Small business owners can save on taxes

If you own a small business, every dollar matters - especially when it comes to taxes. Whether your business is a partnership or corporation, Uncle Sam offers some sizeable deductions to lower your liability, allowing you to put those dollars toward capital and employees.

Easy-to-use tax preparation solutions have become an increasingly popular way for small business owners to navigate deductions and tax law changes. The programs ask simple questions about business income and expenses to help maximize your deductions. Solutions, such as the value leader TaxAct, allow you to use their online solutions for free and only require payment when you're ready to file.

TaxAct spokesperson Jessi Dolmage shares three ways to reduce your small business taxes.

Tip 1: Buy to save

Whenever buying new equipment, technology, software or even furniture for your business, save those receipts and keep detailed records that include purchase price and date placed into service. You should be able to substantiate any expenses you claim on your tax return.

The 2013 Section 179 deduction limit for new and used assets purchased is $500,000. However, your business must be profitable in order to receive this benefit in 2013. In 2014, the dollar limit drops to $25,000 unless Congress extends this tax break.

Bonus depreciation of 50 percent of the cost of new items expires at the end of 2013. Depreciation can be claimed whether or not your business is profitable.

Tip 2: Tis always the season for giving

Company donations of money, supplies and property are all deductible expenses. So are bonuses (and associated payroll taxes) awarded to your employees, partners and officers. If your business is an S Corporation, keep a close eye on officer compensation to ensure you meet IRS requirements and thus avoid penalties.

Give yourself the gift of education. Take a class or seminar or attend a convention that helps you maintain or improve skills required for your business.

Tip 3: Business is sometimes personal

If you use your home for your business, you may be able to deduct mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, repairs and depreciation.

Corporations and partnerships can also deduct actual expenses for non-personal uses of your personal vehicle, as well as reimbursements to employees for business use of their personal vehicles. Actual expenses may include costs for fuel, maintenance and parking fees. Your detailed mileage records should include date, total miles, tolls, parking and purpose of trip. You can also deduct vehicle depreciation and loan interest.

The bottom line

Small business owners have year-round opportunities to cut their taxes. Dolmage recommends doing a dry run of your taxes with an online or download solution like TaxAct before you actually file to identify potential savings. Answer simple questions about your expenses and revenues, and the program will do the rest so you can see how moving revenue and expenses forward or back may change your taxes.

To make tax time easier, TaxAct also offers a free mobile app for organizing your tax documents throughout the year. Take a picture of receipts, statements and tax forms with TaxAct DocVault, then save up to 3 GB of digital images on TaxAct's secure servers. At tax time, import images into TaxAct to save with your 1040, 1065, 1120 or 1120S tax return.

Get more business tax tips at www.irs.gov and learn more about TaxAct Small Business solutions and TaxAct DocVault at www.TaxAct.com.

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Upcoming Tax Dates

April 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during March, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

April 10 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of March.

April 14 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 16 days of March.

April 18 — Individuals
File a 2016 income tax return (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6 month extension of time to file the return, file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. For more information, see Form 4868. Then, file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ by October 16.

April 18 — Corporations
File a 2016 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120) and pay any tax due. Details

April 18 — Individuals
If you are not paying your 2017 income tax through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax during the year that way), pay the first installment of your 2017 estimated tax. Use Form 1040ES.

April 18 — Household Employers
f you paid cash wages of $1,800 or more in 2016 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H Details

April 18 — Corporations
Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2017 Details

April 18 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

April 18 — Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

April 18 — Household employers
If you paid cash wages of $1,900 or more in 2016 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H (Form 1040). If you are required to file a federal income tax return (Form 1040), file Schedule H (Form 1040) with the return and report any household employment taxes. Report any federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on Schedule H (Form 1040) if you paid total cash wages of $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter of 2015 or 2016 to household employees. Also, report any income tax you withheld for your household employees.

April 27 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 16 days of March.

April 29 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of April.

View More Tax Dates