to another business in which your
expense was personal and thus nondeductible.
relatives have an ownership interest. In tax code
(Henry v. CIR, 36 TC 879 (1961).)
parlance, these are termed “related parties.” An
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TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
auditor may suspect that taxable profits are being
business. As these assets are used, their cost is
taken out of your business for direct or indirect
“matched” to the business revenue they help earn.
personal benefit in the guise of deductible expenses.
This, theoretically, allows the business to more
For example, paying your spouse’s father, who is in
clearly account for its profitability from year to year.
prison, $5,000 as a consultant’s fee for your
However, it is not always clear what is a current
restaurant business would smell bad to an auditor.
expense and what is a capital one. Normal repair
costs, such as fixing a broken copy machine or a
door, are obviously current expenses and so can be
Business Costs That Are
deducted in the year incurred. On the other hand,
Never Deductible
the tax code says that the cost of making improve-
ments to a business asset must be capitalized if the
A few expenses are not deductible even if they
enhancement:
are business-related, because they violate “public
• adds to its value, or
policy.” (IRC § 162.) This small category includes:
• appreciably lengthens the time you can use it,
• any type of government fine, such as a tax
or
penalty paid to the IRS or even a parking
• adapts it to a different use.
ticket
The term “Improvements” usually refers to real
• bribes and kickbacks, foreign or domestic
estate—for example, putting in new electrical wir-
• any kind of payment made for referring a
ing, plumbing and lighting—but the capitalization
client, patient or customer, if it is contrary to
rule also applies to rebuilding business equipment.
a state or federal law, and
• expenses for lobbying and social club dues.
EXAMPLE: Gunther uses a specialized die-
stamping machine in his metal fabrication shop.
After 15 years of constant use, the machine is
on its last legs. His average yearly maintenance
B. Current or Capitalized Expense?
expenses on the machine have been $10,000,
which Gunther has properly deducted as repair
Tax rules cover not only what expenses can be
expenses. In 2002, Gunther is faced with either
deducted but also when—what year—they can be
thoroughly rehabilitating the machine at a cost
deducted. Some types of expenditures are deductible
of $80,000, or buying a new one for $175,000.
in the year they are incurred, but others must be
He goes for the rebuilding. The $80,000
taken over a number of future years. The first
expense must be capitalized—that is, it can’t be
category is called “current” expenses, and the
taken all in 2002 when the die stamper is
second “capitalized” expenditures. You need to
rebuilt. The tax code says that metal-fabricating
know the difference between the two, and the tax
machinery must be deducted over five years.
rules for each type of expenditure. I’ll try to make it
easy on you, but there are some gray areas.
Preview: Sections E through I deal in detail with
Generally, “current expenses” are everyday costs
tax-deducting capitalized asset purchases. The gen-
of keeping your business going, such as the rent
eral rule is that costs for items with a “useful life” of
and electricity bills. Rules for deducting current
one year or longer cannot be deducted in the same
expenses are fairly straightforward; you subtract the
way as current expenses. Rather, asset purchases are
amounts spent from your business’s gross income in
treated as investments in your business, and must
the year the expenses were incurred.
be deducted over a number of years, as specified in
Other business expenditures are expected to
the tax code (with one important exception, dis-
generate revenue in future years. These are termed
cussed below). The deduction is usually called “de-
“capitalized”—that is, they become assets of the
preciation,” but in some cases it is called a “deple-
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TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
tion” or “amortization” expense. All of these words
The proper allocation will come from a year-end
describe essentially the same thing: writing off or
analysis of your records to come up with the
depreciating asset costs through annually claimed
percentage of each use, such as “62% business, 38%
tax deductions.
personal.”
