One of the big advantages to operating a home staging business is that you get to write off many of your expenses against your income. There are tax advantages to this and now that we’re approaching the end of 2010 it’s a good time to start getting organized for the next tax season.
If you haven’t yet started your home staging business, but you’re planning to do so and you’re in the process of doing your research and taking courses, Staging Diva, Debra Gould recommends that you start keeping all of those receipts because when you prepare your taxes, you’ll be glad you had.
If you don’t have a financial background or experience in bookkeeping, it’s a good idea to start building a relationship with a good accountant when you start your business.
Gould, author of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, says, “Whether you started your business last year, last month, or today it’s not too late to start thinking ahead about your next tax return. For that matter, even if you’ve been in business for years it’s never too late to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and focus on doing something better for the next year!” Gould adds, “The most important financial advice I can give you is to hang on to every single receipt you get your hands on that could possibly be a business expense. This will allow you to lower your reported income at the end of the year, and therefore lower the taxes you owe.”
You have to know which expenses are legitimate business expenses for tax laws in your area, which is why it’s important to find an accountant as soon as possible, but the following are possible business expenses for you as a home stager:
- Home staging courses and resources you purchase from the Staging Diva Store
- Subscriptions to magazines and newspapers
- Office supplies
- Postage and courier bills
- Travel expenses
- Staging props like vases, decorative soaps, plates and glassware
- Restaurant bills
- Business gifts or gift certificates
- Fresh flowers (needed for staging or portfolio photography)
- Computer equipment and software
- Cleaning bills
- A portion of your mortgage (if you have a home office)
- A percentage of your utilities like heating and electricity
- A percentage of your cable bill (HGTV is a must-have!)
- Décor, business or any other type of reference books
- Cell phone and Internet bills
- Vehicle expenses (Keep a notepad in your car to track mileage for staging projects.)
- Business coaching
“When in doubt about whether or not something is a legitimate expense,” advises Gould, “err on the side of caution and hang on to the receipt. Let your accountant determine if it can be used or not.”
About Staging Diva
The creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, Debra Gould has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate, including seven of her own homes. She is the president of home staging firm SixElements.com and has trained over 4000 home stagers to start and grow their own businesses.
Debra has gained international recognition through features in major media in the US and Canada including: This Old House, HGTV, CNN Money, CBC National News, CBS Radio, Global TV, City TV, The Wall Street Journal, Women’s Day, Reader’s Digest and more.