Taxes are one of the most complicated matters that business owners face. Knowing how your company should be taxed, how to file business taxes, and how to report income on your own taxes are all important decisions that every business owner must make—often with the guidance of a legal professional.
A major part of any business tax strategy, however, is to deduct any and all qualified business expenses to limit tax liability as much as possible. Many business owners, however, are not completely certain what constitutes a business expense for tax purposes. If you do not take all possible deductions, you may incur additional tax debt. On the other hand, deducting expenses that do not qualify may result in audits by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or even allegations of fraud.
Common Business Deductions
It is only natural for business owners to want to push the limits of deductible expenses to reduce their tax liability as much as possible. Some common deductible business expenses include:
- Rent or mortgage for business space
- Utilities, cleaning, and maintenance costs
- Furniture and equipment
- Supplies and inventory
- Payroll and payroll taxes
- Health insurance
- Retirement plans
- Advertising and marketing
- Website design and maintenance
- Technology, including networks, computers, tablets, or smartphones
- Professional licenses and associated costs
- Credit card and banking fees
- Subcontractor fees
- Travel for business
- Legal fees
- Client-related food or entertainment
- Theft-related losses
Naturally, not all businesses will have the same types of expenses. A business owner working solely online from home will have very different expenses than the owner of a retail store or manufacturing company. If you have any questions about what constitutes a deductible expense, you should always discuss them with an experienced business attorney.
If you cite a wrongful deduction, the IRS may come knocking with an audit. Audits can be time-consuming and costly, especially if you face fines for errors on your taxes. To avoid triggering an audit, it is important to know that certain expenses cannot be deducted, including:
- Penalties or fines from past tax years
- Costs of commuting
- Political contributions by the company
- Gifts to clients greater than $25
- Work clothes (aside from uniforms)
- Startup costs after the first tax year
Taxes are complicated for any business owner. Not only should you worry about deducting the maximum amount, but also about avoiding any ineligible deductions that may turn into red flags to the IRS.
Discuss Questions and Concerns With a Qualified Houston Business Lawyer
The Weisblatt Law Firm in Houston understands the many concerns faced by businesses on a regular basis. Our business attorney is thoroughly familiar with the laws that apply to different businesses in Texas and can provide professional advice to companies of all sizes and types. Our firm handles a wide array of legal matters for our clients, so please do not hesitate to contact us at (713) 714-4634 for more information about our business law services.
Attorney Andrew Weisblatt
Mr. Weisblatt has practiced continuously since becoming licensed in 1992 and has represented businesses ranging in size from one person start-up ventures to multi-national corporations employing hundreds of people in multiple countries. From 2005 through 2009 Mr. Weisblatt was in-house counsel and chief operating officer of a multi-national corporation in the steel products industry. That in-house position provided valuable insight into how businesses work and what they actually need from their lawyers – both in-house and outside counsel. Attorney Bio