Tax Advice For Your Home Based Business

There are many advantages in owning your own home based business. It is more than just working from home it is a business that has many advantages, one of them being tax advantages. As an employee, not only is your income predictable, but so are your tax write-offs. Typically as an employee your two major write-offs are your home and your dependents. But when you have your own business, large or small, the tax write-offs/tax advantages are numerous.

There are times in business, especially the first three years, where you may spend out much more than you earn and at that point you maybe eligible for a tax credit. A tax credit is when the money you paid out will not be refunded to you, but you will be credited that amount for the year(s) to come until your income exceeds that credited amount. Keeping a good track record of your expenses is very important. Not only should you keep your receipts for each business you may have separate, but you should record it in a program such as Quick Books. Many accountants use software such as quick Books and if your accountant uses something like that then it will be simple for you to download your information to them when it is time to file your taxes. It is also a good tool to have for you to reference when you need to review your budget or see when and where you profit or have a loss via customers or time frame.

Here is a list of the numerous tax advantages that you maybe eligible for when you own a home based business:

1. Auto Expense. If you use your vehicle for business purposes there are many items that you can write-off on your taxes. Keep records of your mileage, gas receipts, tolls and parking fees. If you lease your vehicle, you must take a percentage of the business year end mileage. One easy way to keep track of the year end mileage is to get your oil changed at the beginning and at the end of the year for an accurate mileage reading. If you solely use your vehicle for business be sure to keep your maintenance and repair receipts. Leverage your time, buy groceries from a store that is on the same route as your business appointments that way you will save a trip and ultimately write it off at the end of the year.

2. Payroll. If you have children helping in your business pay them. If it is under $5,150 per year (maybe slightly higher now), you don’t have to file a return for them. With the money they earn, have your kids pay for their extracurricular and daily incidentals using their wages earned. It will teach them life lessons and help your bottom line.

3. Office Equipment/Expenses. If you have an office inside of your home, you can write off any equipment or furniture in it as long as it is used 50% of the time for business. Office equipment such as computers, printers and other technology can have a tax deduction of up to 75% of your purchase price on your taxes the year they were purchased. Other office equipment would include: desk, chairs, desk and room accessories, paper supplies, stationary, business cards, samples etc. When you switch out or update your samples, it would be very economical if your samples are necessities that your household can use. There is not a size limit on samples, samples don’t have to mean “sample size” or 3 oz. like the airlines require us to use. A percentage of your utilities, home insurance, repairs and up keep are all tax write-offs. Cell phones, internet and fax services are tax write-offs too. A deduction of up to $30.00 per week to pay for your phones may be made and the extras such as voicemail, three-way and text messaging are deductible.

4. Other. Shipping and handling fees, event costs, health insurance, lodging, conference fees, business meals, convention fees, education, licenses and food that you purchase for an event are tax deductible.

So as you can see, just about every expense pertaining to your business is tax deductible. Remember when you form your business team your tax accountant plays a very important role. Before you begin or continue any further you should consult with your tax accountant for additional tax benefits that are specific to what you do. Meet with them weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly depending on the size and growth of your business to make sure you stay on the right track. Watch your financial output because even though you get tax deductibles it doesn’t mean you will get that money back like I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, you may receive a tax credit. Monetize as you go so that you can earn income as you build. Get and stay organized, communicate with your team of advisors and ask any questions or concerns that directly affect your business.

Do your research. There are many more tax advantages that are available they you may be eligible for. Don’t short change yourself by not being informed. Be proactive so you don’t have to react to any costly, avoidable mistakes. Start this New Year off right by ending the last strong…why not begin with your taxes?


How to Find the Best Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are essential characters when it comes to buying property. These individuals are the authorities in the industry and to find the best deals that may be availed it is best to have these individuals around for assistance. However, with the large number of real estate agent that may be hired in the field, people are caught not an inkling of which person to hire to aid them in their property-buying necessities. In order to solve this dilemma, here are some advice to find the best real estate agent for you.

