7/23/2021

Financial Guides

Top Deductible Small Business Expenses for 2021

This list of deductible business expenses can help lower your tax obligations in 2021. Save money as you discover which expenses qualify as tax-deductible:

Tim Wu
Tim Wu

Head of Growth

Table of Contents


Reduce your company’s tax burden by learning the most commonly deducted business expenses!

Discovering new small business expenses that you can deduct on your tax forms represents a solid win for you and your company. Below, we’ve compiled a list of deductible business expenses to help you reduce the taxes you will owe next year. Take a look below and hopefully you’ll find new ways to save money on taxes:

1. Office Space

Because of COVID-19, most employers and their employees work at least part-time at home. If you’re one such employer, you can claim tax deductions for using part of your home for business. There are two main conditions for this:

·        You should have a dedicated area for regular and exclusive use for business activities. This could be a home office or something similar.

·        You must demonstrate that you, in fact, use the home as a principal place of business. In other words, even if you have a business office somewhere else but still maintain a home office, you may qualify for a home office deduction if that’s where you spend the majority of your work time. A good example is if you frequently take business meetings from home – something which has become more or less a routine due to COVID-19.

The IRS grants a deduction of up to $5 per square foot of your home provided that the home office is no more than 300 square feet. The maximum amount deductible is $1,500.

2. Online Apps and Software

You’re allowed to deduct the cost of purchasing a software or app that your business uses to operate. The same goes for monthly subscriptions to essential apps and software.

If your business relies on accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero, then you can claim deductibles. The same goes for:

·        Marketing tools like Constant Contact, Unbounce, WAYB, Yelp and SEMRush

·        Sales software like Drip POS and Square. You also get tax breaks on processing fees

·        HR apps like Buddy Punch, Gusto, Indeed and Zenefits

·        Document management tools like PandaDoc and SignEasy

·        Web hosting services

·        Email service providers

To enjoy tax deductions on software, you must itemize your deductions. Additionally, the grand sum of all deductions must total to more than 2% of your AGI (adjusted gross income). In other words, you stand to gain more by using as many software as you need (to increase the gross value of deductibles).

3. Employee Salaries and Benefits

Small business owners can deduct their employees’ salaries and benefits when filling out their tax forms. However, they must meet certain criteria to make the deduction. Some of the elements include:

·        The employee must not have a financial interest in your company

·        You do not unreasonably overpay the employee

·        Your business needs the services of the employee

·        The employee provided the services

4. FFCRA Deduction

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) makes you eligible for deductions every time your employee takes a paid sick leave that’s related to COVID-19. You’re entitled to deductions, not just on the amount you’ll spend on paid leave, but also the additional costs that come with the employee’s absence.

While not mandatory, the FFCRA allows employers to grant their employees paid sick leave whenever they or their dependents are sick from COVID-19. Dependents are defined under “qualified family leave wages” and include:

·        The employee’s immediate family member

·        A person who resides in the employee’s home

·        Someone with whom the employee has a personal relationship and would be obliged to care for (like parent or estranged spouse).

Note that FFCRA deductions are valid through September 30, 2021.

5. Educational assistance plan

Does your business have a Section 127 plan for its employees? If yes, then the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allows you to pay for your employees’ educational expenses with zero tax obligation. Although this tax relief was introduced to shield employers from COVID-19, it has now been extended through 2025.

6. Interest Expense

You may deduct interest on any loans taken out for the purpose of sustaining your business. This is important now more than ever seeing as many small businesses were pushed into debt due to COVID-19. Thus, interest paid on lines of credit, term loans, mortgages as well as refinanced loans (and mortgages) are all deductible. Two main conditions hold:

·        The business must be legally liable for the loan.

·        The lender requires that you repay the loan. That is to say, grants and other sources of businesses finances that don’t require repayment are not deductible.

7. Childcare and Dependent Care

Childcare represents a deductible small business expense. If your children have not reached the age of 13, you can deduct their childcare costs. You can also write off expenses related to the care of your spouse or other adult dependents.

8. Meals

Meals might represent the most popular form of small business expense deduction. In general, you can deduct half of all qualifying food and beverage items. The meal must reasonably relate to business, and you must document the event. Make sure you keep a record regarding the date, location, and total cost of the meal, as well as some proof of a business relationship with your dining partner.

9. Travel Expenses

Another popular entry on our list of deductible business expenses, travel costs, can qualify for a tax deduction if they relate to work. The elements that the IRS uses to determine whether travel expenses remain work-related include whether:

·        The travel proves necessary

·        The filer left the area of the principal place of business

·        The trip lasted longer than a workday

·        The filer slept or rested during travel

Deductible travel expenses include airfare, hotels, taxis, rental cars, and more.

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