There are many rules for how different types of
If you own or lease just one car or truck, no IRS
assets must be written off. The tax code dictates
auditor will allow you to claim that 100% of its use
both absolute limits on some depreciation deductions,
is business-related. (I have seen folks get away with
and over how many future years a business must
as much as 90%, though.) Of course, if you have
spread its depreciation deductions for all asset pur-
both business and personal vehicles, and the
chases. Businesses, large and small, are affected by
business one is obviously dedicated to a business
these provisions (IRC §§ 167, 168 and 179), which
use (a minivan with your logo painted on the side),
we discuss in detail beginning with Section E.
it isn’t necessary to do any allocation to claim 100%
A valuable tax break creating an exception to the
business use.
long-term write-off rules is found in IRC § 179. A
Two methods to claim vehicle expense deductions.
small business can write off in one year most types
The tax code gives you a choice of two ways to
of its capital expenditures, up to a grand total of
calculate and deduct business vehicle expenses: the
$20,000 (2000). All profitable small businesses
standard mileage and actual expense methods. With
should take full advantage of this provision every
some qualifications explained below, you may
year. Sections E through I offer details on how
switch between the two methods each year and
IRC § 179 works.
choose the one that gives you the largest tax benefit.
As a rule, if you use a newer car primarily for busi-
ness, the actual expense method provides a larger
C. Special Deduction Rules
deduction. But the mileage method works better for
some folks and requires much less recordkeeping.
Some common and not-so-common business
expenses have special rules that govern how they
must be tax-deducted.
a. Standard Mileage Method for Deducting
Vehicle Expenses
1. Vehicle Expenses
The simplest way for writing off business vehicle
expenses is called the mileage or standard mileage
Motor vehicle expenses are frequently one of the
rate method. You just total up the number of
greatest small business tax-deductible items. Fine-
business miles driven over the year and multiply by
print tax rules for claiming car and truck expenses
the rate allowed that year (31¢ in 1999). Commuting
for your business are tricky, but well worth master-
miles (getting to and from your business location)
ing; they can provide a jumbo payoff at tax time.
are nondeductible personal miles, but if you’re
Records. The first thing is to make sure you
home-based, generally all trips from home for a job
keep the right records to calculate your vehicle ex-
are considered “business.” You can elect to use the
pense deduction—and to back you up if you are
mileage method whether you own or lease your
ever audited. It is a good idea to keep a trip and
vehicle.
mileage log (see sample, below).
Not everyone can choose the mileage method. If
Business/personal use allocation. Keep in mind
any of the following conditions apply, you must use
that if your automobile is used for both business
the “actual expense” method (discussed next):
and pleasure, only the business portion produces a
• You used more than one vehicle simulta-
tax deduction. So you must track the use of a dual-
neously for business.
purpose vehicle and allocate business/personal use.
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TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
• You previously used the actual expense
H, Writing Off Business Assets.) But again, the more
method on this same vehicle and claimed an
miles you drive, the more the mileage method may
accelerated depreciation method. (See Section
be to your advantage. It pays to figure it both ways,
G.)
as we shall see.
• You ever claimed IRC § 179 to write off part
of the vehicle’s purchase price. (See Section F.)
If you choose the mileage method, you cannot
Recordkeeping for Business-
also deduct your operating expenses—gas, repairs,
Used Vehicles
license tags and insurance—but you can deduct
parking fees, tolls and any state and local property
No matter which method you use to claim auto
taxes on the car or truck.
expenses, you will need to keep accurate records.
The best way to keep auto use records I have
EXAMPLE: In 1999, Morris drove 10,000 busi-
found is with a log book, sold at office supply
ness miles in his practice of veterinary medicine.
stores. Or you can keep a notepad in your glove
He also spent $700 in bridge and highway tolls
compartment. However you do it, whenever you
and for parking garages. Morris’s vehicle
drive a personal car for business, write down:
expense deduction is $3,100 (31¢ x 10,000) +
• the date of the trip
$700 = $3,800. If Morris’s practice is incorporated,
• your destination
the business could deduct this sum and reim-
• your mileage (round-trip), and
burse Morris the same amount. However, if the
• who you visited and your business relation-
corporation paid Morris a car allowance of
ship with that person.
