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Tax deductions that small businesses overlook

Industry News

You may have a heavier tax burden than is necessary.

| December 27, 2010

Not many small businesses have a dedicated CPA on board, making it easier to miss deductions that could lower their tax burden. “When people think of deductions they usually think of inventory, payroll, office supplies, rent and utilities,” said Nick Rizzi, CEO of Smart Tax, a Brooklyn, N.Y., tax preparation company. “What they don’t think of are the smaller things.”

This year, be sure to take advantage of all the tax breaks the law provides, starting with these seven areas:

1. Mileage. Be sure you’re deducting trips to meet with clients, run work-related errands and attend meetings and networking events, particularly with personal vehicles. Rizzi cautioned that you’ll need to log the date, destination, and start and end mileage for each trip.

2. Asset deductions. Section 179 of the IRS Code allows small businesses to take a depreciation deduction for certain capital expenditures in one year, rather than depreciating them over a longer period of time. If you’ve been hit hard by the recession, that could allow you to keep a bigger chunk of money in the short run.

3. Specialty items. If you own a building, you may be entitled to state and federal tax savings for building improvements, like adding special wiring or a soundproof room. Certain assets related to such projects qualify for accelerated depreciation, meaning you can take larger tax deductions over a shorter period increasing your cash flow and lowering the cost of capital in the years following the project. For IRS purposes, be sure to have an engineer or architect conduct a cost segregation study, Rizzi said.
 

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