Now is the time (not April 14) to think about tax deductions
07/20/2016 | Author: Editorial Staff
Don’t find yourself scrambling the night before your taxes are due to think of all the deductions you’re missing. Get ahead by planning now for what small-business costs you’re going to deduct and make logging those costs easy to save yourself time later.
Here are some common deductions for REALTORS® to get started:
- Vehicle mileage or expenses: Make all that time in the car meeting clients and driving from property to property work for you. There are two ways to handle vehicle deductions: taking the standard per-mile deduction or deducting actual vehicle-related expenses. Determining which one is best for you can depend on how many miles you drive and what you drive.
- Marketing and advertising: Both of these can be significant line items for REALTORS®. Don’t forget to deduct the design and production costs of advertisements along with the costs to place them.
- Meals and entertaining: You can deduct 50% of meals if you are traveling on business or if you are dining with clients or industry professionals for business purposes. Refreshments and food at an event open to the general public, like a well-advertised open house, is 100% deductible.
- Where you work: Do you have a home office or pay desk fees at a brokerage? You can deduct costs associated with one of those, but not both. The home office deduction has a simple version and an option that allows for deducting all related costs, and again, determining which is best for you will take some investigating. Don’t forget that your office supplies are often deductible.
- Professional development and travel: Are you going to the 2016 Texas REALTORS® Conference in Galveston from September 7 to 10? The travel to the conference and its Trade Expo and the costs of any CE you take while there are good examples of potential deductions.
- Memberships, licenses, fees, and insurance: The cost of your REALTOR® membership is largely deductible—minus the part that’s used for political activities, which is noted on your invoice. Any licensing fees, business insurance, and E&O insurance are also deductible.
- Software and business tools: If you use software such as a customer relationship manager or other business tools to manage your business, those costs are deductible. Even the cost of a program like TaxBot, a member benefit that helps you turn expenses into deductions, can be deducted.
Make sure to check with a tax professional when making business deductions as many of these deductions have complex rules and involve keeping detailed records.
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