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Sweeping Up Tax Savings: Tax Deductions for Self-Employed Housekeepers


There may be nothing more rewarding than laboring all day to clean up a messy house and then seeing how sparkling and new it looks after this hard work. While housekeepers may get this nice dose of satisfaction, they are still like all self-employed professionals who get hit with countless taxes and IRS regulations.

So, to ease the tax burden a bit, here are some key expenses you may be eligible to write off on your IRS income tax return if you’re a housekeeper working for yourself.

Housekeeping supplies

The expenses you incur to purchase or replace cleaning supplies you need to conduct your housekeeping trade are tax deductible. Examples may include:

  • Vacuums, dust busters, etc.
  • Solvents
  • Soap
  • Towels or rags
  • Gloves
  • Windex and other cleaners
  • Mops
  • Brooms
  • Sponges
  • Buckets or containers
  • Trash bags
  • Bags to carry your cleaning supplies

Vehicle and travel expenses

If you drive a personal vehicle from one worksite to another, you can claim a portion of your vehicle expenses as a business tax deduction for your housekeeping work. There are two ways you can take advantage of this write-off – either claiming mileage you drive or claiming actual vehicle expenses.

The standard mileage rate for tax year 2016 is 54 cents per mile, so you can deduct this amount for any business-related trips you’ve made – but only when going from one location where you are cleaning to another. You cannot deduct your trip from home to a worksite or vice versa.

The other option is to write off actual expenses you incur on your vehicle. In other words, you can claim a percentage of all vehicle expenses you incur and deduct this portion you pay for your housekeeping labor. These may include:

  • Gas
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Lease payments
  • Depreciation

Any tolls or parking fees you may incur in some commercial or residential areas can be written off on your IRS return as well.

Of course, if you travel to different job sites in a day via public transit or Uber, these costs can also be deducted as business-related travel expenses. Just remember that you can’t include your commutes in this deduction.

Phone expenses

If you use your personal cell phone or a landline in your home to make housekeeping arrangements with your clients, you can write off a portion of your phone bill as business expenditure. Just be sure to accurately estimate what percentage of time you spend on the phone is for your cleaning work and what percentage is for personal use.

Marketing costs

Any marketing-related expenses you incur to help promote your housekeeping services are tax deductible in the eyes of the IRS. Such expenses may include brochures, flyers, a website, social media marketing, or even a mobile app for your clients to schedule their cleaning appointments with you.

If you hire a contractor to provide marketing materials for you, this cost is certainly deductible as well.

Insurance for your housekeeping business

Being a business owner can be risky from a liability standpoint, so be sure you are properly insured. The good news is that your business insurance premiums can be claimed as a write-off. You may choose to invest in liability insurance, property insurance, and other policies based on your specific situation.

Published: September 22, 2016

Source: 1800 Accountant

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