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First Year Tax Deduction Strategies for Your Startup

First Year Tax Deduction Strategies for Your Startup


Over the last few years, the startup landscape has absolutely exploded. Some of the factors that have contributed to this explosion are decreasing technology costs, increased awareness about startups and access to more sources of capital. But even though there are more startups than ever before, successfully growing a startup into a meaningful company remains a significant challenge. For every success story shared in the media, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of untold stories about startups failing.

Although we could spend all day talking about why growing a startup is still very hard, we want to focus on a specific topic that all founders need to care about. That topic is expenses. Whether your startup is bootstrapped or you have some form of outside funding, keeping a close eye on expenses is a must for making it through the challenges you will inevitably encounter as you work to grow your startup.

There are plenty of stories of startups that had traction but were cut short due to running out of money. So if you want to have the best chance of success, you need to have the funds to stay around. In addition to knowing exactly what your startup is spending money on every month, you should be aware of your tax situation. Doing so will help you avoid getting caught off guard by an unexpected tax bill. This awareness will also give you the ability to make strategic decisions about the deductions your startup takes during its first year.

With that in mind, we want to highlight three deductions that can really help your startup during this time:


Depending on your specific startup, equipment may make up a significant percentage of your expenses. If that’s the case, you’ll want to take full advantage of the equipment deductions that are available. A great starting resource for knowing exactly what and how much you can deduct is our Section 179 guide.

2. Startup Costs

As a first-year startup, the IRS allows you to take a $5,000 deduction for startup costs. Examples of qualifying costs provided by the IRS include ads and salaries, as well as travel and other necessary costs for securing prospective distributors, suppliers, or customers. The one caveat to this deduction is your total startup costs must be $50,000 or less.


  1. Organizational Expenses

If you structure your startup as a partnership or corporation, you can deduct an additional $5,000 for organizational costs. Just keep in mind that the same rule of limiting your total startup costs to $50,000 or less applies to this deduction as well.

We hope the deductions we highlighted help your startup reduce its tax obligations at the end of its first year. And if you want more hands-on help with your taxes, you can easily contact Donohoo Accounting Services for a free consultation.

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