Home Office Writeoffs? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Taking Care of Business

Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 7th, 2006, 08:02 PM   #16
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,933
Ah, I see. That makes sense.
__________________
Black Label Films
www.blacklabelweddingfilms.com
Travis Cossel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7th, 2006, 10:38 PM   #17
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Do you deduct mileage or actual expenses for your automobile? Do you deduct your cell phone? Do you deduct meals you eat on the road when on the job? If you had an office outside of your home would you not deduct that? Do you deduct credit card interest for things you buy that are directly related to your business? Can you PROVE with receipts everything you do deduct? How about any medical insurance, and biz cards, paper to print your brochures or contracts on? These are all legitmate expenses therefore writeoffs for you business as is a home office. Over 80million people today work out of their homes and are able to deduct a portion of that from the taxes without breaking the law. 25-30-35 years ago different story, home offices were looked at with a jaded eye from the IRS - today not so much. You and I have the same tax benefits as any major company out there AS LONG AS 1) your home office is your primary place of doing business (not shooting but RUNNING your business-phones,editing, meeting with clients) Unlike a doctor who may have an office in his/her to do papaerwork they generally donot meet patients there and do say a physical exam therefore it is not considered to be their primary place of business therfore no deduction- that's what they have an office in a medical building for. We on the other hand GENERALLY do not need an office outside of our home to do business. 2) Your home office must be a seperate defined room however it can serve double purpose if say guests come over and stay you happen to have a couch that opens into a bed and they can sleep in your office. It's primary function is that of OFFICE not bedroom. Those are the 2 main things and after running a business from my home for almost 35 years and never having a problem with the IRS about my home office (nor any of the literally hundreds of other people I know) again I can only suggest talk to an accountant who is well versed in the subject who knows about deductions who understands the differences and tax implications between an LLC a sub S and whathave you and make a decision based on facts.
We're videographers not accountants-we know video not accounting nor do we,dare I say, know ALL of the implications of the IRS tax codes-check with an accountant- a real accountant.
I'm not pickin' on anyone not flaming anyone it's just a thread like this can be dangerous to someone who reads only bits and pieces.
Get a lawyer and an accountant pay the money to them and let them do the job they know how to do-we're videographers and I for one am not a lawyer or accountant-I pay them and when they need MY services they pay me. They're pros at what they do, I'm a pro at what I do-it keeps things cleaner that way.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7th, 2006, 10:50 PM   #18
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,933
Thanks again for taking the time to respond. I originally posted this question because it seemed perfectly reasonable to get a deduction for my office space, yet my accountant has steered me away from doing this for the past 2 years. It just seemed odd.

If nothing else, you have shown me that my accountant might not have my best interests at heart. We are definitely looking for a new accountant this year. Thanks for all the great advice and input.
__________________
Black Label Films
www.blacklabelweddingfilms.com
Travis Cossel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 8th, 2006, 07:51 AM   #19
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 110
Hey Travis, don't be to quick to dismiss your accountant as not having your best interest at heart. He is "advising you" based on what the IRS can do if they snag you for an audit. He is not a surgeon. Out of all of the hearsay comments here, there is some important info also.

1. When you rent your home (or part of) to your business you can expect to have a tax implication. Not being taxed directly, but when it comes time to sell your home. Again only if your snagged.
If your home is your primary residence, the profit is usually tax free on a one time basis. If you have rented your home to your business all of the money payed as rent is no longer tax free.


2. The IRS has definately clamped down on home office deductions, making it very limited on what you can claim, hence why some say it's not worth it.
I find this interesting because more and more people are working out of their home's because they can (Computers, faxes, email etc.) and it saves the double overhead of having 2 locations to support (home and office). Many large corporations actually incourage it because it saves them money on capitol inventment. (not needing to build new buildings to expand or to accomodate good employees who have children etc.)

The essence is, if you're a gambler you might never have a problem. If you want to avoid problems that would only save you a few pennys anyway, play it straight.
Besides, instead of trying to save a few dollars why don't you just go out and make more revenue.

Just a thought
Gary Moses is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 8th, 2006, 10:35 AM   #20
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Posts: 342
Home Office

If you have a legit home office, the write-off effort is worthwhile and is a great help on the long form. I have been doing it for 20 years. Key is to make sure you can account for expenses with receipts, that you use the space in your home as a primary work area, and that you have an accountant that understands the nature of your business. There are lot of legitimate deductions related to production, etc., that may not be understood by a civilian bookkeeper.
Jack D. Hubbard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 8th, 2006, 11:26 AM   #21
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,543
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Moses
Besides, instead of trying to save a few dollars why don't you just go out and make more revenue.
Bravo! You and I are on the same page there. I think far too many people get hung up on saving money on taxes.
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 8th, 2006, 03:26 PM   #22
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,933
I'm not 'hung up' on the issue or anything. I just want to take advantage of any opportunities to save money that I can. It's the same reason I shop around for equipment or materials or services. If my home office is legit, and I'm paying more in taxes because it's not being deducted, then that is just another avenue for me to improve my bottom line. I'm already paying the accountant every year, so it seems like I might as well take advantage of the option.