Identify Your Needs
Though it can look out of topic, being aware of your needs can actually aid in finding the best real estate agent. This is firstly because the best agent doesn’t just refer to the first person on the list. The best broker can be the the person at the bottom but the only one who answered your needs to the utmost. Because of this, identifying your own requirements is important. You may relay this need to the realtor and if the person answers in a positive manner then you have met your agent.

Get Recommendations
There isn’t an easier way to get a good broker than to go around asking for recommendations. Interview the individuals who already had a familiarity with buying a property and in getting a real estate agent. People who got the best realtor probably had an efficient agent. Thus, approach these individuals and get their tips. They probably have much to say as regards their realtor. You may further review their evaluations of the brokers they got and see which of them had an experience which you might wish to have in your asset-buying process.

Check Potential Realtor’s Experience
There is nothing wrong with scrutinizing a potential broker. After all, you are going to be hiring and giving wages to the person. Ergo, you should have a guarantee that you aren’t throwing away any money on an inefficient worker. Do not be ashamed to inquire about their experience. Good real estate agent are always willing to reply to this query. On the other hand, bad realtors might have a difficult time responding as their sheet is flawed. To assured you are getting the best deal, make sure to get aid from those you can trust and effective laborers.

Ask Potential Realtors on How Much They can Attend to Your Needs
As what was said earlier, knowing your requirements is vital when getting a real estate agent. Through knowing what can satiate you in the whole procedure you can instantly relay it to the broker who wants to give you service. Upon relaying your needs you can then ask if the real estate agent is willing to give in to your desires lest you should move on to the next broker on your options. This shortens the options faster and make the process quicker.

Don’t Pressure Yourself
Only if you are in a terrible need of a property, you must not stress yourself to immediately get an excellent broker. Too much persistence can produce a lot of stress and irritation. This may darken your decision and instead of getting a good agent, you might end up with a greedy, uncooperative one. Therefore, the best thing is to take your time in looking for an agent. Through not pressuring yourself a lot, you prevent yourself from getting annoyed and from making bad decisions.


Evaluate the Marketing System Before Investing in a Franchise – Does it Deliver the Right Customers?

Most individuals who buy franchises do so with the expectation that the franchise company will do a better job of marketing the business than the individual could do on his or her own. Marketing acumen, expertise, implementation and buying power are among the major motivators for franchise buyers. Most people admit that they’re not very good at marketing, and they can’t afford to do it on their own. Therefore they look to franchise companies, particularly to franchisors, to handle that aspect of business development for them.

Franchisees frequently complain about inadequate marketing

And yet, marketing failure is one of the major reasons for dissatisfaction among franchisees.

Here are several reasons why:

  • Just because it’s a franchise doesn’t mean it’s a good business, or that you should buy it.
  • Just because it’s a franchise doesn’t mean the franchisor has perfected the marketing program.
  • Just because it’s a name brand doesn’t mean that the marketing is effective all of the time, in all markets.
  • Just because it’s a franchise, doesn’t mean that the marketing generates the “right” customers for your business.

How good is the marketing system?

Before you buy a franchise, look at the effectiveness of the marketing system. Put aside name brand identity, type of business, geographic location, and many of the other issues that you evaluate before you buy a franchise, and dig into the value of the marketing overall.

 Ask these questions:

  • Does it work? How do you know?
  • Is it cost effective? 
  • How much will it cost you each month to implement the marketing system?
  • What does it cost to generate one customer for the business?
  • How many customers will the marketing generate daily, weekly, quarterly?
  • How much money will each customer spend in your business?
  • How often does a customer return to the business to spend more money?
  • How many years does a customer remain a customer of the business?
  • How often is the marketing program updated by the franchisor?
  • As a franchisee, what will be your ongoing marketing costs?

Ask the franchisees, but even then be cautious!

Don’t just accept the franchisor’s answers to these questions. Ask the franchisees! 

Unfortunately, sometimes even the franchisees won’t be able to help you assess the marketing system. They think it’s doing the job, and it’s not.