$4,000 per year for the use of his personal car
Below is a sample page from a logbook, show-
for business, the excess over the proper busi-
ing how to make these entries.
ness deduction ($200) would be reportable as
Also, keep vehicle-servicing receipts showing
income to Morris on his tax return.
the mileage at the first servicing of the year and at
the last servicing of the year. This is one way to
Primary disadvantage of mileage method. If the
prove to a nosy auditor the number of total miles
mileage method for claiming auto expenses is
driven. Of course, if you are using the actual
chosen, you can’t take a depreciation deduction on
expense method, you should save all of your
the vehicle—which could be substantial with newer
other car receipts, too.
cars. (Depreciation is discussed in Sections G and
Vehicle Expense Log
January, 2000
Odometer Readings
Expenses
Destination
Business
Miles
Type
Date
(City, Town or Area) Purpose
Start
Stop
this trip
(Gas, oil, tolls, etc.) Amount
1/18/00
Local (St. Louis)
Sales calls
8,097
8,188
91
Gas
$18.25
1/19/00
Indianapolis
Sales calls
8,211
8,486
275
Parking
2.00
1/20/00
Louisville
See Bob Smith 8,486
8,599
113
Gas/
16.50
(Pot. Client)
Repair flat tire
1/21/00
Return to St. Louis
8,599
8,875
276
Gas
17.25
1/22/00
Local (St. Louis)
Sales calls
8,914
9,005
91
1/23/00
Local (St. Louis)
9,005
9,005
0
Car Wash
8.50
///
MONTHLY TOTAL
///
8,097
9,005
846
///
$62.50
TOTAL JANUARY, 2000
Business Miles Driven
846
Expenses
$62.50
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TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
b. Actual Expense Method for Deducting
a 50-mpg gas miser or in a faithful old clunker.
Vehicle Expenses
Generally, you may switch back and forth between
the standard mileage and actual expense methods
The mileage method described above works well
each year to get the greatest tax deductions. How-
for some, but it doesn’t cover the full cost of
ever, if you use the mileage method the first year
owning and operating most newer cars. If your auto
your auto is placed in service, you are not allowed
costs more than $15,300, it is usually better to use
to take accelerated depreciation deductions in any
the actual expense method to get the depreciation
future years. If you switch, you must take a straight-
deduction. Simply total up your car operating ex-
line depreciation. If you qualify, figure your deduc-
penses—gas, repairs, insurance and so on—and then
tion both ways each year and then choose.
add the depreciation deduction allowed in the tax
code. (See Sections G and H for more on deprecia-
tion.)
c. Incorporated Business Vehicle Deductions
EXAMPLE: Sam bought a Plymouth minivan in
Business expenses of vehicles in incorporated
2000 for $25,000 and used it 100% for his
businesses are claimed in a slightly different fashion
business. He drove the van 10,000 miles the
from the two methods discussed above. How
first year. The tax code allowed a maximum of
vehicle expenses are claimed depends on whether
$3,060 for depreciation in the first year of own-
the corporation or its employee owns the car.
ership (2000). Sam’s actual operating expenses
Company-owned vehicles. Corporations often
for 2000 for gas, maintenance and insurance
buy cars and give employees—including shareholder
totaled $2,600, plus $700 for parking and tolls.
owners—use of them for both work and play.
Sam deducted a total of $6,360 for car expenses
Records must be kept as to how much the car is
in 2000, including depreciation.
used for each purpose. With the actual expense
method, the entire car expense is tax-deductible to
the corporation, but any personal use of the car
How to Claim Expenses for Autos
must be reported as taxable income to the employee.
