Top 10 Tax Myths Busted

For the last 10 weeks, we’ve been busting tax myths left and right on our Financial Gravity blog. Below is a summary of all the myths we’ve busted in that time.

1. Having an accountant is the same thing as having a tax planner. MYTH

Everyone knows that if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, having a good Accountant is essential to the function and success of your business, but it’s not everything. If you want to lower your personal taxes, increase your profits, and attain greater wealth, you’ll need the help of a Tax Planner. Read more here. 

2. Taking a proactive approach to tax planning will put your business at risk for an audit. MYTH

Implementing strategies that help you reduce your taxes will not raise your risk of audit. In fact, it’s why the Internal Revenue Code exists (all 70,000+ pages of it). Inside the IRC, there are plenty of legal ways that Small Business Owners like you, can learn to lower their tax liability and keep capital in your business. Read more here. 

3. Becoming an LLC prevents me from having to pay Self-Employment taxes. MYTH

Becoming an LLC will not magically prevent you from paying Self-Employment taxes. Why? Because an LLC is not a tax filing status. To determine which tax filing status is right for your business, get in touch with a Tax Professional. Read more here.

4. Having an IRA or 401k is a Sufficient Retirement Plan. MYTH

If you are a small business owner, and you have an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or a 401k, you don’t actually have a sufficient retirement plan. Not only do conventional retirement accounts (401k, 403b, 457, SEP, SIMPLE, IRA) contain massive hidden fees but they only work if Taxes don’t go up and Your income decreases upon retirement. Read more here. 

5. Kids are an expense. Case Closed. MYTH

As long as you have a written contract, you are paying your “employee” through the payroll (so the IRS gets their fair share), and the money is being deposited into your “employee’s” account, it’s totally legal, moral, and ethical. Read more here. 

6.  The Affordable Care Act took away my ability to write off medical expenses. MYTH

There are still PLENTY of ways for you to write off glasses, braces, massages, acupuncture, and other medical related expenses. Here are just a few; Flex Plans, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs, or a Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP). Read more here.

7. A home office deduction will put me at an immediate risk for an audit. MYTH

Not only is a home office deduction LEGAL, MORAL, and ETHICAL, but there are four different ways (YES, FOUR!) to do it. If writing off your home office was risky, why on earth would the IRS give you four ways to do it? Read more here. 

8. If there is food involved, then it’s a meals and entertainment expense. MYTH

If the food is part of a marketing expense, bought while traveling for work, or purchased for staff as a “working lunch”, you may be able to deduct 100% of the cost. Read more here.

9. Mileage is the only tax write-off I can use for my car. MYTH

In addition to writing off your mileage, the Internal Revenue Code allows you to write off your leased car (but not a loan.) Read more here. 

10. If lowering my tax liability was that easy, I would already know about it. MYTH

Most accountants, attorneys, or business consultants aren’t taught to master the myths standing between you and your money. In fact, the financial industry benefits from small business owners not understanding tax myths. At Financial Gravity, however, we have expert tax planners and tax specialists who not only understand the tax code and the available “green lights” you can use to reduce your taxes but who will help you engage in proactive tax savings and tax planning. Read more here. 

If you’d like to read about the myths in further detail, you can download your own copy of the Tax Myth eBook here. After reading the eBook, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to do to lower your tax liability, increase your profit, and enhance your quality of life.

*image by Edu Lauton

What is a Meals and Entertainment Expense?

The IRS recognizes that wining and dining customers, vendors, or potential employees is a vital way to grow your business, which is why they offer a 50% deduction of all qualifying Meals and Entertainment expenses. You can deduct food as a business expense if you can 1/ verify that these expenses are business related, and 2/ document these expenses (in case of an audit).

Ok so if there is food involved, then it must be considered a Meals and Entertainment Expense right?

Not necessarily. In some cases, you can deduct 100% of the cost, like this example. A few years ago, I spent over $50,000 on hosting educational seminars to attract clients and grow my business. Though the seminars included food, they were far more educational than entertaining. I was able to claim a 100% deduction because I filed the expense as a marketing one, not a meals and entertainment one.

So, how do I know whether it’s a Meals and Entertainment Expense or not?

Answer the following questions:

1/ Was the food bought as part of a marketing expense?

2/ Was the food bought while traveling?

3/ Did you order pizza for your employees during a “working lunch?”

4/ Did you buy coffee and donuts for an early staff meeting?

Depending on your answers, you might be able to deduct the full amount instead of the standard 50%. Want to find more ways to lower your tax liability? Download our free Tax Myth eBook here.

*image by Gabriel Gurrola