Not all customers are created equal

For example, a famous name brand franchise system asked me to help them evaluate their marketing system, only to discover that while it generated customers for the franchisees, the customers were the “wrong” customers! They spent too little money, they made too many unreasonable demands, and they drove the franchisees into a frenzy. No marketing would have been better than that kind of marketing! Ultimately, many franchisees in this network lost money and some went out of business because the marketing system was targeted to attract the “wrong” customers.

There are “wrong” customers and there are “right” customers and every business will attract some of both. However, you want to be sure your franchise marketing system delivers more “right” customers than “wrong” customers.

How do you recognize a “right” customer?

What’s a “right” customer? Here are several characteristics:

  • They spend the most money in the least time
  • They frequently return and buy more
  • They follow your system and are not disruptive
  • They promote your business

Here’s why many franchisees are disgruntled

If you evaluate the marketing system using the above criteria, your challenge is more difficult. Frequently, and unfortunately, neither franchisor nor franchisees realize that their marketing systems are attracting the “wrong” customers. Which explains why so many franchisees are disgruntled.

Unless you know that you can do a better job of marketing than can the franchisor (and the franchisor will give you that leeway), you must carefully evaluate the marketing system before you invest in a franchise.


Non-Traditional Lenders – A Route to $50,000 Unsecured Personal Loans

During these recessionary times, it is no secret that requirements for personal loans have been tightened by traditional lenders. Many consumers are dealing with unemployment or under-employment. These bad times have thrust poor credit ratings on many consumers. These factors do not negate the need of some consumers for large loans to see them through hard times.

You may have noticed that online lenders offer large loans, up to $50,000, even for those with poor credit. If you are in need in such a loan, take a look at how you might go about landing a substantial loan from a non-traditional lender.

Non-Traditional Lenders

Perhaps you have approached a number of traditional lenders, such as banks and credit unions, for a substantial loan and your applications have been rejected. To fill the need for such loans, non-traditional lenders have entered the market and are available to meet the needs of many borrowers. These lenders do not rely on credit scores and do not ask borrowers to put up any collateral, such as a vehicle or real estate.

Non-Traditional Lenders Require Non-Traditional Scrutiny

Many non-traditional lenders operate online. Beware, websites can disappear under one guise and show up elsewhere in a matter of a few hours. Before you decide to do business with any high-value loan lender who operates online, you should thoroughly check their credentials. The wise borrower should query the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the lender is accredited there and that it has decent ratings and positive consumer feedback.

Find the Right Interest Rates, Fees, and Repayment Terms

Before you approach a high-value loan online lender, make a budget of what you want the loan to cover, along with estimated costs. Doing so will give you a better idea of how much cash you need to ask for. You will want to keep in mind the amount of monthly repayments you can easily cover.

Lenders will be more apt to seriously consider your loan if you can tell them why you need the money and how you plan to use it. If the use of the cash loaned is a way to a return on investment, they will take your request even more seriously.

If you still are unable to impress upon a lender your need and your ability to repay, you may want to seek a friend or family member to act as a cosigner. They should have a better credit score than yourself and they should be employed. They should also be aware that by cosigning the loan that they are liable for the amount of the loan should you default for any reason.

Do Not Try to Penny Ante the System

Some borrowers who cannot land a high-value loan may opt for taking out a number of small loans. Most non-traditional lenders have access to data banks that red-flag borrowers who are attempting to do just that. And, while you may be approved for a number of small loans, your credit history will take a hit; just as doctors report to pharmacies patients who are drug seeking.

After Approval for Your High-Value Loan

Once you have landed a high-value loan, stick to the budget you formed before you approached the lender, and use the money wisely. Under no circumstance should you consider defaulting on the loan, especially if you have a friend or family member as a cosigner. The loan has become your responsibility and it is incumbent upon you to meet your repayment obligation. If you do not, your credit rating will become even more deplorable and you may make an enemy of your co-signer.

A high-value personal loan from an online lender could be the ticket out of your financial problems. If you use it prudently and repay as agreed.