With the Tax Return deadline looming, now’s a good time to take stock of your financial outlook and find ways to trim your taxes and lower your business expenses. Here are 5 steps to take now to save your hard earned cash and cut your taxes.
1. Maximize your tax write offs
First off, hire a good tax accountant or CPA who is familiar with your industry and small businesses. They can help you uncover write-offs unique to running a photography business and ensure your claims are legit. These might include your professional membership dues, subscriptions to photography magazines, photography equipment and insurance, business-related travel expenses, accounting and legal fees, and childcare expenses.
2. Claim your Home Office Deduction
If you run your photography business out of your home, you can write off many of the costs associated with maintaining your home office. This includes any home improvements done to the space, even landscaping if your home’s appearance is important to the success of your studio. You can also pro-rate expenses like property insurance, mortgage, utility bills and a home alarm. Just be sure to allocate the proper percentage of your expenses based on the square footage of your home office space. Again, consult your accountant for help claiming this deduction.
3. Maximize your 401(k) or Retirement Plans
Traditional 401(k) plans allow you to defer paying income tax on money you put away for retirement. Since most photographers have their own business, the Solo 401(k) is for individuals who are self-employed with no full-time employees other than themselves or a spouse. You can defer up to $17,500 in a Solo 401(k) plan in 2013.
4. Lower your cable and cellphone bills
It never hurts to ask and this is definitely the case when it comes to your cable or internet provider. Call customer service at least once a year about bundling your services (phone, TV, internet) or current promotions to lower your monthly bill. Same goes with your cell phone bill – are you on the best available plan based on your usage? Or do your plan limits far exceed what you need? Check your actual usage – talk time, texts and data – to see if you can switch to a lower cost plan.
5. Get the most out of your credit cards
Do you have credit cards you never use but pay annual fees for? Consider canceling these cards if you no longer need the line of credit. Also, make sure the cards you do have offer some benefit – be it cash rewards or airline points. If you do carry a balance, finding a low ongoing interest rate should be a priority. Check out the site www.billshrink.com for help maximizing your credit card awards or finding lower interest rate cards.