Small Business Tax Strategies

It’s too late to do anything about the amount you’ll owe on your 2005 tax return … right? Wrong! You can still slash your tax bill by zeroing in on tax breaks that usually fall by the wayside if you’re operating on cruise control.

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We have one word for you: plastic.

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Take steps now to safeguard your cellphone data and that of your employees. Reason: It’s now easy for unscrupulous data brokers to obtain and sell the name and address connected to a cell-phone number, plus the complete record of outgoing and incoming calls.

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If you want a bigger bang for your advertising dollars, consider partnering with a larger company when creating print, radio or TV advertisements.

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Make the most of your business return

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If you’ve been filing a paper tax return for years or you simply let your accountant handle the whole thing, you may be intrigued by the possibility of completing your entire tax return on your computer and then filing online. Should you do it?

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In the waning days of last year, the president inked the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005. This new legislation, following close on the heels of the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act (KETRA), includes various tax measures benefiting victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

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If the IRS questions one of your write-offs, it will ask for documented proof. Research Recommendations subscribers can obtain a free report that provides a list of the type of written proof you’ll need to verify 25 different kinds of deductions (from bad debts to home-office expenses).

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Are you scrambling to complete your calendar-year 2005 corporate return by the March 15 deadline? Instead of slapping things together at the last minute, take the easy way out.

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Say you took out a home-equity loan last year and used the cash to pump up your pass-through business, such as an S corporation, partnership or limited liability corporation (LLC). You’re generally entitled to deduct the interest paid on the first $100,000 of that home-equity loan as mortgage interest (as an itemized deduction on your Schedule A).

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