Tax Tips for Business Owners


Tax season is upon us, and when you’re a business owner, you may feel like all odds are against you this time of year. You’ve got complicated forms to fill out, and missing receipts to track down. Yet, it is very common to overlook a handful of opportunities for small businesses to cut down tax bills. What will help you most is paying attention to IRS rules, remaining patient and being precise.

Yes, you pay tax on your business profits. But the good news is you can potentially reduce your taxable income by taking all the deductions you’re entitled to as business expenses.You should track every business expense and comb over them with your CPA at the end of the year to ensure you only take legitimate deductions, both to minimize your risk of audit and to have the documentation in place in case the IRS ever comes knocking.

Self-employment tax. Self-employment taxes are taxes paid to the Social Security Administration for Social Security and Medicare eligibility. If you’re an employee, you share the cost with your employer, with each of you paying a share of the FICA tax. If you’re self-employed, you pay both portions. Fortunately, you can deduct the portion of your self-employment tax equivalent to what an employer would pay on the front page of your tax return on line 27 as a deduction, or adjustment to income.

The Small Business Administration reported that 52 percent of all businesses in the U.S. are run from home. Still, many owners may be afraid to take a home office deduction, thinking it can be an audit red flag. This may have been true in the past, but there’s no evidence to show that it continues to be so. Generally, deductions for a home office are based on the percentage of your home devoted to business use. So, if you use a whole room or part of a room for conducting your business, you need to figure out the percentage of your home devoted to your business activities.

Car & truck-related expenses. You can deduct the cost of expenses related to a car or truck, including lease payments, so long as you use your vehicle exclusively for business. If you split the use of the vehicle for personal and business purposes, you can only deduct the portion attributable to business (for only $5/month the MILE IQ app allows you to easily log your trips as either business or personal).

If you ever find yourself in doubt about the deductibility of business expenses, ask yourself these two questions:

Is this for business use?

Is this expense necessary, helpful, and appropriate for your business?

The answer to both of those questions should be “yes” to claim an expense as a business-related tax deduction.

Knowing which expenses to claim as deductions are extremely important. The above listed are just a few examples.  Discuss your situation with your CPA or a tax advisor to make sure you have done all that is required to qualify for a specific deduction. For more information on issues impacting small businesses, check out Lori Boone from Accountants on the Go at The Perfect Small office in Mason!

How Checklists can Help your Small Business

A checklist is one of the most basic organizational tools.  Even a simple list can improve the effectiveness of team communication and effectiveness when performing both complex and menial tasks.  Routine tasks that you perform every day can become just that, routine.  These mundane, but still very important, tasks are important enough that you want to make sure they are not overlooked.  Here are few options for checklists that will help you maintain, and grow, your small business.

Finances – A monthly, quarterly, and yearly financial checklist will ensure you’re on track to meet goals and grow at the rate you planned.  Monthly check lists to step back and do a financial overview, review statements/ sales, keep an eye on stock, and review traffic.  Annual lists are better for gauging long term goals, financial plans, and see the ‘big picture’ when it comes to your bank account.

Legal – Keeping in good standing with the law is important for the future and growth of your business.  Proper record keeping, paperwork and tax preparation will help you gauge your growth.  If you plan to hold an annual meeting before year end, checklists can help make sure all your ‘ducks are in a row’ when it comes to what you need legally and for the IRS.  Finally, human resources is another area where being legally compliant is extremely important.  With payroll laws changing and so much documentation needed, a checklist would help make sure that you have all that you need when you hire/ terminate employees.

Organization – Your finances are in order, you are legally sound, but does your desk look like a paper bomb was just set off?  Purge your office and organize your paper files with the help of checklists.  You could make one for your paper files so employees know what to keep and what to throw away.  The same could go for receipts, electronics, cloud storage – a checklist for what to keep and what get rid of will help you stay organized at quarter end and at year end.

Social Media – These days you can’t run a business without marketing on social media.  It is something you have to do every single day to make sure you voice stands out over all of the other web chatter.  Time for a checklist!  Have you posted to Facebook today?  Mark it off of your checklist.  Try another checklist to set up themed posts for each day of the week, like motivational Monday, funny Friday, etc.  Follow us on Instagram @cmcpsomason to get some quote ideas.  You can also start a checklist for your target demographic and how you can help that audience.

When properly conceived and used, a checklist ensures confirmation, and can catch errors, between team members.  The daily, monthly, and yearly challenges that small business owners face can be manageable if you keep and follow your checklists.

Are you “Change Ready”?

Everything that I read about change says that it’s hard, scary, sad, something to shy away from, etc. In other words, change is negative and something to be avoided.

REALLY? I’ll give you this—unexpected, hurtful, loss inducing change is all of those things: scary, fearful, sad and, yes, hard to deal with. On the other hand, change can be wonderful, life-changing in a good way, impactful and even empowering.

time-for-changeBecause we are living beings we continue to grow and change on a daily, even minute by minute basis. Much of this is passive change. Try as hard as we do we can’t prevent aging. Every once in a while something traumatic happens and we have to change as a response to the trauma. This is reactive change. This is the kind of change that so frequently elicits those negative emotions.

Proactive change is neither. It’s the kind of change that comes from making a choice. When the time is right, will you be ready to make a proactive change? Or, better yet, without waiting for the right time, can you prepare yourself in advance and catalyze proactive change?


Entrepreneurship: What and Why?

Last week we had our first SUCCESS Community information session. The concept of “entrepreneur” was discussed at length. It’s not the first time I’ve been involved in such a discussion nor will it be the last. In fact, I’ve written about it several times as well. It comes up because we use the word “entrepreneur” frequently, yet, not all of our members and clients really qualify as an entrepreneur in the strictest sense of the word.


Fail, Fail, FAIL!

fail-imageYes, I’m telling you to fail. In fact, fail fast and fail hard. Then, turn around and teach your kids and your employees to fail as well. Why am I being so “mean” today? Because I LOVE YOU and I CARE DEEPLY about your success.


Fail Follow-Up

Last week I wrote a blog called, Fail,Fail, FAIL! I thought it was only right to post a follow-up!

So, what happens after you take a risk, meet a challenge head on, try something new and… doesn’t go so well? Do you turn tale and run? If you’re an entrepreneur, no. By definition, you don’t run and hide but you may not keep plowing forward either. Here are the options that I usually see successful people taking: