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A basic guide to business expenses, write-offs and deductions in 2023

By Alaina Uhlenhoff

There is no shortage of internet content encouraging taxpayers to take
advantage of tax deductions for business expenses, but what are the rules and
differences surrounding business expenses, write-offs, and deductible expenses?

Business Expenses and Taxes

First, it is important to understand that write-offs are a specific kind of
business expense.

Business expenses are the costs incurred by a company or individual in the
normal course of business operations. These expenses are necessary for the
day-to-day functioning of the business and are generally deductible from the
business’s income for tax purposes. Deductible expenses reduce the taxable
income of a business, which in turn can lower the amount of taxes a business
has to pay.

Some examples of this are office rent and supplies, employee salaries,
advertising, etc.

Write-offs are a specific type of business expense, recognized as losses.
Write-offs occur when an asset or expenditure no longer holds value or cannot
be recovered. These losses are reflected in the financial statements and can
have tax implications.

Examples of write-offs include asset write-offs, when a company owns a piece
of machinery or equipment that is damaged beyond repair it may be written off
as a loss. Or obsolete inventory write-offs, when inventory becomes outdated or
unsellable, it is written off as a loss.

Essentially, business expenses are the costs of day-to-day business
operations and are deductible from the business’s income for tax purposes.
Write-offs are specific losses that are permanently deducted from the company’s
balance sheet due to assets or expenses that have become worthless or cannot be

Both are crucial elements in a company’s financial management and tax
planning. It is important for businesses to carefully track and document these
expenses and losses for accurate accounting and tax reporting. Always consult a
qualified tax professional for specific advice related to your business’s
financial matters.

Deduction Breakdown

Not all business expenses are deductible, and how much they are deductible
varies. Deductible expenses must be “ordinary and necessary” in your business’s
industry, according to the IRS.

Fully Deductible

Advertising and marketing expenses.

Education and training expenses for employees, and employee benefits

Most fees, including credit card processing fees, some legal fees, and
license and regulatory fees.

Office-related costs such as expenses and supplies, maintenance and repair
costs, office lease costs, utility expenses, and insurance costs.


Under the current rules, office meals and snacks are 50% deductible.

Meals with clients to discuss business, with a copy of the receipt and
record of the business meeting, are 50% deductible. However, in 2021 and 2022
meals with clients at restaurants are 100% deductible.

Food for company parties such as holiday parties is generally 100% deductible.


Club memberships are non-deductible expenses and should be treated as

Client entertainment such as golf games or concert tickets are not deductible.

It is important to note that when meals and entertainment are included in
the compensation, they are 100% deductible.

The IRS has a comprehensive guide for business deductions, you can find that
here. To learn more about Online Accounting visit our site.