How to Maximize Your Return: Self-Employment Taxes Made Simple

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Being self-employed isn’t easy, and sometimes every dollar counts. Tax season can be particularly stressful, but there are bona fide ways to make sure you’re getting the best return possible on your self-employment taxes so that you can breathe a little easier every spring. Keep reading to find out all of the expenses your business is likely entitled to, so that this year’s self-employment taxes are smooth sailing.

1. Business Expenses

When you’re self-employed, everything you put into running your business is essentially a business expense and can likely be written off. While it might not seem like a big deal to claim your printer paper on your self-employment taxes, these can add up to a serious tax return that can help your business thrive long term. Business operating expenses can include some forms of advertising, office supplies, legal and accounting fees, licenses for your business, insurance premiums, and more. Essentially everything you spend money on to make money should be looked at to see if it can be claimed.

2. Office Expenses

Your home office is a goldmine when it comes to your tax return, and many self-employed people simply aren’t taking advantage of what they are due. Working from home can save you money, but it can also help bump up your tax return this spring. Make sure you’re properly calculating the space you can claim, and don’t forget to include a portion of your utilities, rent/mortgage, and any applicable repairs or maintenance. On top of that, your capital costs like desks, chairs, and filing cabinets are also eligible to claim, so make sure you keep your receipts.

3. Travel Expenses

Being self-employed can mean a ton of travel, which is often overlooked. Everything from flights to conference costs, cabs to meals on the road, and even entertaining clients can be partially or completely claimed. If you use your vehicle for your business, that’s likely a business expense you can claim on your self-employment taxes too, including gas, insurance, and maintenance.

4. Overlooked Expenses

Maximizing your precious tax return is all about making sure you’re not overlooking anything you might be genuinely able to claim. These smaller, often missed expenses can add up to an important amount of money for your business. Examples include the cost of business cheques, health plans for your employees, a cleaning service for your home office, association dues, business loan interest (to certain limits), business vehicle license and registration fees, parking fees for business purposes, and more. Working with an accountant can help make sure you don’t miss any legitimate expenses that you can claim, so that your return is the best it can be every year.

If you want to get the most back at tax time — or at least pay the smallest amount out — contact me today. It’s never too early to start planning for a less stressful tax season.

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