10 Holiday Tax Write Offs for Small Businesses

The end of the year is a big time for small businesses. You’ll need to get your taxes in order and enjoy the holiday too. Here at 10 holiday tax write offs that can help you to do both at the same time.

Holiday Tax Write Offs for Small Businesses

Defer Some Income

Barbara Weltman, a seasoned tax and business attorney, underscores the timely strategy of deferring income for small businesses, especially in the face of anticipated lower tax rates. As new tax codes come into effect, taking this approach can yield substantial savings.

Weltman’s advice to bill for services in December but defer invoicing until the year’s end highlights a savvy move. By doing so, income can be shifted to the following year, potentially capitalizing on the forthcoming tax adjustments.

This tactic not only aligns with sound financial planning but also positions businesses to reap the benefits of a favorable tax landscape, providing an excellent example of strategic year-end thinking.

Deferring income can be a strategic move for small businesses, especially when expecting changes in tax rates. If your business has had a profitable year, consider delaying some of your December invoices to January.

This way, the income falls into the next tax year, which could be advantageous if you’re anticipating lower tax rates or expecting a lower income bracket next year.

Practical Tips:

  • Analyze your current year’s profits and next year’s projections to decide if deferring income makes sense for your business.
  • Consult with a tax professional to understand the implications of deferring income, particularly in relation to your business structure and tax situation.

Buy Next Year’s Office Supplies Now

Efficiency meets foresight in the recommendation to pre-purchase office supplies. By buying essentials such as toner and cleaning services ahead of time, businesses can expedite deductions while anticipating future needs.

This approach extends to considering the inclusion of prepayments for services not immediately utilized. By embracing this proactive stance, businesses can optimize deductions and proactively address anticipated expenses.

Thinking ahead in this manner showcases prudent financial management, enabling businesses to start the upcoming year with a streamlined approach and maximized fiscal benefits.

Purchasing office supplies for the next year in advance can lead to immediate tax deductions. It’s a proactive approach to managing expenses and can significantly lower your taxable income for the current year.

Practical Tips:

  • Make a list of office supplies and services you’ll need for the upcoming year. Consider bulk purchases to maximize savings.
  • Keep all receipts and records of these purchases to ensure they are properly accounted for in your tax filings.

holiday tax write offs small business

Look for This Year’s Bad Debts

Amid the hustle and bustle of year-end preparations, the spotlight on identifying bad debts offers a valuable opportunity to tidy up financial records. Barbara Weltman’s advice to scour accounts for lingering unpaid bills or outstanding loans underscores the importance of financial diligence.

Taking this step not only reflects a commitment to financial accuracy but also presents a tangible way to reduce tax liabilities. By recognizing and writing off bad debts, businesses can benefit from a more accurate financial representation while potentially reducing taxable income.

Embracing this practice aligns with comprehensive financial stewardship, ensuring that businesses conclude the year with clean books and a stronger financial foundation.

End-of-year is the perfect time to review your accounts receivable and identify any uncollectible debts. Writing off these bad debts can reduce your taxable income.

Practical Tips:

  • Go through your outstanding invoices and identify any that are unlikely to be paid.
  • Document your attempts to collect the debt as proof that it’s uncollectible.
  • Understand the IRS rules regarding bad debt to ensure your write-offs are compliant.

Set Up Employee Benefit Plans

In the spirit of giving, establishing employee benefit plans holds a two-fold advantage. Not only does it act as a thoughtful Christmas gesture, but it also presents a strategic year-end write-off. With the uncertainty surrounding healthcare legislation, this move safeguards employees’ well-being and aligns with responsible business management.

Amid evolving healthcare policies, securing an employee plan showcases a proactive approach that can bolster team morale and loyalty. This strategic action resonates with employees and solidifies the company’s commitment to their overall welfare, creating a positive impact on the organization’s bottom line.

Incorporating these benefits ensures that the holiday season extends beyond festivities, fostering a lasting sense of appreciation and motivation among your workforce.

Setting up or contributing to employee benefit plans can be a great way to reduce taxable income. These contributions are often tax-deductible and can include health insurance, retirement plans, and more.

Practical Tips:

  • Explore different types of benefit plans that would be valuable to your employees.
  • Consult with a benefits specialist to understand the tax implications and set up costs of these plans.

holiday tax write offs small business

Give A Holiday Gift To Your Business

The interplay between personal and business tax returns takes center stage in this strategy. Demonstrating a tangible financial stake in your business through investments becomes pivotal to maximizing pass-through tax advantages.