Gary,

I don't want to go through the hassle of 'renting' my office to myself, unless it's somehow easier than just taking a deduction. Thanks for all the input you gave. I appreciate it.

I really just feel like a lot of people deduct their home offices, and because I'm not, I'm paying more in taxes than I need to. If it was going to cost me more money to make the deduction, then that would be one thing. However, I pay my accountant the same whether we take the deduction or not. So the only possible downside it sounds like is an audit from the IRS, which could happen anyways.
__________________
Black Label Films
www.blacklabelweddingfilms.com
Travis Cossel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 8th, 2006, 04:04 PM   #23
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 110
Travis, I'm sorry if I confused you. In order to take a deduction, your company has to pay for something so that you can deduct that money as an expense. So by renting your home I mean that you will take a room or space that is only for business purposes and pay the owner (you) for that space or portion of your home as rent.
Gary Moses is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 8th, 2006, 05:16 PM   #24
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,933
Gary,

I guess my understanding of it is that you don't have to rent the space out to your business. You can just deduct a percentage of your mortgage/utilities based on the square footage of the office space. My business is an LLC, so I file my taxes with my personal taxes.
__________________
Black Label Films
www.blacklabelweddingfilms.com
Travis Cossel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 8th, 2006, 09:03 PM   #25
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 156
Travis,

I can't see why you would not deduct your home office. If you did get audited and a portion of your home office deductions were disallowed that isn't the end of the world. You will lose all the money for that deduction if not taken for sure if you don't claim it. If on the other hand you are doiing jobs and pocketing the cash, then good day to you sir.

Mike
Mike F Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2006, 12:58 AM   #26
Hawaiian Shirt Mogul
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: northern cailfornia
Posts: 1,261
it would seem that your accountant sees the BIG PICTURE (your business , personal income etc) and is giving you advice based on the BIG picture. we here do not know the fine details of your situation in 2005 or past years so it's easy to say take a office deduction.
... you could get advice over phone or short meeting with different accountant and that advice is just based on what you tell them - to give you sound advice they should probably know what your business has been doing the past 3-5 years
Don Donatello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2006, 01:38 PM   #27
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 192
record keeping.....

NOTE: I am not a Lawyer, Accountant, EA, CPA or any other licensed professional so please do not take my comments as advice. Consult the proper professional!

I know the conversation has moved past this already but I did want to make this comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
But other than a display area that showcases some of our dvd packaging and a sign for my business, I don't know how else we could 'prove' it's use.
You prove it by keeping a log. Every time you use the room you make a note of when you started, stopped, who was there, what project you were working on, if not working on a project note the fact that you were showing demo's to a potential customer and the name of that potential customer. If you play a movie for the family, record it as personal use. As long as your log shows clearly that the room and the equipment in it are used primarily for business then you should have no problem claiming it as a deduction.

This works best if you have a peice of equipment that will log total hours used, such as the bulb timer on a projector but I have heard that the mere fact that you have documentation is a heavy factor.

Most importantly though.....Check with a proper professional!

Randy

P.S. About your current accountant not taking the deduction, he may be making that reccomendation based on the possible savings to you vs the possible expense you would have to pay to him and others to defend such a deduction in the event of an audit. If that is the case you need to talk to him about providing you with as much information about how/why he is advising you in a certain way just like you need to provide him with as much information as possible so that he can make informed reccomendations.
Randall Allen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2006, 04:21 PM   #28
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,933
Yeah, I started thinking that I could use the bulb hours to prove the time that the projector was used. Combine that with a physical written log and I think I would be okay. The theater room is barely ever used, for clients OR home use (sad, I know, I know), so I don't know if that would factor into how much of a deduction I could take. I guess I'll be going over all of this with an accountant and see where I end up.
__________________
Black Label Films
www.blacklabelweddingfilms.com
Travis Cossel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 13th, 2006, 02:43 AM   #29
New Boot
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 5
Hope this helps

Hello all. My name is Anna Schaffrina and I was asked to respond to your post by one of my clients, John Scott, who is also a member on the forum.

To answer your question as best I can without talking your ear off, the answer to it is YES; it is VERY worth the effort. To give you a little background on me and what I do: I own a business called Front Office Solutions in Fairbanks, Alaska, and have clients all over the country. What my company does is tax-loophole track accounting and bookkeeping. I have been doing this for over 25 years and what I do, mainly, is find all the deductions possible for my clients and do the necessary tracking or bookkeeping for those deductible expenses.

There are 2 very important reasons why you should take the deduction, one is much more important than the other. First, and the least important is the actual deduction itself. Even if it is only a couple of hundred dollars that you save it is STILL money saved. Secondly, and most importantly is the one I didn't see anyone addressing in the answering here. It is the need to prove "Intent" with the IRS.

