Give Yourself a Raise!

In last week’s article we gave you an introduction to the United States Tax code and why you need to take control of how much you pay to the government. This week we will give you the most powerful strategy to legally and dramatically reduce the amount you pay in taxes.

The #1 Tax Strategy in America – Do something with the INTENT to make a profit from your home!

The “Business” tax breaks were passed by Congress for 2 reasons:

 1) To stimulate the economy by creating more businesses and more jobs.

 2) Encourage people to have additional sources of income to pay off their debt and contribute to their retirement.

An activity with the INTENT to make a PROFIT, can be considered a “Business” and qualify for “Business” tax deductions. You can do this as a sole proprietor (in your own name) or as an entity (corporation, LLC, etc…) either way works. In order for a business to be able to deduct all ordinary and necessary business expenses it must be able to show that the business is being run with the reasonable intent of making a profit. You do not need to actually make a profit as long as you intend to make a profit.

So here are the requirements set forth by Congress

  •  Have the intent to make a profit
  • Work your business on a regular & consistent basis
  • Treat it like a business – Keep good records

Meet these 3 requirements and you can qualify for $1,000’s in new Tax Deductions.

So let me share with you just 4 of the many Tax Deductions you will qualify for when you take the time to meet the above 3 requirements.

TAX DEDUCTION 1 You cannot deduct expenses for attending a convention, seminar, or similar meeting held outside the North American area unless:

  1. The meeting is directly related to your trade or business, and
  2. It is reasonable to hold the meeting outside the North American area.

NAmericanCountriesList

It is considered “REASONABLE” to have a business meeting in any of these countries! (See chapter 1 of IRS Publication 463)

TAX DEDUCTION 2Travel Rule Basics:

Basic Rule: For each business day of travel, you can deduct 100% of your lodging and 50 percent of your meals and entertainment.

Workdays: You can count a business day as any day during which your principal activity during normal business hours is the pursuit of business. You must work more than half of the workday.

Tried-to-work days: You count a business day as any day you intended to work but circumstances beyond your control prevented you from actively pursuing your business objective.

Weekends, holidays: If a weekend or holiday falls between two business days, the weekend or holiday is considered to be a business day and is tax deductible. This applies only when it is not be practical to return home for the weekend because of time required or expense involved.

Saturday night travel: Airlines sometimes charge you less if you stay over a Saturday night. If you can save money by staying over Saturday night, you count the stay-over as a business days.

Travel days: Travel days are business days.

TAX DEDUCTION 3  –  Meals & Entertainment

The IRS considers “entertainment” to be any activity that provides “entertainment, amusement, or recreation, and includes meals provided to a customer or client.”

You are permitted to deduct 50% of all of your ordinary and necessary meals and entertainment costs for your business.

The 50% limitation applies to all meals (whether local or in travel status) and entertainment expenses.

In order to qualify for the deduction, you must discuss business during the entertainment (directly related entertainment) or immediately before or after the entertaining – within 24 hours (associated test for entertainment expenses).

You must be able to document Who, Where, When, What & Why. Most receipts have the Where & When printed on them – you just have to document the Who, What, & Why

  • The Tax Code does not provide any guidance as to what constitutes a “substantial and bona fide” business discussion for purposes of meals and/or entertainment.
  • There are no rules that specify how long the discussion must be before it will constitute a business discussion for deducting your meal or entertainment expenses.
  • Your business discussion does not need to take a greater amount of time than your non-business discussions for the meal or entertainment expenses to become deductible.
  • As long as a business discussion is the primary purpose of the entertaining, the expenses will qualify for a deduction.

TAX DEDUCTION 4  –  Dutch Treat

DEDUCTING “DUTCH-TREAT” BUSINESS ENTERTAINMENT

Many business expenses do not involve paying the expenses of clients or prospects. They are Dutch-treat. Everyone pays for himself or herself.

But how do you handle Dutch-treat expenses? How do you know if they’re deductible?

General Dutch-Treat rule: IRS regulations state that the taxpayer may deduct entertainment “even though the expenditure relates to the taxpayer alone.” The IRS says its objective test precludes arguments that “entertainment” means only entertainment of others.   Further, the IRS acknowledges that business entertainment may include an activity that satisfies a personal, family, or living expense. The IRS notes that an individual in business may deduct the entertainment cost, including his personal benefit, as a business expense.

Translation: Business entertainment deductions aren’t limited to the costs of treating others; you’re also allowed to deduct your own costs if you “go Dutch.”

Tune in next week when we will give you more strategies to reduce your income taxes thereby giving yourself a raise!