Being self employed has always held certain advantages, when it came to tax time. However, if you’re a salesperson, you can also take advantage of various avenues to help reduce your tax bill to Uncle Sam.

Your car expenses may qualify as tax deductions. This includes gas expenses. Your car insurance can also be a deduction. If you still have a car loan, that may also qualify, however, a lease is even better. Any car maintenance bills are usually tax deductions. These can include oil changes, tune ups, repairs, replacement parts, etc. If you garage your vehicle, that rent is also a potential deduction. Mileage is also a deduction. Depending on how many days of the week you use your car for business, will determine how much you can claim. If you work five days a week, then the usual rule of thumb is 5/7 of your total car expenses is potentially deductible.

Your car is a major deduction, but that is not your only source for tax breaks. If you designate a room in your home or apartment for business purposes, you can claim a percentage of your rent or mortgage as a business deduction. This can also include the heating and electric bill, too. You may want to reinforce the deduction by paying yourself that portion of the rent or mortgage, each month, to show expenses.

Purchasing business cards, stationery, and office supplies are also subjects for deductions. Your computer can qualify too, along with your phone bill and anything related to that. If your sales job requires you to wear a uniform or suit, then you may be able to claim clothing purchases as well as cleaning expenses.

Any advertising expenses are tax deductible. If you place a classified ad, be it online or in hard copy print, that is a business expense and is deductible. Expenses that cover professional subscriptions, membership dues, legal fees, ongoing business fees are all tax write offs.

You should also keep a record/diary and save your dinner receipts. If you are on the road and meeting clients, taking them to lunch or dinner is a business expense.

A very basic and important habit to get into is to keep all receipts, and maintain a journal or diary that lists all of your expenses.

Finally, you should definitely retain an accountant who is knowledgeable in regards to your industry, and is fluent with the tax laws as they pertain to sales people and self employed individuals. All the items listed above are potential tax write offs, but before you officially list them on your tax returns, and sign your name to them, it is a very wise decision to consult with a qualified CPA accountant.

These are some of the advantages of being in sales and/or owning your own business. Remember, it’s what you KEEP IN YOUR BANK ACCOUNT THAT REALLY MATTERS.

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