Tax Advantages of Owning A Small Business: Can You Deduct Your Child’s Allowance?

Simply making an honest effort to earn income from what is normally just your hobby can open up a lot of tax advantages, even if you keep a regular full-time job. If you don’t have a small business, you might consider the many financial benefits of starting one. There are many deductions available, if you are self-employed, that the average person without a business cannot take.

Consider These Tax Deductions and Tax Advantages of Owning A Small Business

1. Home office. Whatever percentage of your home is used for business can be used in deductions from your income. For example, if your rent is $1,000 / month, and you use 30% of your square footage for business, you can deduct $3,600 from your income (12 x $300).

  • The catch is that the space must be used exclusively for business. So, if your parents sleep in your office on Christmas Eve, you lose out on the entire deduction. The IRS is a real stickler on the home office deduction.
  • Your computer can be deducted as well, also based on percentage. If you use your computer 50% of the time for business, you can deduct 50% of the cost.
  • You can also deduct the same percentage of your utilities. That includes, heat, electricity, Internet, and more.
  • Even a portion of repairs to your house can be taken as a deduction in the same percent. It must be a repair that affects the whole house, like a new roof, air conditioning system, or flooring.
  •  Of course, any money you spend on renovating your home office is also deductible from your income.
  • You can even deduct your child’s allowance by paying them to do age-appropriate tasks around the office like sweeping, dusting, and filing.

2. Travel expenses. You can deduct your business-related travel expenses, like hotel and air-fare. You can also deduct 50% of the cost of your meals on your business trips or even business meals in your home town.

  • It’s vital to keep a journal so you can prove that your travel was business related.
  • You could even have a working vacation and take the family along. You won’t be able to deduct their travel or food costs, but you can still deduct the cost of your hotel room. Of course, if your family members work for you, it’s a moot point!
  • If you are also vacationing, be sure that you’re spending at least part of the time meeting with clients, going to training, or on other business-related tasks. If you only spend 2 hours out of a week on business, you’re asking for trouble. Be reasonable.

3. Automobile. If your vehicle is used exclusively for business purposes, you can typically deduct all your vehicle expenses. In most cases, your vehicle will be used for both business and personal use, so keep a log of your mileage, designating each trip as personal or business.

  • In general, all travel between business locations is deductible. So, travel from your home office to the office supply store would be deductible. Travel from one client location to another would be tax deductible.
  • However, the miles you drive to your office from your home are not tax deductible, if your office is located away from your home.
  • These deductions can be used by mileage or business use percentage. If you use your car for business purposes 30% of the time, by mileage, you can deduct 30% of your vehicle expenses. Or, you can multiply your business miles by that year’s designated amount from the IRS.
  • Use whichever method provides the greatest deduction. Typically, less expensive cars would use the mileage method. For more expensive cars, the percentage method provides a larger deduction. Try it both ways.

A small business on the side can bring many useful deductions. We have mentioned only a few  in this article. With just a little planning, a significant portion of your rent or mortgage, utilities, automobile, and travel expenses can be deducted. These tax advantages can easily save you thousands of dollars every year.

Turning your hobby into a small business not only gives you some tax advantages, it can also allow you to make some money from your hobby.

Can You Make Money Working From Home?

Is Working From Home a Good Choice for You?

Have you fantasized about waking up in the morning, walking sleepily down the hall to your home office with a steaming Cup of Joe, and plopping down in your chair to start working? Imagine the amount of money you’ll save on gas, clothing, and childcare by working from your own home. With the advancements in today’s technology, it is more possible, than ever before, to make your fantasy of working at home a reality.

As you decide whether you’re a good candidate for working from home, please consider the following:

  1. Do you work for a national or international company? Quite often, the larger the company, the more flexibility you will have to work from home.
  1. Do you work for a progressive company? If the owners and management think out of the box and embrace change, you’re in a great position to inquire about working at home.
  1. Do you have a computer-oriented job? If most of your work is on the computer, present a good argument as to how you can remain productive working from home. As long as you have a computer at home, you can get the proper software to perform your job at home.
    • You’ll have less co-worker interruptions when you work at home. If your house is quieter than working in a buzzing, lively office setting, you might be able to get more work done each day.
  2. Are there special supplies your job requires? For example, a design architect will need a drafting table and various drawing tools, plus a computer to work from home. The nature of your work is a huge determinant as to whether you can work from home.
  3. Can you set up a designated workspace?  Nothing fancy, a desk and chair devoted to work , along with a computer and internet connection, will suffice.
  4. How flexible is your boss? Supervisors and managers who demonstrate more flexibility in the work setting are more likely to agree to a trial period where you work at home. If your supervisor knows you well and understands your work, then they might be more willing allow a trial work at home situation.
    • During the trial period, you have an opportunity to demonstrate how well you can perform in your own home setting. 
    • When speaking with your supervisor, remember to mention that companies that promote more flexible work schedules benefit from less absenteeism and have reduced turnover. 
  5. Can you motivate yourself to get your work done?If you want to work from home, it’s important for you to possess certain personal and professional characteristics. Are you a self-starter? Can you diligently follow a work schedule?
    • Are you self-motivated and super-responsible? If you are, it’s likely you’ll be able to work from home with great success.
  6. Are you easily distracted? Can you prevent distractions at home? Think about everything that could interrupt or disturb your work efforts at home. 
  • It will be necessary for you to take steps to ensure your work won’t be disrupted.However, if you live alone or with a partner that works away from home full-time during the same time you’ll be doing your job, you’re already ahead of the game in terms of creating a productive work environment.

 

Working from home might be a perfect solution depending on your company, the type of work you do, and your motivation.  Think through these considerations to help you determine whether working in a home office setting is right for you. In the end, it may be a win-win solution for you and your employer in terms of productivity and employee satisfaction.