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Thursday August 16, 2018

Washington News

Washington Hotline

IRS Highlights National Small Business Week

In IR-2018-109, the Service highlighted various resources that may benefit small business owners. These include online tax help, protection against identity theft and the home office deduction.
  1. Online Services - The IRS website offers multiple options for small business owners. The "Sharing Economy Tax Center" and a video on the Service's YouTube channel titled "Your Taxes in a Sharing Economy" answer various tax questions. The sharing economy includes ride sharing, home rentals, reselling and similar businesses. A common challenge for small business owners is withholding. The number of taxpayers who paid under-withholding penalties increased from 7.2 million in 2010 to 10 million in 2015. The IRS "Pay As You Go" page explains withholding and quarterly estimated tax payments. Finally, the "Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center" has a variety of tools to help taxpayers avoid an IRS audit.
  2. Avoiding Identity Theft - A small business owner is an attractive target for identity thieves. They may steal Employer Identification Numbers (EIN) and create fake Forms W-2 to file and claim fraudulent refunds. A helpful guide for small business owners is "Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals." It is published by the U.S. Commerce Department.
  3. Home Office Deductions - Many small business owners have an office in their home. The home office deduction is only available if the home office is the owner's only fixed business location. The regular home office method permits deductions of direct business expenses and allocation of indirect home expenses between business and personal use. The simplified method deducts $5 per square foot up to 300 square feet. Daycare providers must use a special calculation method. The typical deductible expenses for a home office include the pro rated business portion of real estate taxes, mortgage interest, utilities, depreciation, maintenance and repairs.

Published May 4, 2018

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