Archive for April, 2012

Gift Expenses

by in Newsletter on Apr. 2, 2012

If you give gifts in the course of your trade or business, you can deduct all of part of the cost. Generally, you can deduct no more than $25.00 for business gifts you give directly or indirectly to each person during your tax year.

Entertainment Expenses

by in Newsletter on Apr. 2, 2012

Entertainment includes any activity generally considered to provide entertainment, amusement or recreation. Generally to be deductible for tax purposes, you must show that entertainment expenses (including meals) are directly related to, or associated with, the conduct of your trade or business. You must also have records to prove the business purpose (under the applicable test) and the amount of each expense, the date and place of the entertainment, and the business relationship of the persons entertained. Entertainment expenses are usually subject to a 50 percent limit.

Travel Expenses

by in Newsletter on Apr. 2, 2012

Travel expenses are “ordinary and necessary” expenses while away from home for the primary purpose of business. Keep all receipts and relevant documentation to substantiate where you went, why, for how long, and amount spent. If you combined business and personal travel, show how much is related to business.

Lodging receipts: These should show the travel location, duration of your stay, costs and expenses. Keep records for cleaning and laundry, telephone charges, tips, and other charges not shown separately.

Transportation receipts: These include airplane, train or bus ticket stubs, travel agency receipts, rental car or taxi receipts, etc., showing the amounts, dates and destinations.

Meal receipts: Generally, you must keep a log of your meal expenses and save receipts for amounts of $75.00 or more. The meal receipt must show the 1) name and location of the restaurant, 2) the number of people served, 3) the date and amount of the expense. Either track the actual costs of your meals, or use the standard meal allowance if you qualify You may only claim a deduction for 50 percent of the unreimbursed cost of your meals.

Car Expenses

by in Newsletter on Apr. 2, 2012

To take a business deduction for the use of your car, you must determine what percentage of the vehicle was used for business. No deduction is allowed for strictly personal use, such as commuting.

Deductible car expenses can include the cost of 1) traveling from one workplace to another, 2) making business trips to visit customers or attending business meetings away from your regular workplace, and 3) traveling to temporary workplaces.

It is important to keep complete records to substantiate items reported on a tax return in the case of car and truck expenses, the types of records required depend on whether you claim the standard mileage rate or actual expenses.

For actual expenses, add your annual car operating expenses, including gas, oil, tires, repairs, license fees, lease payments, registration fees, garage rental, insurance and depreciation. Multiply the car operating expenses by the percentage of business usage to arrive at your deductible expense. Business related parking and road tolls are fully deductible expenses that do not have to be reduced by the percentage of business usage.