11 Tax Deductions for a Handmade Business That Are Easy to Miss

Owning a small sewing or crafting business comes with its unique blend of challenges and rewards, with taxes being a significant aspect you need to manage. Numerous tax deductions are available that can help reduce your taxable income and ensure the financial health of your small business. By judiciously tracking and claiming these deductions, you can lower your tax bill and reinvest the savings into your business.

Basics of Tax Deductions for Small Businesses

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When running a small business, understanding which expenses you can claim as tax deductions is crucial for reducing your taxable income. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you recognize eligible tax deductions.

Qualifying Expenses

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When managing your business, it’s crucial to identify which expenses are tax-deductible. This ensures maximum savings during tax time. The following categories cover common deductions that can reduce your taxable income.

1. Materials and Supplies

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For your handmade business, all of the supplies you must purchase to make products and provide services fall under deductible materials and supplies. Keep receipts as they directly relate to your business output.

These items directly correlate with the goods you sell and can be deducted as cost of goods sold.

2. Equipment Depreciation

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The equipment you’ve acquired, such as power tools, laser printers, sewing machines, sergers, or kilns, can be subject to equipment depreciation. Initially, you may opt for bonus depreciation to deduct a higher amount for the first year or spread the cost over the equipment’s useful life.

Don’t forget that any computers, printers, and expensive cutting tools that you have purchased qualify as business equipment, too.

3. Home Office Deduction

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If you use a space in your home solely for your business, you’re entitled to a home office deduction. Calculate this by measuring the exclusive business use area (including dedicated storage space) and applying the percentage to your home expenses. This deduction includes a segment of your mortgage interest or rent, property taxes, and homeowners insurance.

4. Utility Costs

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Additionally, utility costs associated with running your craft business, including electricity and internet used in your work area, are deductible. Just like the home office deduction, calculate the portion of these services that directly supports your business operations.

Record-Keeping and Documentation

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Organize your receipts meticulously to track expenses such as sewing or crafting supplies, small tools, and equipment. Keep a physical or digital folder labeled by categories like materials, utilities, or maintenance, and date them to avoid future confusion. Proper receipt organization streamlines the process of identifying tax deductions.

Each category should be kept distinctly in your records, noting why the expense is relevant to your business activities. This level of detail supports your claims in case of an audit and assists in preparing accurate tax returns.

Indirect Deductions

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When managing a small business, certain expenses indirectly related to your day-to-day operations can be deductible. Identifying and claiming these can significantly reduce your taxable income.

5. Travel Expenses

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You can deduct expenses like airfare, mileage, and lodging if travel is necessary for sourcing supplies, client meetings, or industry conferences. Keep meticulous records of your travel as evidence for these deductions.

6. Education and Training

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Enriching your expertise in professional skills or business management qualifies for deductions, too. The costs of classes, workshops, and books that enhance your skills are tax-deductible.

7. Marketing and Advertising

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Investing in the promotion of your business is not only essential for growth but also offers tax benefits. The costs associated with website maintenance, online advertising, and guild memberships can be deducted.

8. Energy Efficiency Credits


If you’ve installed energy-efficient equipment in your workspace, you may be eligible for energy efficiency tax credits. These credits can directly reduce your tax liability and also result in long-term utility savings. Check for updated credits each tax year to ensure you’re not missing out.

9. Charitable Contributions

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Donating unsold inventory or excess supplies to nonprofit organizations supports good causes and provides you with a tax deduction. Ensure you keep detailed records of the fair market value of the items you donate to substantiate your charitable contributions when filing your taxes.

10. Transportation Costs

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Similarly, transportation costs to purchase materials or deliver finished goods to your customers are also deductible. To claim transportation miles on your tax return, you must have a log of all the business-related trips you took. Mileage deductions are generous and can add up to a large sum, so keeping a travel log is worth doing. There are smartphone apps to help log travel miles, too.

11. Postage Expenses

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Whether you’re mailing invoices, shipping products to customers, or sending marketing materials, postage costs are tax deductible for your business. As with everything else, you should have receipts documenting these expenses. Taking the time now to track and save postage receipts properly can save you money down the road.

Tips: Filing and Claims

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When running your business, staying on top of tax filings and understanding how to manage claims effectively is crucial.

The best way to avoid penalties is to be aware of the filing deadlines for your business taxes. Filing deadlines can be found at irs.gov. Be sure to provide the necessary information to your accountant or begin to prepare your return well in advance.

Strategic Purchasing

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Plan your purchases to coincide with sales or tax-free periods, which can result in significant savings. At the end of the year, you might consider any purchases you have been putting off. Business purchases made before January 1 will offset income and reduce your tax bill for the current year.

Ineligible Expense Mistakes

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Claiming personal expenses as business deductions is a common error. Ensure that every deduction you claim is strictly for business use. The IRS does not allow personal clothing, hobby-related purchases, or any expense not directly tied to your small business operations to be deducted.

Improperly Mixing Personal and Business Finances

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Keeping your personal and business finances distinct is imperative. Start by maintaining separate bank accounts and credit cards. A clear separation will not only prevent confusion during tax season but also uphold the integrity of your claimed deductions. It helps demonstrate your business’s professional nature to the IRS, reducing the risk of audits or disallowed deductions.


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SewCanShe is not a tax advisor, and the information provided should not be considered tax or financial advice. Tax laws are complex and change frequently. For tax preparation assistance or advice, please consult a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in your state. A CPA can review your specific tax situation, help ensure you are claiming all applicable deductions and credits, and advise you on the best strategies for tax planning and compliance. While I aim to provide helpful information to readers, the ultimate responsibility for understanding and complying with tax regulations lies with the individual taxpayer. Please seek the guidance of a professional for any tax-related questions or concerns.

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