The way your write-offs are recorded on your tax return varies depending on whether you are filing a personal or business return. For personal filings, deducting write-offs from your taxable income means that you must itemize all your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction for which you are eligible. The effect of your business write-offs on your taxable income is dictated by the total gain or loss generated by business operations.
What Is a Write-Off?
A tax write-off is another term for an expense that is deductible from your taxable income. Depending on the type and value of your write-offs, itemizing these deductions may put you in a lower tax bracket than you would normally qualify for based on income alone.
Common examples of write-offs for individuals include the interest paid on student loans, charitable donations, certain medical expenses and moving expenses incurred when you have to relocate for your job. For businesses, interest paid on long-term debts. business use of vehicles and the cost of goods sold
are all examples of expenses that can be written off.
Document personal write-offs using Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Because inclusion of Schedule A means forfeiting your standard deduction, make sure that the total amount of your write-offs meets or exceeds this figure.
If you operate a business as a sole proprietor, you can document your business write-offs on Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business, which you attach to your Form 1040 and include in your personal return. The resulting figure incorporates all the income, expenses, deductions and credits allowed for your business operations. Add this figure to your personal income (or subtract if the result is negative) on Form 1040 before taking any personal deductions.
Your taxes become more complex as the ownership structure of your business grows more complicated. For partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies, there may be separate forms that must be submitted for each type of deductible expense, such as employee benefit payments or the depreciation and amortization of assets .