Barbara Weltman’s insight underscores the significance of this approach, emphasizing the need for owners to have sufficient financial ties to the business. This practice enhances the legitimacy of deductions while positioning the business for favorable tax treatment.

By allocating resources toward your business, you not only optimize tax savings but also cultivate a stronger financial footing, ensuring that your year-end planning extends to your business’s overall financial health.

Investing back into your business not only fosters growth but can also offer tax advantages. Consider making end-of-year purchases or investments that could benefit your business operations.

Practical Tips:

  • Plan for any large purchases or upgrades your business might need and make these investments before the year-end.
  • Keep detailed records of these investments for your tax filings.

Throw a Holiday Party

Kevin Miller, Chief Marketing Officer at the Neat Company, suggests getting into the Holiday Spirit with some partying, but cautions about keeping the records straight.

“To steer clear of an audit, the best practice for writing off holiday parties is to keep them separate: throwing a party for employees and their families is 100 percent deductible; inviting vendors and clients to your holiday party can be partially written-off, if all interactions remain business-related,” he says. “Keeping good records (guest list, invitations, party-related expenses) will be your best protection.”

Holiday parties for employees are generally fully deductible. However, documentation is key to ensure compliance and avoid tax issues.

Practical Tips:

  • Keep a detailed record of the expenses related to the holiday party.
  • Separate the costs of parties for employees from those involving clients or other non-employees, as the deductibility rules differ.

holiday tax write offs small business


Balancing holiday travel plans with potential tax deductions requires strategic foresight. Navigating the fine line between personal and business trips is crucial, and as Kevin Miller points out, visits focused on discussing business prospects for the upcoming year are eligible for write-offs.

This tactic underscores the significance of forward-looking travel arrangements, aligning personal time with valuable business interactions. Leveraging this strategy allows businesses to enjoy festive travel while capitalizing on the tax benefits of forward-thinking business planning.

By embracing this approach, small businesses can transform holiday journeys into dual-purpose ventures, blending personal rejuvenation with fruitful business engagements.

Mixing business with pleasure can be advantageous come tax time. If you’re traveling for business reasons during the holidays, certain expenses can be deductible.

Practical Tips:

  • Keep a clear itinerary that shows the business purpose of your trip.
  • Save all travel-related receipts and document how each expense relates to business activities.

Make A Charitable Donation, but The Right Kind!

Giving to those less fortunate is what the holidays are all about and it’s also a good business deduction. The general rule is charitable deductions go on personal and not business tax returns. Make sure you make the distinction between advertising and a charitable donation.

For example, buying an ad for your business in the program of the local high school holiday production may support the school but does not qualify.

Charitable contributions can be excellent tax write-offs. However, it’s crucial to distinguish between charitable donations and business expenses, like advertising.

Practical Tips:

  • Ensure your contributions qualify as charitable donations under IRS rules.
  • Keep records and receipts of all donations for your tax files.

Give Out Holiday Gifts To Employees and Clients

You can actually deduct $25 per person per gift every year.

“That applies even if the gift is worth less than $25 dollars,” Miller says. “Keep in mind the definition of holiday can vary, so it’s best to use this write off around the major ones.”

You can deduct a certain amount for gifts given to employees and clients. This small token can go a long way in building relationships and is also tax-deductible.

Practical Tips:

  • Stick to the IRS limit for gift deductions to ensure compliance.
  • Keep a record of all gifts given, including their cost and recipients.

holiday tax write offs small business

Stock The Office With Treats

Here’s a suggestion everyone will love. Making the office festive with a series of holiday treats will keep people motivated during the busy season. Just remember to keep those stocking stuffers reasonable. Too much of a good thing can bring red flags and an audit.

Providing small treats or decorations for the office can be a morale booster and a deductible expense. However, moderation is key to avoid IRS scrutiny.

Practical Tips:

  • Keep these expenses reasonable and within the norms of your industry.
  • Maintain detailed records of all such expenditures.

Maximizing Year-End Tax Savings for Small Businesses

The end of the year marks a crucial period for small businesses to balance tax preparations and holiday festivities. To make the most of this time, consider these ten-holiday tax write-offs that can help you simultaneously manage taxes and celebrate the season.

