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J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2013: For Preparing Your 2012 Tax Return by J.K. Lasser Institute

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40.11 Deducting Expenses of Looking for a New Business

When you are planning to invest in a business, you may incur preliminary expenses for traveling to look at the property and for legal or accounting advice. Expenses incurred during a general search or preliminary investigation of a business are not deductible, including expenses related to the decision whether or not to enter a transaction. However, when you go beyond a general search and actually go into business, you may elect to deduct or amortize your start-up costs.

Deductible or amortizable start-up costs.

If you began your business in 2012, up to $5,000 of eligible start-up expenses is allowed. The limit is reduced by the amount of start-up costs exceeding $50,000. Start-up costs over the first-year deduction limit may be amortized over 15 years. An election to amortize is made by claiming the deduction on Form 4562, and it is then entered in Part V (“Other Expenses”) of Schedule C.

Eligible costs include investigating and setting up the business, such as expenses of surveying potential markets, products, labor supply, and transportation facilities; travel and other expenses incurred in lining up prospective distributors, suppliers, or customers; salaries or fees paid to consultants or attorneys, and fees for similar professional services. The business may be one you acquire from someone else or a new business you create.

Organizational costs for a partnership or corporation.

Costs incident to the creation of a partnership ...

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