Starting and operating your own home based business is
the ultimate tax shelter.
Although this article has been written from a Canadian
income tax perspective, the principles should be
practical in other tax jurisdictions.
1. Non-Deductible Personal Living Expenses
All of us have expenses that we incur in everyday
Either you rent an apartment or house or you own your
residence. Utilities, insurance, rent, mortgage
interest, property taxes, and maintenance and repairs
are typical costs of operating your home.
Likely, you have a vehicle which also consumes large
amounts of cash.
Add to this, dining out, entertainment, gifts,
alcoholic beverages, office supplies, telephone and
many other expenditures, and you have a significant
In most cases, as an employee, retired person,
investor, student, or homemaker, few of these
expenses are tax-deductible to you.
This means that you must earn a considerable income,
pay your income taxes first, and then use what is
left to pay all your expenses.
Some employees may be able to write-off some of
their employment related expenses, if such are
required by their contract of employment. However,
even in this situation, the tax deductions are very
2. Your Own Home Based Business Means Tax Deductions
Now consider the situation where you decide to start
your own home based business.
Suddenly, many of your everyday expenses are now being
used for business purposes and are now tax-deductible.
If you use one quarter of your home exclusively for
business use, you will be able to deduct (or write-off)
one quarter of all related occupancy costs. These
expenses may include maintenance and repairs (that are
not capital in nature), rent, mortgage interest, house
or apartment insurance, power, heat, water, and
As well, your vehicle expenses used for business
purposes are another tax write-off. If you use your
car ninety percent for business purposes, you can
deduct ninety percent of your vehicle insurance, gas
and oil, maintenance and repairs, car washes, license
and registration, auto club, loan interest (within
certain limits), and other costs from your income.
You may also write-off one hundred percent of your
business related parking. Capital Cost Allownance
(C.C.A.) on your vehicle is also allowed for income tax
purposes; depreciation is the accounting term for this
The Canadian government also allows as a deduction,
fifty percent of your business related entertainment
Also tax-deductible are business related telephone
expenses, Internet access, office supplies, travel,
books, memberships, and a host of other expenditures.
3. Income Splitting with Your Home Based Business
If you have a high paying job, you will pay higher
taxes because the rates of tax increase as your income
With your own business, you can pay reasonable wages to
your spouse and children. In this way, you can legally
divert income taxed at your higher rate to your family
members that are in a lower tax bracket.
This tax saving technique is called income splitting.
It is another good reason why your own home based
business is the ultimate tax shelter.
4. Even a Part-Time Home Based Business Works
Even if you have a full-time job, running a part-time
business can be advantageous.
Of course, you must actually run a real, moneymaking
business. Any attempts to write unprofitable hobbies
off will ultimately fail with the taxation authorities.
If you earned eight thousand dollars during the year
from your part-time business and were able to deduct
eight thousand dollars in car expenses, home office
expenses, entertainment costs, office supplies, and
other business related expenditures, you would have a
net business income of nil. You would pay no tax on
this additional income.
Don`t miss this important point! Although these tax
deductions are actual, legitimate business expenses,
these are expenditures you would probably have made
anyway, whether you had a business or not.
Thus, by rearranging your affairs to start and operate
a home based business, you have been able to convert
non-deductible personal expenditures into legally
deductible business expenses. You have successfully
sheltered your income from tax and have split your
income with family members in lower tax brackets.
Yes, indeed, your home based business has become
your ultimate tax shelter.