  • Defer Some Income: Capitalize on anticipated lower tax rates by delaying income recognition. If you render services in December, wait to invoice until January, potentially benefiting from reduced tax liability.
  • Prepurchase Office Supplies: Purchase office supplies such as toner and cleaning services in advance to deduct costs in the current year. This approach can help optimize your tax situation.
  • Identify Bad Debts: Review outstanding bills and unpaid debts from the year and consider writing them off as bad debts. This action can provide tax relief and streamline your financial records.
  • Establish Employee Benefit Plans: Setting up healthcare plans for employees serves as both a valuable incentive and a tax-saving strategy, particularly amid evolving healthcare policies.
  • Invest in Your Business: Demonstrating a personal financial stake in your business can enhance your eligibility for pass-through tax benefits. Consider increasing your investments in the company.
  • Host a Separated Holiday Party: Hosting holiday parties for employees and their families is fully deductible, while client-focused events offer partial deductions. Maintain meticulous records to avoid potential audits.
  • Deduct Business-Related Travel: Planning trips to meet clients and discuss upcoming business projects can result in deductible travel expenses. Ensure that the primary purpose of the travel is business-related.
  • Strategic Charitable Donations: While personal charitable deductions are common, consider business-related charitable contributions. Be aware of the distinction between advertising and genuine charitable support.
  • Holiday Gifting: Give holiday gifts to employees and clients, deducting up to $25 per person per gift annually. Adhere to this threshold, and choose the timing of your gifts wisely.
  • Office Stocking Stuffers: Enhance the office atmosphere with festive treats for your team. Be mindful of reasonable limits to avoid raising suspicion and potential audits.
Strategy Description
Defer Some Income Delay income recognition to benefit from anticipated lower tax rates. Wait to invoice services in December until January, potentially reducing tax liability.
Prepurchase Office Supplies Purchase office supplies like toner and cleaning services in advance for current-year deductions, optimizing your tax situation.
Identify Bad Debts Review outstanding bills and unpaid debts from the year, considering writing them off as bad debts for tax relief and streamlined records.
Establish Employee Benefit Plans Set up healthcare plans for employees, combining a valuable incentive with a tax-saving strategy, especially amid evolving healthcare policies.
Invest in Your Business Increase personal financial investment in your business to enhance eligibility for pass-through tax benefits, demonstrating a strong stake in the company’s success.
Host a Separated Holiday Party Deduct holiday party expenses by keeping employee-focused and client-focused events separate, maintaining clear records to avoid potential audits while enjoying festive celebrations.
Deduct Business-Related Travel Plan deductible travel to meet clients and discuss business projects, ensuring the primary purpose is business-related, capitalizing on tax benefits and future planning discussions.
Strategic Charitable Donations Consider business-related charitable contributions, discerning between advertising and genuine charitable support, aligning with responsible giving and optimal tax treatment.
Holiday Gifting Deduct up to $25 per person per gift annually for holiday gifts to employees and clients, adhering to the threshold and strategic timing to balance generosity with financial prudence.
Office Stocking Stuffers Elevate the office atmosphere with festive treats, keeping stocking stuffer expenses within reasonable limits to foster a positive ambiance while maintaining financial responsibility.

Navigating the intersection of year-end tax considerations and holiday celebrations can be rewarding for your small business. Utilize these strategies to optimize your financial situation while enjoying the festive season.


As the year draws to a close, small businesses find themselves at the intersection of tax preparations and festive celebrations.

This juncture presents a unique opportunity to balance fiscal responsibilities while embracing the holiday spirit. By incorporating these ten-holiday tax write-offs, businesses can achieve a harmonious blend of financial prudence and seasonal joy.

From deferring income to leverage impending tax changes to cleverly purchasing next year’s supplies in advance, these strategies offer a dual benefit of optimizing tax liabilities and preparing for the future.

Identifying bad debts, establishing employee benefit plans, and showcasing personal investments in the business all contribute to a strategic approach to tax management.

Hosting distinct holiday parties, deducting business-related travel, and navigating charitable donations with precision underline the importance of meticulous record-keeping. These practices help businesses not only save on taxes but also demonstrate a commitment to both employees and the community.

Incorporating these strategies into your year-end plans can lead to a fulfilling and fruitful season. As the holiday lights twinkle, small businesses have the opportunity to shine by strategically managing their taxes while fostering a joyful and engaging atmosphere for employees and clients alike.

With a thoughtful balance between financial considerations and celebratory spirit, small businesses can conclude the year on a high note, positioning themselves for a prosperous future.

Remember, consulting with a tax professional can provide tailored advice specific to your business needs and ensure compliance with all tax regulations.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Tax Write Offs For Small Businesses Around The Holidays” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source: Small Business Trends

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