Did you know that some bribes may be tax write-offs? That bad debt allowances are not deductible? And that you might be able to persuade an IRS agent that it's valid to deduct the cost of your personal chauffeur? (You do have one, don't you?) All this and more is spelled out in 422 Tax Deductions for Businesses & Self Employed Individuals (Bell Springs Publishing, $17.95, 800-515-8050).
Written by veteran CPA Bernard B. Kamoroff, the book dispels some pervasive notions (the home-office deduction does not guarantee an audit) and points to those deductions that really are red flags (the IRS really doesn't like business trips). Kamoroff's contribution is loaded with key tax deductions, the majority of which are unknown to business owners and several of which may not even occur to tax preparers. Even if an accountant handles your taxes, don't dismiss 422 Tax Deductions. You know your business better than your tax preparer, who doesn't have time to ask you about every possible deduction. So spend a few hours skimming the alphabetical list of write-offs, identify those that apply to you and point them out to your accountant. Even if you and your accountant already know 421 of them, that additional write-off will probably justify the purchase price.
Neither this column nor the cited book is intended to substitute for professional legal advice. Consult your tax preparer or the IRS for specific information.
Paul DeCeglie (MrWritePDC@aol.com) is a former staff reporter for Journal of Commerce and American Banker.