We knew we felt something last June. It wasn’t an earthquake. It wasn’t the summer solstice. It wasn’t even that episode of “The Bachelorette” where Tanner dropped trou and showed Jillian his manties. No. It was the beginning of the end of the recession. At least, that’s one conclusion you might draw from a recently released report by Intuit, which says June 2009 was the month when small businesses started hiring again. Not a lot: the Intuit Small-Business Employment Index shows just a 0.8 percent uptick since June, which translates to just 150,000 new hires by the 30 million small businesses in the U.S. But still. One day we may look back at June 2009 and remember it as the month the economy started its comeback.
The question you’re asking yourself now is: What the heck are manties? (Rhymes with panties.) But there’s a better question you should be asking: Can I deduct that? In fact, according to bookkeeping-advice site Outright.com, this is the query most often posed by small-business owners at this time of year. What’s the answer? It depends, says accountant Mariette Knoblauch, who proceeds to illustrate with colorful examples, such as: exotic dancer Chesty Love, who deducted the cost of her 56FF implants after successfully arguing that her new bewbs were so “freakishly large” that no one would ever want them for reasons of personal appearance. (Except maybe Heidi Montag.)
What about tax breaks? Another good question. We wish we had a good answer. But, truth is, last year’s stimulus bill did not include a lot of tax help for most small businesses (those with few or no employees). But don’t stop reading yet. You may still be overlooking some valuable tax breaks for your business, like the home office deduction and the independent-contractor reimbursement, says U.S. News and World Report.
86ing your 401(k). Another popular topic at tax time is the 401(k) and how to handle it. Or squeeze it. A recent poll by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that many workers are digging into their retirement funds. Almost half of human resource professionals surveyed said more employees these days are asking for advances on their 401(k) savings. Seventy percent said the number of employees planning to cut their 401(k) contributions went up in the past year. Sixty-two percent said employees have suspended contributions altogether. Our retirement? We spent it awhile ago. On a Brazilian butt lift. (All the sitting around we do, we figure we can write it off.)