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Don't Overlook These 19 Business Expense Deductions


As the April 15th tax deadline looms closer, take a look at some last minute business expense deductions that may save you a little more of your hard-earned cash in your payment to Uncle Sam.


It is well-known that you can deduct the ordinary and necessary expenses of operating a business. But this can be surprising: The definition of deductible business expenses comprises a lot more than the usual laundry list of personal computers, labor costs and paper clips. Here are 19 tax-deductible items you may easily overlook or ignore. The deductions for these expenses have been approved through court cases, private letter rulings or IRS regulations and code sections.


1)     Answering service and beeper if you are required to be available as part of your job.


2)     Audio and videotapes that enhance your business skills.


3)     Bad business debts to the extent that they are worthless. This option may not be available if you are on a cash basis, only paying taxes on sales that are actually collected.


4)     Bank service charges and similar charges for business accounts.


5)     Beverages and snacks for your employees.


6)     Business travel incidentals such as laundry, airport shuttles, tips and so on.


7)     Computer software and Internet service provider fees.


8)     Consulting fees you pay to outside experts.


9)     Insurance premiums against fire, storm, theft, accident or similar losses.


10) Legal fees paid in connection with your business.


11) Long-distance telephone calls from home if made for valid business reasons.


12) Magazine subscriptions and other periodicals related to business activities.


13) Passport used for business trips.


14) Petty cash used for business-related expenditures.


15) Physical examination to establish fitness needed for a particular job.


16) Professional dues paid to business commerce organizations.


17) Special clothing required for work (e.g., for safety reasons).


18) Tickets to sporting events given to customers as qualified business entertainment (limited to 50% of the cost) or to underprivileged youths participating in a qualifying-organizations programs. The youths must be selected by a charitable organization whose goal is to reduce juvenile delinquency. Bear in mind that your participation in accompanying the youths to the event will not be deductible, but all of their expenses for the trip  will be.


19) Union dues and similar assessments.


Of course, these items are not an all-inclusive listing, but they may help to jog your memory for some of those otherwise miscellaneous expense receipts youre finding. Remember to review your records for business expenses that may seem out of the ordinary. If you can't locate an appropriate line item under which to file your expense, but the expense seems to directly support your business, odds are that  it may  qualify as a deduction.


When in doubt, double check your deductions with a tax or accounting professional. For more advice and tax-saving ideas, contact your accounting professional.


Steven A. Feinberg, CPA -


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