OK, no one really likes tax time, but, owning your own home business can make April 15th a bit more enjoyable if you know how to save money on your taxes. There are many legitimate business deductions allowed by the IRS for the home business entrepreneur, the key is knowing what they are and what you need to do to claim them.Sandy Botkin, CPA and former IRS attorney says, “If you do not have a home based business you are losing money.” The tax advantages to a properly formed home business and not a hobby are worth your time and efforts.Tax AdvantagesBusiness DeductionsIt should go without saying that all business deductions should be reasonable and necessary. And to prove those claims you must keep accurate books and records. If the IRS where to audit you they would be looking for such items as sources of income, detailed expenses, bank statements, credit card statements and all receipts for purchased items and services rendered.The more deductions your business can legitimately take, the lower its taxable profit will be. Here is a simple example: if you earn $100,000 per year from your job and home-based business, combined, but have $15,000 in allowable business deductions from your business, you would only pay taxes of your net income of $85,000. At 30% tax rate, that could save you $4,500 in federal taxes!Auto ExpensesProper logging all business related travel will help you reduce your yearly auto expense. You will need to track the date, purpose of the trip, and round trip mileage. These few extra steps will save you money on gas, yearly upkeep and insurance costs.Education/Training ExpensesAll home business owners need to keep on top of their industry or may need to update their computer skills. Cost for seminars, online training programs, books, e-books, professional memberships and subscriptions are all deductible. You can even deduct those fees from your lawyer and tax professional.Business EntertainingDoes your home business require you entertain clients? If so, you can deduct a percentage of those costs directly related to the business. Keeping good notes on this activity, jotting down who was their, what was discussed and making certain that business activity was foremost, will ensure the legitimacy of this claim by the IRS.TravelHow would you like to have your vacations paid? Owning a home business can help you achieve just that. The IRS allows you to combine business travel with pleasure provided your primary purpose for the trip was for business. You can deduct such expenses as your plane fare, operating cost of your car, rental cars, taxis, lodging, meals, tips, dry cleaning, telephone calls, faxes, well you get the idea. However, this will not include all expenses for family members if they accompany you, unless by chance they work for you!AdvertisingAll expenses involved with advertising or promoting your business are deductible. For example, business cards, classified ads, brochures, fliers, posters, t-shirts are just a few.InterestInterest on credit cards and business loans are fully deductible.Computers and SoftwareIs your business done on the computer? Do you need software to operate your business? Do you need to connect to the Internet? These rules can change based on the business model so be sure to check with your account for your industry.Charitable ContributionsPart of being a model citizen and business owner is to give back to your community. Charitable contributions are allowable. Again you should consult with a professional on what you can take based on your business structure.Household ExpensesThis is one of the most valuable deductions. If you use a percentage of your home, say a den or the basement “exclusively” this will qualify you for this deduction. This will allow you to save on your utility bills, phone bills, maintenance; even a portion of the interest you pay on your home is deductible.These 10 tips only scratch the surface of the tax benefits owning a home business provides. As always it’s important to consult with a CPA or Tax Attorney to ensure you are taking the proper deductions and getting all you deserve. Keeping those hard earned dollars in your pocket and out of Uncles Sam’s is to your benefit.
Social media marketing can create a lot of buzz, enhance business and also serve as a no or low cost tool for businesses to take advantage of advertising mediums. This is especially beneficial for owners of small business, so if you are in this position it’s important for you to be aware of exactly how these particular tools can strategically support and serve you, as well as sell your services or products.Let’s look on some of the ways that social media can assist organizations and users:CommunicationMarketing is actually focused on developing relationships and what better way to start than with good communication. Innovative tools such as blogs, Ning, Linkedln, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Photobucket or Flickr, will make it possible for businesses to have direct communication, regular promotions and share information with existing and potential customers.CollaborationWhenever businesses are empowered by their target customers, these people will feel even more efficient. If consumers sense this power, they will not only trust you, but they will continue to buy your products or services. These social media collaborations will transform customers into “consumers”, who can make, break or shape buying patterns.There are tools such as wikis, blogs, video sharing sites, review sites and much more, which make it easy for consumers to collaborate, self-serve and essentially function as a great endorser of your business. One of the reasons why the tools for social media marketing will work is due to the fact individuals may have confidence in colleagues instead of businesses.EntertainmentAn additional reason for the success of social media is the fact that these tools are not only simple to use, but can be likewise exciting. Many people prefer to visit places where they are comfortable and feel as if they really belong, plus they get to share their opinions and get others to listen while enjoying themselves. For this reason, owners of small businesses must be wherever the target market is congregating nowadays, so it’s best to follow the masses on any of the popular social media sites that will fit your requirements.Finally, once you start to take advantage of these marketing tools you will realize that you can indirectly boost product sales by building relationships. So, as soon as you have an understanding that communication, entertainment and collaboration can strategically play a role in your business, then you can select the best tools to maximize your revenue and clientele.