The amount of income that must be reported is
A business claiming expenses for car use must file
modest, however, compared to the real cost of
IRS Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization,
owning a newer car. See a tax pro for an accurate
with its tax return. This form requires a breakdown
determination of the tax consequences here, or else
listing the business, personal and commuting
wade through IRS Publication 917, Business Use of
miles driven during the year. Even if you don’t
a Car.
use the mileage method, you still must use this
Corporate employee vehicles. To get tax
form and report the number of miles driven for
deductions, a business corporation doesn’t have to
business. See Section G, for a sample filled-out
own the cars its employees drive. Alternatively, a
Form 4562.
shareholder/owner or other employee can buy a car
and be reimbursed directly by the corporation for
all expenses of using the car for business—gas,
Do the math before you pick a way to claim
repairs and so on. Plus, the company can pay the car
auto expenses. Usually, the actual expense
owner the amount of depreciation allowed in the
method results in higher tax deductions if you own
tax code. (IRC § 168(b)(1).) This expense is
a late-model car, because you can take a deprecia-
deductible to the corporation, and the payment is
tion deduction as well as claiming operating
not income to the employee.
expenses. On the other hand, the standard mileage
method may be better if you drive a lot of miles in
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TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
EXAMPLE: Ralph’s corporation reimburses him
Business-paid employee parking. Parking is tax-
$3,812 for his actual cost of operating his
deductible for businesses and tax-free for employees,
personal car. It also gives him $1,675, the
even if given only to some employees and not others.
amount of the depreciation deduction allowed
A business can either provide parking or reimburse
under the tax code for the value of Ralph’s car.
an employee for parking tax-free, up to $175 per
He gets a total of $5,487. (See Section G, for
month (1999 figure). Anything more than $175 is
how this amount is determined.) Ralph uses his
taxable income to the employee. The benefit is sub-
car 90% for business, so he must report 10% of
ject to inflation indexing. If cash is given to those
the reimbursements, $548, as extra income from
who don’t pay to park, it is still deductible to the
his corporation ($381 + $167 = $548).
business but is taxable to the employee.
The tax result would be the same if all of
Vehicle loan interest. Interest paid on a car loan
the car expenses were paid directly by the
is deductible in proportion to the business use
corporation instead of reimbursed to Ralph. For
percentage. Otherwise, car loan interest is a non-
example, if Ralph used a company check or
deductible personal expense.
credit card to pay expenses, he would still be
entitled to the depreciation reimbursement of
Special capitalization rules for manufacturers
the $1,675 without paying taxes on it.
and contractors. Manufacturers, building
contractors and agricultural producers are subject to
a special set of deduction rules known as the
d. Miscellaneous Auto and Commuting
“uniform capitalization rules.” (IRC § 263A.) Under
Expense Rules
these provisions, certain costs you might otherwise
think are current expenses must be treated as
You can also deduct a few other expenses.
capitalized expenses and added to the tax basis of
State vehicle taxes. Any taxpayer—whether in
your product or inventory. In turn, these expenses
business or not—who itemizes deductions on his or
figure into the “cost of goods sold” formula discussed
her income tax return (Schedule A) may deduct any
in Section G. These are complex accounting rules,
state-imposed personal property taxes on autos. But
so if you’re in a category that might be subject to
parking fines and traffic tickets cannot be deducted;
them, see a tax pro.
to do so would be against “public policy.”
Commuting expenses. Generally, commuting
expenses—getting to work and back home—are not
2. Costs of Going Into Business
deductible. Only if stops are made for business en
route may a portion of your commuting travel
All costs of getting a business started before you
expense be claimed as a business expense.
actually commence operations are not current
Public transit and commuter vehicles. Only
expenses but are capital items—including advertising,
incorporated businesses may deduct expenses for
travel, office supplies, utilities, repairs and employee
providing their employees transit passes, cash or
wages. (IRC § 195.) This can be a bit of a shock,
vouchers for commuting—up to $65 per month per
since these are the same kind of costs that can be
employee in 2000. This tax-free benefit must be of-
immediately deducted as expenses once you are
fered to all employees using public transportation
open for business. Under the tax code, these start-
or a special “commuter vehicle.” (Sorry, your family
up expenses must be deducted over the first 60
car probably won’t qualify—and even if it does, a
months you are in business. Technically, the tax
shareholder in the company can’t be the driver.)
code calls these deductions “amortization” of ex-
The monthly amount is subject to indexing for
penses. (For sole proprietors, partners and limited
inflation. (See IRC § 132 for more details.)
liability company members, these deductions are
claimed on IRS Form 4562, Depreciation and Amor-
tization.)
