Business Expenses: Definition And Meaning

December 22, 2022
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If you are a business owner, you will definitely have certain business expenses. Knowing how to track and control them helps entrepreneurs lower their tax liability and ensures they know how they spend their finances for business purposes. In this article, we are going to talk about the definition of business expenses, how they work, and give you tips on how to manage your expenses easier and lower tax liability.

Definition of Business Expenses

What are business expenses? These are the costs connected with running your small business. Such costs may include lease payments and marketing expenditures. These expenses are usually tax-deductible. If you are willing to maximize your tax deductions and take full control of your business spending, you need to understand what refers to business expenses.

Freelancers and small business owners will benefit from understanding their business costs better. This knowledge will help you manage spending without the need to turn to bad credit payday loans Canada guaranteed approval. Business expenses include office space rent, insurance, utilities, paycheck, subscriptions to various online platforms, etc.

For instance, an IT specialist may have billed clients $150,000 in a year. It doesn’t mean the person earned $150,000 as he would have had expenses to cover internet usage, provide his services, rent office space, or fund fees for software. If your business expenses meet IRS criteria for being tax-deductible, you will be able to lower your tax burden.

Some widespread types of business expenses comprise:

  • Office space rent
  • Utilities
  • Advertising needs
  • Insurance
  • Payment-processing fees
  • Meals
  • Payroll
  • Vehicle usage

Examples of Deductible Business Expenses

These costs can be partially or fully deductible:

  • Business mileage
  • Bank fees and interest
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Furniture
  • Commissions
  • Equipment repair and maintenance
  • Employee benefits
  • Educational costs for workers
  • Utilities
  • Legal fees
  • Membership payments
  • Home office
  • Insurance
  • Paycheck
  • Office supplies and equipment
  • Software
  • Office lease or rent
  • Mortgage costs
  • Certain expenses of business travel

Examples of Non-Deductible Business Expenses

These costs aren’t tax-deductible:

  • Political contributions
  • Illegal actions
  • Government penalties and fines
  • Educational costs
  • Demolition losses or costs
  • Lobbying costs

What Business Expenses Mean for You

When you know what a business expense means in terms of IRS standards, you have means to lower your tax bill. So, it’s beneficial for you to understand your business expenses. Whether you are running a small company or are a self-employed freelancer, business costs play an important role in your budget.

Top Tips to Manage Your Business Expenses

It can be challenging to control your business expenses especially if you know little about the way they work. Here are the best tips to help you reduce your tax liability and improve your business cost management.

1. Keep Your Personal and Business Finances Separate

This is an essential tip for you to follow. You should begin separating your business and personal expenses the moment you become a freelancer or launch a startup. It will help you realize what business costs you have and how you can lower your tax liability. A great option is to open a business bank account and get a business credit card for your financial needs.

2. Keep Your Documents and Receipts

This piece of advice may help you avoid misunderstandings and pitfalls. Keeping all the documents and receipts is important to protect you. Take into account that the IRS demands certain records to be stored for about 7 years so if you are audited, you will have everything in order. Employment records, tax returns, and receipts should be kept for about 4 years. If you have taken out any credit or business loans, you need to store this documentation for up to 7 years.

3. Learn About Your Tax-Deductible Expenses

Some entrepreneurs and freelancers don’t even know that they can lower their tax liability. Brush up your tax-deductible business expenses. Lowering your tax burden is always a good idea. The majority of your business costs may be written off.

4. Review And Monitor Expenses

The information about your business expenses can be shown on dashboards and charts with the help of business accounting software. Try your best to review your expenses regularly in order to stay on top of them. It will help you avoid fraud and spot any errors that might occur.

5. Record Your Business Expenses

Utilizing a software program for business accounting will be useful for freelancers and small business owners. It will help you record your business costs straight away as they happen so that you don’t forget anything. Remember that you will be able to reduce your tax burden if you manage your business expenses properly and record them on time.

6. Save Business Travel Receipts

Another helpful tip is to save your receipts for business travel. You already know that most of these expenditures are tax deductible so you may benefit from saving them. Make sure you store your receipts for meals (you can deduct 50% of these costs), lodging, and transportation during business travel. There is a chance you may be audited by the IRS, so you need to keep these receipts for three or more years.

The Bottom Line

Summing up, every entrepreneur and freelancer should understand what business expenses are and how they work. If you are running a business or just planning to launch a startup, this knowledge will help you prevent errors and stay on top of your finances by knowing how to manage business costs.

A great option is to reduce tax burden as many business expenditures are tax deductible. The IRS determines which expenses can be deducted from your taxes but the general list of such costs is mentioned above.

Make sure you separate your personal and business expenses to get a clear overview of what happens with your business and how the funds are spent. Personal expenses won’t be counted as business costs and therefore won’t be tax deductible.

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