Not only can we write off advertising and our vehicle in direct sales, there are a multitude of other items that can be written off. Of course, the rules vary by where you live and the local rules, so make sure you are checking the relevant websites or your tax accountant to find out what you can write off.
Supplies – Chances are you already know that you can write off any supplies you purchase for your business. This means catalogues, order forms and even product that you purchase for demonstration purposes. If you do end up selling the demo products though, you have to report this as revenue.
Meals – If you meet a potential recruit for coffee or a meal, you can write this off. Make sure you get a receipt and mark on it what the occasion was so you do not forget later. In Canada, you cannot write off 100% of this expense, but every little bit helps. If you are at a vendor event and purchase a meal, you may not be able to write this off, but again, it is best to ask. Typically you can only write off a meal if you are away from your home area for a certain amount of time.
Samples – If you have purchased samples that you give away to customers, these are a write off. These are items that you can typically only purchase through a supply order and that you cannot sell for cash. You may put them in customer bags, give them away as prizes at events, or hand them out at trade shows.
Home Expenses – This is a category that can be complicated and difficult to determine if it is a valid expense and write off. Typically, to get to write off a portion of your home, it has to be allocated specially to business use only. For many people, this can be difficult as they do not have a lot of room that is not already in use somehow. Your bills, such as your phone and Internet, are also tricky as you have to be able to prove what portion is used for your business. For instance, you would need to prove that you use your Internet 25% of the time for business. If you have a dedicated phone line, that is easy to prove, but it may be difficult to write off your regular home phone line.