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Keep your receipts a credit card statement and bank statement is not enough to prove an IRS tax deduction. If you buy fuel at a gas station the IRS does not know if you purchase food, beer or fuel without the receipt. The fuel receipt will prove that you purchased fuel. Therefore your receipt is evidence of your purchase. The IRS requires the credit card statement or bank statement and the Keep all of your receipts.
Receipts fade over time make copies of your receipts. Many stores today give receipts that fade over time and once they fade they cannot be read. If you have a receipt that has faded you have lost your IRS evidence to prove your tax deduction. I strongly recommend that every few weeks you take the time to copy all of the receipts that could possible fade. Copy as many receipts as you can fit on a page and then staple the original receipts to the copy. Therefore if you original receipt fades the copy of the receipt qualifies as IRS evidence of your purchase. Make copies of your receipts.
Best Evidence for a tax deduction – The best evidence for any tax deduction is a copy of a canceled check with the bank statement and the receipt or a copy of the credit card statement and the receipt.
Do not pay for business expenses in cash – Try to pay all of your expenses with a credit card or check and get a receipt because this creates a paper trail to prove your tax deduction. If you have to pay in cash get a receipt and be aware that if you lose the receipt you lose your tax deduction.
File your tax return even if you do not have the money to pay the IRS tax – The IRS imposes a Failure to File penalty and a Failure to Pay penalty. Therefore everyone should file the tax return even if you do not have the money to pay the tax to avoid the Failure to file penalty which can increase your tax liability by up to 25% over time. Remember you can always set up a monthly payment play with the IRS to pay the tax. So file your tax return on time. Keep in mind that if you do not pay your tax on time you will incur interest charges and Failure to pay penalty charges.
Form 1099 for contract labor – The IRS requires that form 1099 be issued to any contract labor that is paid over $600. Therefore if you pay contractor over $600 you are required to issue a form 1099. I strongly recommend that you obtain a copy of the lumper’s driver’s license, copy of their social security card and a receipt from the lumper. Also pay contractor with a check not cash. If you do not get this information from the lumper your tax deduction for this expense will not be allowed by the IRS.
Expenses under $25 – The IRS does not require a receipt for expenses that are under $25, however you are required to keep a diary and list what was purchased, the price and the name of the store that you made the purchase. If you do not keep a diary then get the receipt.
Keep a Diary – Keeping a daily dairy is an excellent way to keep track of your expenses, locations of your overnight travel for your Per Diem and a summary of your business. Having a diary is a huge help for you to remember things during an IRS audit. You can also list purchases that are under $25 so you do not need a receipt. I strongly recommend that you maintain a daily diary for your business.
Truck Expenses – Almost anything that you purchase for your truck is a tax deduction this includes but is not limited to: TV, microwave, coffee maker, computer, printer, car vacuum, pillow, bed sheets, tools, cleaning materials, load chains, GPS unit, jumper cables, air cleaner, CB radio, heater, fan, etc. keep in mind that these expenses add up to a lot of money over the year but if you do not keep track of your expenses you lose them.
Consider hiring a bookkeeping service – Want to avoid all the hassles of keeping track of your business expenses and receipts, hire a bookkeeping service. You can find a bookkeeping service for under $100 per month and this service could save you thousands of dollars in taxes. Consider buying a Fujitsu Scansnap iX500 high speed scanner for about $400 to scan all your receipts into your computer and you can email the receipts to your bookkeeper. Even if you do not have a bookkeeper this scanner is an excellent way to keep track of your receipts and business documents.