How to Get Organized for Small Business Saturday

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If your small business hasn’t quite figured out how to get organized during the regular shopping season, what’s to become of you on Small Business Saturday? Last year, over 100 million people patronized their local businesses and shopped small on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and even bigger numbers are expected this year.

When everyone is beginning to emerge from their tryptophan and Black Friday-induced food/shopping comas, will your small business be ready?

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Business Tax Write Offs James Bond Would Gamble On

   

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According to TripAdvisor.com, Monte Carlo, the Mediterranean town in Monaco that borders both France and Italy, is the most popular travel destination in the entire world.  But Monte Carlo isn’t just for the uber-wealthy and James Bond. It’s also a top choice of middle class Americans, families and – you guessed it – business travelers. While everyone else vacationing in Monte Carlo may be throwing caution to the wind at the blackjack table, the smart small business owner will be keeping track of her business tax write offs everywhere from Larvotto Beach to Casino Square.

Monte Carlo was the first place James Bond uttered those now infamous introductory words. Y’know, last name, first name, last name. It’s also a fantastic place to put your Shoeboxed app to work, and cash in on some luxuriously legal business tax write offs. One of the most expensive parts of a Monte Carlo vacation – besides the airfare that is – is the hotel room. Unlike meals and entertainment, staying in a hotel while on a legitimate business trip is a full-blown business expense (aka 100% deductible). Now, the average price of a Monte Carlo hotel room is upwards of $400 USD, so the government’s not going to expect or require you to seek out the Motel 6 Monte Carlo. In terms of business tax write offs, the hotel room is a great place to splurge. Try the Hotel de Paris, the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, or the Fairmont Monte Carlo. And don’t forget to scan or snap your receipts for things like printing in the hotel’s computer center, tipping the bell hop, or adding WiFi service to your room.

If you’re attending a conference at the Conference Centre Monte Carlo, your transportation to and from the conference site is 100% deductible as a business tax write off.  Scan your receipt from the driver and keep track of the mileage. After the conference, you may want to enjoy dinner with colleagues at Adagio or Lo Sfizio. Snap the receipt with your smartphone using the Shoeboxed app, and take some mental notes about who was there and what you discussed. You can organize entertainment expenses in your Shoeboxed account, but labeling a business tax write off as “dinner with associates” is not enough. Get specific about what kind of business actually went down at dinner, and any meetings or plans that were made for the future.

Where does any 007 worth his weight go after dinner in Monte Carlo? To the casino, of course! And good news – even if you’re just a casual gambler, you can deduct any losses incurred at the craps table! That’s right. The IRS allows gambling losses to be deducted, as long as losses don’t exceed your gambling winnings. In order to count gambling losses as a business tax write off, you have to get receipts for absolutely everything you spend at the table or slot machine. So have your smartphone out, tip your dealer handsomely, and get a receipt for every hand. And don’t forget – you also have to claim your winnings!

How to Organize your Business Tax Write Offs While Traveling

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When you’re traveling for work, you’ve already got a lot on your mind and your plate. In addition to getting to the airport (which is a total pain in like, every city, right? Why is that?), you have to pray your boss or assistant booked you in business class, sigh exasperatedly when you find out they haven’t, attempt to get some work done (yeah, right) on the plane, juggle shuttles and/or rental cars, check in to your hotel…all that madness, and you haven’t even begun the conference/meeting/event that’s brought you to wherever you’re traveling! How’s a savvy business traveler supposed to keep track of all the juicy business tax write offs you know you’re missing out on?

Luckily, it’s become increasingly easy to keep track of business tax write offs while you’re on the go. Gone are the days of missing out on valuable returns simply because you don’t have time to track and organize everything while you’re traveling. You also don’t have to lag behind your travel companions and business associates by staying back in the hotel room, shuffling receipts around and tracking expenses on an Excel spreadsheet. With Shoeboxed.com’s smartphone app, one click automatically captures, saves, and organizes all of your business tax write offs in your Shoeboxed account. Not only will you save time while traveling, you’ll be free of the anxiety of coming home with a briefcase-full of receipts to deal with.

Any business trip is chock full of legitimate business tax write offs, many of which are constantly overlooked for small business owners. First of all, make sure you’re not already being reimbursed by your company for things like airfare and your hotel room – the IRS doesn’t like double dipping! If, as the owner of your own company, things like plane tickets and hotel stays are coming out of your own pocket, they are deductible. If you have several employees or other business associates traveling with you, their expenses count as business tax write offs as well, as long as they’re not friends or family (If you do have a family member that’s also an employee, that’s fine).

Use the Shoeboxed app to scan receipts for the small expenses you incur while traveling, too. Things like dry cleaning, entertainment, meals, snacks, using the hotel’s business center, and the cost of staying over an extra night in order to get a better deal on airfare are all deductible. Phone calls made to clients or potential clients are deductible too, and are easily recordable by scanning your hotel bill into your Shoeboxed account. Don’t forget to snap a picture of your receipts from tolls, gas stations, taxi cabs, and keep track of your mileage once you’ve arrived at your destination.

Business tax write offs are no longer time consuming, impossible to track, or a huge headache waiting for you when you get home from traveling. With Shoeboxed.com, every deductible penny spent while traveling for business is automatically organized in your Shoeboxed account, which is accessible from anywhere you are. So go ahead – take that business trip, and concentrate on what’s really important: the hotel’s post-conference Happy Hour. Wait…I mean the conference itself. Really.

What’s your absolute favorite business tax write off?

What business tax write off surprised you most to learn about?