As with all tax write offs, keeping good records throughout the year is very important. If you use your vehicle for personal and business purposes, make sure to record the miles you drive for business reasons. The easiest way to write off your vehicle expenses is using the IRS standard mileage rate that is currently 58 cents in 2019. The other way to write off your car expenses is to deduct your actual expenses.
Which is better for you? And why would you choose which option? Let’s talk about that next.
If your business requires you to drive a lot making deliveries or running a lot of errands, mileage deduction is usually going to be your best option. Many businesses find themselves driving more and more these days. Food Delivery services are in higher demand than ever. Most household items are easily delivered these days and most people are taking advantage of these services.
On the other hand, if your vehicle isn’t fuel efficient or needs a lot of costly maintenance, you might get a larger deduction by using your actual expenses instead of the IRS mileage rate.
Another great tax deduction that might not occur to you is making a vehicle donation. If it’s time for a new vehicle, why not take advantage of donating it to charity and getting the value as a tax write off? There are organizations that will actually handle all of the work for you. Great companies such as Cars2Charities will also make it so the organization you choose to receive the donation, also doesn't have to do any of the work. They also clean up your vehicle before it sells to make sure it’s worth the highest amount possible.
As always make sure to speak with a tax professional with any questions regarding filing your taxes. We’re happy to talk with you on how to record writing off your vehicle expenses or donations in your bookkeeping software.
1. Dropbox (or other cloud bases storage system) - This was recommended to me when I first started organizing my own business. The best part is it’s usually free of charge up to a certain point for storage. I love creating folders inside of my Dropbox account. I have one for each year that I’ve been in business and then have folders inside of those folders. Some great folder ideas to include are for things such as: Receipts, Tax documents, Bank Statements, Bookkeeping, etc.
2. Folder File – I love these things! They take up very little space and expand as you use them. You can label the different sections into months or by category. For the price of $6.49, I think that’s a pretty good deal for an at home or office filing system. I use two, one for both my personal items and for my business.
3. A Good Scanner – This may be optional but seems to be a must have for just about any business these days. My business often has to sign papers for vendors and send them back in electronically. Also, if you’re wanting less mess or less papers around you, scanning them and discarding them is the best way to go. A good scanner is a little pricey but it’s also an investment. Once your business can afford it, I think it’s a great tool to help you stay organized. This Brother Scanner is currently $95.99 and appears to hold its value since that’s also what I bought mine for almost two years ago.
4. A Business Bank Account – I cannot stress enough how important this is. Having your business transactions separate from your personal accounts makes your bookkeeping a million times easier. I had a few months of combining them and my taxes were a lot more difficult that year. I am much happier now that I have them separate. There are many free Business Checking accounts as well as banks that do have a monthly service fee. Credit Unions are usually free or Online Only banks such as Capital One. I suggest talking to a banker at a local bank near you first to learn about your options and find out what you need to open your account.
5. Business Credit Card – When you’re making business purchases you have some options: Cash (hard to keep track of and record) Debit Card Checks Credit Cards Everyone is different and we all have different struggles with money. Personally, I view credit cards just like I view debit cards. I only use them if I can pay them off. I never pay interest; I find ones with no annual fee and I get reward points. It’s like getting paid to shop. Especially with large business purchases these reward points can really add up fast. Once your business is set up and you have your business bank account, I would suggest getting a business credit card. In my experience I was approved based on my personal credit score. Before I had my business credit card, I used a personal credit card but I used it ONLY for business transactions. Keeping business accounts separate will save you hours with your bookkeeping. Some businesses will even have different cards they use for different expenses such as Inventory or Office Supplies. Whatever helps you save time is a great tool to use. My favorite business credit cards are: American Express Open and Capital One Spark Business Card.
6. Quickbooks Online (QBO) – This was personally a game changer for my business. I will be honest though... When I was a new business owner there were many tears shed in setting up my QBO and I even hired two different professionals to help me. One didn't understand my business and the other one I found a little confusing... But once I understood it everything has been much easier ever since. If bookkeeping or accounting just isn’t your thing feel free to contact us to help. We promise to understand your business and get it done right. We would also love to work with you on a monthly basis to keep your books organized so you always know where your business stands. A great thing that QBO gives you is access to all the cash flow reports. If you ever need a loan from a bank for example this is a great thing to show them. If anyone asks if your business is profitable you can show them your recent Balance Sheet or Profit and Loss report and they can better decide on the loan you are qualified for. We recommend getting the QuickBooks Simple Start plan for new businesses just starting out.