You can’t avoid it. Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING has been in your local coffee shops, all over your grocer’s deli, in your candle warmers, all over your Facebook feed, and even in your makeup! Fall is in full swing and it is fabulously addicting. Taking a full dive into fall flavors can be just as expensive as the Holidays. What seems like a small $4.65 expense once a week can quickly add up to $18.60 by the end of the month! Lucky for individuals who incorporate fall flavors into their business or their charitable deeds, they can experience fall and deduct the expenses from their taxes when they file this upcoming winter. The Daily Deduction takes a look at specific situations where fall flavors are a bonus for your bottom line.
Will you and your class make wreaths, candy corn handprint turkeys, banners, treat holders or any other fall crafts? If you are a teacher and you pay out-of-pocket for the supplies used, you can turn the class art project into a tax deductible expense. Paper materials, art supplies, scissors, templates from art books that you purchased yourself, the candies that you use in your art project, and any other typical supplies that you would find in a classroom all qualify as expenses.
K-12 teachers that work 900 hours in a school year can deduct up to $250 of supplemental materials used in the classroom.
Direct Sales Consultants
Most direct sales companies encourage their consultants to build a team of sales representatives and spread the earning opportunities to others. Just like with any job, it’s best to screen potential recruits with an interview process to determine if the consultant and the company are a good fit. Whether you—the recruiting consultant—have the business-related conversation with your potential team member in your home, the recruit’s home, or over pumpkin spice lattes in the coffee shop, the beverage can be considered an unreimbursed business expense. If you travel to the recruit’s home or the coffee shop, the mileage is deductible as well.
Dark red, brown, orange, yellow, and purple colors make beautiful backdrops for family photos. As their debut in nature, you may find yourself driving to more of these as you take photos on location. Any miles you drive to take pictures of paying clients can be considered a business expense.
If you create fall wreaths, invest in hay bales, pay someone to rake up the fall leaves, or have any other fall props created for the purposes of a paid photo studio shoot, these expenses can be deducted as well.
Sponsor a Pie Eating Contest at Your Fall Festival
Is your community having a local fall festival? One way to combine fall flavors and allow your business to increase its visibility is to sponsor a pumpkin or apple pie eating contest at your local fall festival. The money you spend on materials to make pies or have them made for your event can be considered a business expense. Other business expenses for events like these include any signage or banners that you display, freebies or premiums that you give away for anyone that visits your booth, or any mileage that you drive to set up your booth. (Please note, your sponsored event does not have to specifically be a pie eating contest to qualify as a business expense.)
Real Estate Agents – Serving Pumpkin Cookies at Your Open House
As a token of gratitude for stopping by, many real estate agents like to offer refreshments when they host an open house. Serving pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin-flavored cookies to potential guests is an excellent way to incorporate fall flavors in with business. Expenses for such refreshments can be deducted as business expenses.
Donating Pumpkin Doughnuts to Charity
Even if you don’t own a business, you might be able to deduct fall flavors as well. If you purchase any food to donate to a qualifying local food bank—anything from turkeys, stuffing, cranberry sauce, fried onions, green beans, pumpkin pies, doughnuts, coffee, or trick-or-treat bags—you may be able to deduct these expenses from your 2014 tax return. If you make batches of cookies to give to visitors at a qualifying charity event, expenses paid for the materials may also be tax deductible.
Please note that most of the expenses discussed in this article can be categorized as either general marketing expenses or charitable donations. The amount or percentage of each expense that can be deducted is subject to certain restrictions and limitations. To get a more accurate illustration of which deductions apply directly to your small business, please consult your local tax advisor.