|Image courtesy Gary Christian|
As we begin the annual misery known as tax preparation, we are again grateful to the friend who several years ago said,
"You do have an LLC, right?"
Maybe you are way ahead of us on this and have been enjoying the benefits of incorporating for awhile. If so, feel free to add to the discussion with a comment. Tax wizards we aren't - but we do like to save tax dollars.
Let's say you are a nurse or paramedic who occasionally teaches a class for an outside agency. Do you get a check made out to you as a contractor? If so you should incorporate.
Are you a pilot who does a bit of flying for a friend. Do you speak at AMTC or a regional conference? If you get paid in any regard for occasional work that you do and are not an employee of the payor - you should incorporate.
If you do two simple things you can enjoy many of the tax-saving benefits that large corporate entities do.
1. Go online and visit your secretary of state and create your corporation. Several years ago, we created a "sole-proprietor" limited liability company named AMRM Training Solutions. In Georgia it's cheap - and you do not need a lawyer or legal service. You can do it yourself. We pay $50.00 per year as a for-profit. That cost is tax deductible.
For Georgia visit
If you happen to live in Michigan, you might start here
2. File for a federal employer identification number. It's easy.
If you do a gig that pays more than a few hundred dollars, the payor wants to deduct what they have paid you, so they will ask you to fill out a W-9 (it's online too). You will enter your EIN also known as your taxpayer ID number. At tax-filing time, your preparer will need the number for your return.
Of special note, when you start searching for these resources, lots of sites will present themselves as your go-to resource. They cost money. You don't need to pay money to a service to do these things. Make sure you are at the state or federal website and you can do it yourself. Those guys are trying to run a scam. They have official-looking websites and send official-looking letters designed to scam you.
So, what's the benefit of incorporation? Well, if you have a business and are out there generating revenue, lots of "household" costs are tax deductible. Do you have smartphones? Check. Internet service? Check. Do you drive your vehicle to a gig? Keep track of the miles because they are deductible. If you present at AMTC or ECHO, all the expenses are deductible because you are furthering the aims of your business. You are an industry expert sharing knowledge and looking for gigs. Right?
Notwithstanding the audit-scare from a few years back, the room in which you bang on your computer is deductible as a home-office. But don't take our word for it - ask your tax preparer.
From our perspective, this is purely for the purposes of reducing our tax burden. We write off the costs mentioned and others, and then "lose" another few thousand dollars each year. Do we "intend" to make a profit? Absolutely! And that means our corporation can continue to lose money (and allow us to pay fewer taxes) indefinitely.
Here's to You, Incorporated!