Direct sales is a great career opportunity that offers high income potential and flexibility. There is a quote floating around that says over 82% of women who make over $100,000 a year do so through direct sales jobs. I have not been able to find the source of that data to verify the claim (it sounds a little high), but direct sales is a great opportunity to be your own boss and build a business around your schedule. It has been especially great for women looking to work from home. So, while you are out there working your business, don’t forget these deductions for tax time. If you have not filed yet, you still have time to claim them for 2014. If you have already filed your 2014 taxes, make sure you start keeping records to claim them next year.
When you start your direct sales business there is generally some type of kit that you purchase from the company. They provide you with some supplies or product to get started selling. You may also have expenses associated with setting up a web site or obtaining insurance. Up to $5000 of these business expenses can be deducted in your first year of business.
Home Office Expenses
You need a place to work, and your home office is another business expense that you can claim on your taxes. Any furniture, computer equipment, or office supplies (paper, pens, stapler, folders, etc.) that you buy for your business is a tax deduction. Under certain circumstances, you can also deduct part of your mortgage or rent payment and utilities as part of the home office deduction.
If you are going to have a successful direct sales business, you have to do some marketing. Marketing expenses can include that sticker you put on your car, registration fees for festivals where you have a table, and ads you place in local magazines or newspapers. In addition, any supplies that you purchase to help market yourself and your product can be deducted as a marketing expense. This includes things like pens, nail files, and other promotional material with your business name. You can also deduct the cost of purchasing and mailing catalogs to customers.
Many direct sales companies use the “home party” model for product marketing. Any driving that you do to a party location is a tax deductible expense. Mileage you drive to make customer deliveries is another tax deductible travel expense. So, be sure to record the dates and miles you drive for your business. Plus, if you need another reason to attend your company’s annual conference, remember that all of your conference expenses are a business travel deduction.
I saved the best for last. One of the perks of being a direct sales consultant is being able to try all of the great products. The easiest way to sell is to be a walking billboard or showcase for your product. The products that you have on hand to show as samples are your business supplies. Those business supplies are a tax deductible business expense. When you share that with your friends, they will all want to join your team!