Before wrapping up your business tax return, rack your brain (and your records) to make sure you haven't missed any juicy write-offs. Some key business expenses to remember:
1. Automobile expenses. If you deduct actual business-car expenses (as opposed to a per-mile rate), remember to include all your costs, including repairs, registration fees, tires and even car washes.
2. Bad debts. You can deduct a bad business debt in the year it becomes worthless. Keep records, such as copies of collection letters, to back up your claim that the debt can no longer be recovered.
3. Home entertainment. If you invited clients to your home after a substantial business discussion, you can write off 50 percent of your entertainment costs. The entertainment can even take place the next day for out-of-town visitors.
4.. You can deduct gifts you gave to business clients or associates, no matter how small. The limit: $25 per person per year.
5. Random travel expenses. Don't overlook small extra expenses incurred while traveling on business, such as luggage used exclusively for business travel, taxi fares between the hotel and the airport, charges for cleaning suits or dresses and tips paid to bellhops, doormen, etc.
6. Business insurance. You can deduct the premiums paid on a business overhead insurance policy to keep the operation functioning if you are disabled. But if the policy ever kicks in, the proceeds you receive will be fully taxable.
7. Credit card interest. When using plastic to pay for business expenses, the interest is fully deductible. The same is true if you get a personal loan and use the proceeds for your pass-through entity business. (See page 7.)
8. Legal expenses. Personal legal expenses are typically nondeductible, but you can deduct a portion of legal fees relating to your business dealings. Don't leave out costs for court filing, printing, copying and mailing.
9. Subscriptions. You can write off subscriptions to newsletters or magazines connected to your business, such as this one.
10. Clothing. Go ahead and deduct any clothing that's required for your job and can't be used for general wear.