I write a business editorial for a newspaper here and I am posting a copy of a recent article I wrote that explains INTENT and a partial clip of an article on Tax Loopholes referencing CPA's and Accountants. Neither is what most people think they are, and I hope it will help answer more deeply your questions.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me via email at info.frontoffice@gmail.com.

Defining Tax Loopholes (partial clip concerning accountants)


There are several loopholes that can be used that people never even know exist. More than once, I have had my clients ask me, "Why didn't my CPA tell me about this?" I can only shrug my shoulders and respond with "unless he/she specializes in tax practice, (as an Enrolled Agent), they probably didn't know." Now, don't start thinking I am, in any way, slamming CPA's. It is just an honest truth not all CPA's (or accountants) are tax specialist. While they are one of the most valuable members of your financial team, CPA's are more like historians. They track your financial data; use your historic data, combined with your new data, to help you succeed with your financial goals.

Your CPA is not a magician; he cannot read minds; he cannot pull your financial figures out of his hat. Believe it or not, you don't pay your CPA to track your income and expenses or to find qualifying loopholes. That is what you hire people like me to do. You hire a CPA to accurately prepare your tax return using those tracked income and expenses, which will tell him what you qualify for and to help you find the path to your financial goals. They cannot deduct what they don't know you have.


Proving Intent: COG's, Expendable Inventory… (full article)

I will not insult your intelligence by explaining why a business must, without a doubt, track standard operating inventory. However, inventory for Cost of Goods sold (COG's) and expendable inventories are a totally different ball game. There are few business owners who know the IRS, while never telling you, will regard it mandatory for a business (regardless of size, type, or income level) to track COG's and expendable supplies. Most business owners believe that all deductible expenses are actually optional and believe COG's and expendable items are tracked simply "because they're tax deductible". It is because of that single thought most self employed, and/or very small independents, choose to not make the effort. In effect, by not tracking them, they will be making the worst mistake they can make.

There is one rule in the IRS code that can be interpreted countless ways, yet is written in what appears to be a very precise directive. No where in the IRS code does it state a company must make money to be a "real" business. The IRS Code states "a business must prove the intent to make money to be a business".

Now, let's define intent. Whether you use the word intent or intention- aim, goal, target, objective, plan, meaning, or purpose- is normally what you are trying to say. However, those definitions are not necessarily what the IRS is referring to, or using for its definition. In most cases you will find the IRS is using the word "intent" as a connotation, and using this as its definition: intent- the meaning, or significance of something, especially when it is not explicitly expressed while also encompassing full attention and effort concentrated or focused on, one thing.

What it means is, for a company to be designated a "real" company, the sole purpose of that company must be the concentrated effort and focusing on one thing… to make money. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But, how do you corroborate or establish "intent" when the amount of actual income is not necessarily a factor? What if you have little or no income? Many businesses, when first starting out, do not have the luxury of recognizing immediate income. Some owners even live under the misconception that they should "claim" they made money they didn't make, just to be safe. Guess what? They claimed it for nothing. If you are called in for an audit and you have "claimed" income but cannot prove intent, you are going to be in a lot of trouble. You will be required to prove "intent", among other things, by going much further than showing ads you have placed in a newspaper, or money deposited to your business account.

You must be able to prove that you have operated "as" a business. Not so simple.

No business can conduct any business without the basic necessities like paper clips, staples, paper, ledger sheets, envelopes, postage stamps, just to name a few. How can a lawn service company claim intent by showing a bank balance when they have no proof of purchasing trash bags? Show me one online company that claims they can function without purchasing envelopes, and I will show you a company that cannot prove intent.

The fact of the matter is advertising, networking, COG's, (cost of goods sold; NOT your standard inventory for re-sale, but money spent on items, which are not elsewhere defined expenses, you have to have to be able to sell your item or service), and expendable inventory are proof you are honestly operating "as" a business. While those items are not all you need to prove intent, you cannot prove intent without ALL of them. It boils down to the very basic truth, you can make money without "intent", but you cannot "prove" intent because you made money.

Should you be audited and not prove intent, regardless of how much money you made, every deduction you have taken will be disallowed. Taxes, penalties, interests; need I say more? Believe me when I say tracking ALL those costs, or paying someone to track all those costs, will be the BEST investment you will ever make IN your business, because you already know, "the future you are planning to bring to reality will not be determined by the money you make; it will be cemented by the money you keep…"


Hope it helped... Have a great week,
Anna
--
The future you are planning to bring to reality will not be determined by the money you make; it will be cemented by the money you keep...
Anna Schaffrina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 12th, 2008, 04:29 PM   #30
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Bay City, Michigan
Posts: 585
internet and cable TV

What about writing off the cost of high speed internet? I'd estimate I use it 80% for work, 20% personal. Has anyone written off a % of this cost?

What about HD cable tv? I'm always looking at lighting, shot set-ups, frame composition while watching movies. I'd say it's a legitimate expense.

anyone written off any similar expenses?
Robert Bobson is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Taking Care of Business

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:05 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network