Tax Guide
Tax deductions
Tax breaks for small businesses

Save on cell phones

Cell phones are critical business tools. They also were a source of extra taxes and administrative hassles.

The devices were categorized by the Internal Revenue Service as listed property, meaning business deductions were limited or disallowed unless the taxpayer substantiated the expense and business use and purpose.

That situation, however, has changed, thanks to the Small Business Act. The law de-listed cell phones and other similar telecommunications equipment, effectively removing the requirement that phone users keep detailed logs of business vs. personal use.

"Hallelujah!" says Rosenberg. "It's a utility, for Pete's sake!"

Don't overlook deductions

In addition to the latest small-business tax breaks, there are plenty of oldies but goodies that can help lower tax bills. They include:
  • Expenses related to business use of your auto, either the standard mileage rate or actual auto costs. Don't forget to tally parking and tolls.
  • Out-of-town business travel costs count, too, as do a portion of business meal costs.
  • If your primary place of business is a home office, be sure to claim the deduction for that space.
  • ATM fees, credit card fees and other bank charges incurred on your business accounts.
  • Seminars, classes and training to improve your knowledge and skills in your current profession.
  • Professional journals, newspapers and books you need to help conduct your business.
  • Similarly, membership fees in trade organizations, professional groups and chambers of commerce.
  • Internet access charges. But if you use the connection for business and personal purposes, you can only deduct the amount used for business.

Many of these deductions might seem small and some take extra work, but the tax savings can add up.

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