According to data compiled in tax year 2009, more than 4 million Americans claimed the home-office deduction on their tax returns. That’s about 3 percent of the total 140 million returns filed in 2010. The number is likely to increase this year, with business startup rates having increased substantially in 2011.
Kathy Pickering, executive director of the Tax Institute, research and analysis division of tax-services provider H&R Block (HRB), says the average home-office deduction is valued at more than $2,600. Yet many taxpayers are unclear about how to claim the deduction, or they worry that if they do, they’ll face an IRS audit. Pickering says that although the home-office deduction is scrutinized closely, it should be used by those who are eligible.
Individuals with policies in their name or that of their business can deduct premiums as long as they weren’t eligible for coverage via another source
Entrepreneurs short on marketing cash can team up with other small businesses that target the same types of customers and promote each other’s products or services.
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A computer is only as useful as the software you run on it, so you should keep your PC’s software current–and not necessarily with the latest version of a program that’s getting long in the tooth. Sometimes, switching to a new application can help you speed up your work or make your system more efficient.
PCWorld examined software tools for handling 11 categories of common (and essential) PC tasks: presentations, financial planning, note taking, file management, photo editing, email, word processing, music organizing, remote access, cleanup/optimization, and backup. In each instance, we identified the dominant program, a promising challenger, and (where applicable) an online alternative. Our category coverage invites you to consider the pros and cons of each type of contender: incumbents, up-and-comers, and Web apps.
If you rent space in an office building and want to move, you’d better act sooner than later.
That’s the advice of office experts who see declining vacancy rates over the next two or three years and very little new construction.
“2012 will not be the year when most landlords gain the upper hand in lease negotiations,” said research analyst Joel Warsh in his 2012 forecast from the Grubb & Ellis’ local commercial brokerage office. “Tenants, however, will see some of their leverage slip as vacancy decreases to an overall figure marginally less than 17 percent.”
In California, the new rules include limits on the ability of businesses to check the credit reports of workers and job seekers. Nationwide, tax deductions for equipment purchases will be sharply reduced.
Small-business owners will be greeted Jan. 1 with dozens of new laws and regulations.
In California, they will include new mandates concerning employees, including a partial ban on checking the credit reports of workers and job applicants.
And it’s no surprise that there are changes at the federal level too.
Here’s a guide to some of the new laws and regulations set to go into effect in 2012.
- Federal Taxes changes
- New federal accessibility rules
- New California laws
Despite the partisan bickering that kept Congress from accomplishing much in 2011, small businesses and entrepreneurs managed to eke out a few victories in Washington, D.C., this year.
1. Repeal of the 1099 paperwork requirement
2. Repeal of 3 percent withholding for government contractors
3. Small Business Innovation Research compromise
4. Startup America launched
5. Free-trade agreements passed
If you use your car for business, you may be eligible for valuable tax deductions.
Drivers have a choice of how to calculate the deduction. When in doubt, crunch the numbers both ways to see which produces the bigger deduction for you.
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