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TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
EXAMPLE: Bill and Betty set up Management
of trying, but failing, to establish a business into
Consulting Partners (MCP). During the first
two categories:
three months of 2000, they locate and fix up
• Costs of investigating whether to start a busi-
office space (with the help of a handyman) and
ness. Any expenses for a general search or
have brochures printed and mailed to prospec-
preliminary investigation are not deductible.
tive clients. MCP spends a total of $6,000, and
• Costs of attempting to acquire or start a
on April 1st, it opens for business. Tax result:
specific business. These are classified as
all of the pre-April costs are “capital” expendi-
“investment” expenses. All investment ex-
tures and as such are deductible at the rate of
penses are itemized deductions on Schedule
$100 per month over the first 60 months MCP is
A of your individual income tax return. As
in business. Therefore, in 2000, $900 can be
such, they don’t provide as much tax benefit
deducted for the nine months the business was
as do “start-up” type expenses. They are not
open, $1,200 in 2001, and so on until 60 months
considered start-up expenses because you
elapse. Expenses incurred after the business is
never went into any business.
in operation—April’s rent and most other
recurring monthly costs—are 100% deductible
in 2000.
3. Education Expenses
You can deduct education as a business expense if
You can work around this limitation. If it
it is related to your current business, trade or
would tax benefit you to deduct start-up
occupation and you follow strict rules. The tax code
costs in the first year rather than pro rata over five
(IRC § 162, Reg. 1.162-5) requires that a deductible
years, you might legally be able to:
education expense must either be:
• delay paying pre-opening costs until you start
• to maintain or improve skills required in your
serving customers. (Whether or not your
(present) work, or
suppliers and workers will allow you this
• required by your employer or as a legal
much time to pay is another matter.) The IRS,
requirement of your job or profession.
if you are audited, may challenge this tactic,
however.
EXAMPLE: The State Contractor’s Board requires
• do a trivial amount of business before you are
Jim, a licensed building contractor, to attend
officially open. That will probably be enough
and pay for 24 hours of continuing education
to get you by an IRS audit. Make a $75 sale to
programs as a condition of renewing his license.
a friend or give a few people a bargain they
In this case, both IRC conditions are met, so the
can’t resist, just to get some activity on the
expense is deductible for Jim’s business. After
books.
Jim takes 24 hours of programs, any additional
Before rushing to get the start-up cost deduction
courses in his field would still be deductible if
all in the first year, make sure this really helps your
they qualified under the first rule above.
tax situation. If, like many businesses, you will
suffer low gross receipts or even losses the first few
Education expenses that qualify you for a new
years of operation, you might be better off taking
job or different business are not deductible under
this deduction over 60 months.
the tax code. This tax rule has been interpreted
Costs of not going into business. What happens
rather narrowly by the IRS and courts.
if, after incurring start-up expenses, you back out
and never go into operation? Your costs may or may
EXAMPLE: Mary, a public school teacher, wants
not be deductible, depending on the tax rules you
to open up a small private school. Her state re-
fall under. The tax code (IRC § 195) divides expenses
quires her to take several college courses before
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Document Outline

  • Read Me First
  • Table of Contents
  • A. What Is Tax-Deductible in Business?
  • B. Current or Capitalized Expense?
  • C. Special Deduction Rules
  • D. How and Where Deductions Are Claimed
  • E. Writing Off Business Assets
  • F. Expensing Business Assets: IRC Section 179
  • G. Depreciating Business Assets
  • H. Depreciating Some Typical Business Assets
  • I. Leasing Instead of Buying Assets
  • Related Products
  • Web Resources