Finance: How to reduce the tax you pay

By Jeremy Tauri

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March 31 marks the end of another tax year for many businesses across the country.

You may be paying too much in tax. Here are some of the most commonly missed tax deductions and tricks for business owners.

If you run an office from home, you can claim a portion of expenses such as rates, insurance, mortgage interest and electricity. Measure up the business versus private portion of these expenses and get that information to your accountant.

Go through your asset ledger and write off obsolete assets.

It's likely you'll get a deduction for them in the year they're written off. Check to ensure assets bought for less than $500 are expensed.

Paid expenses with cash? Make sure you keep the receipts to claim at the end of the year.

Smartphone apps exist and make this a much easier process.

Simply take a photo and keep a log of expenses paid in cash.

You'll be surprised how these can add up over a year.

If you carry stock, make sure the valuations are right for your business. Stock is pretty much treated as income at year-end.

For businesses who have a turnover of $1.3 million or less and your stock value is less than $10,000, you can use the 2012 year's stock figure. If the 2013 year's stock figure is less, you should use the 2013 stock figure.

Go through the list of people who owe you money and if there are people you're absolutely sure are not going to pay you, then the time to write them off is before March 31. Otherwise you'll pay tax on money you're not going to see.

Got employees? Holidays and bonuses taken and paid 63 days after March 31, 2013, are tax-deductible in the March 31, 2013, financial year. Keep a record of these payments.

If you have more than one company and one earns a profit and one earns a loss, it may be possible to offset the profit to the loss-making company. There are some criteria to this, so check with your accountant.

Even if these tips help minimise your tax payments by $1000 in one year, over 10 years that's $10,000 in your pocket.

- Hamilton News

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