1. Business plan. Outline who will own the business and what the legal form will be, your qualifications to run the business, the competitive market you face, the products or services you will sell, and how you intend to advertise to prospective customers. How much cash will you need to start up and where will those funds come from?
2. Legal form. You can incorporate, or operate as an LLC, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship. Consider both tax and non-tax reasons for selecting a given entity.
3. Location. If your business will consist only of online sales, your world headquarters can be wherever you are. However, if your business needs foot traffic to thrive, you’ll need to research rents and other costs such as utilities, as well as zoning and traffic restrictions.
4. Taxes. You’ll have to work with the IRS, state tax agencies, and local governments to obtain permits and occupational licenses.
5. Advisors. Create a business financial team that includes a banker, an insurance agent, an attorney, and an accountant. Involve your advisors early and frequently.
Need more suggestions for getting your business off to a good start? Contact us. We’re here to help.
Starting a new business is an exciting time. But before you even open the doors, you generally have to spend a lot of money. You may have to train workers and pay for rent, utilities, marketing and more.
Entrepreneurs are often unaware that many expenses incurred by start-ups can’t be deducted right away.
How expenses are handled on your tax return
When planning a new enterprise, remember these key points:
• Start-up costs include those incurred or paid while creating an active trade or business — or investigating the creation or acquisition of one. Organizational costs include the costs of creating a corporation or partnership.
• Under the federal tax code, taxpayers can elect to deduct up to $5,000 of business start-up and $5,000 of organizational costs. The $5,000 deduction is reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount by which your total start-up or organizational costs exceed $50,000. Any remaining costs must be amortized over 180 months on a straight-line basis.
• No deductions or amortization write-offs are allowed until the year when “active conduct” of your new business commences. That usually means the year when the enterprise has all the pieces in place to begin earning revenue. To determine if a taxpayer meets this test, the IRS and courts will generally ask: Did the taxpayer undertake the activity intending to earn a profit? Was the taxpayer regularly and actively involved? Has the activity actually begun?
An important decision
Time may be of the essence if you have start-up expenses that you’d like to deduct this year. You need to decide whether to take the elections described above. Recordkeeping is important. Contact us about your business start-up plans. We can help with the tax and other aspects of your new venture.