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Instructions for Schedule C (Form 1040)

Part II. Expenses(p5)

Capitalizing costs of property.(p5)
If you produced real or tangible personal property or acquired property for resale, certain expenses attributable to the property generally must be included in inventory costs or capitalized. In addition to direct costs, producers of inventory property generally must also include part of certain indirect costs in their inventory. Purchasers of personal property acquired for resale must include part of certain indirect costs in inventory only if the average annual gross receipts for the 3 prior tax years exceed $10 million. Also, you must capitalize part of the indirect costs that benefit real or tangible personal property constructed for use in a trade or business, or noninventory property produced for sale to customers. Reduce the amounts on lines 8 through 26 and Part V by amounts capitalized. See Pub. 538 for a discussion of uniform capitalization rules.
Exception for certain producers.(p5)
Producers who account for inventoriable items in the same manner as materials and supplies that are not incidental can currently deduct expenditures for direct labor and all indirect costs that would otherwise be included in inventory costs. See Part III. Cost of Goods Sold for more details.
Exception for creative property.(p6)
If you are a freelance artist, author, or photographer, you may be exempt from the capitalization rules. However, your personal efforts must have created (or reasonably be expected to create) the property. This exception does not apply to any expense related to printing, photographic plates, motion picture films, video tapes, or similar items. These expenses are subject to the capitalization rules. For details, see Uniform Capitalization Rules in Pub. 538.

Line 9(p6)

You can deduct the actual expenses of operating your car or truck or take the standard mileage rate. This is true even if you used your vehicle for hire (such as a taxicab). You must use actual expenses if you used five or more vehicles simultaneously in your business (such as in fleet operations). You cannot use actual expenses for a leased vehicle if you previously used the standard mileage rate for that vehicle.
You can take the standard mileage rate for 2012 only if you:
If you take the standard mileage rate:
Do not deduct depreciation, rent or lease payments, or your actual operating expenses.
If you deduct actual expenses:
For details, see chapter 4 of Pub. 463.
Information on your vehicle.(p6)
If you claim any car and truck expenses, you must provide certain information on the use of your vehicle by completing one of the following.

Line 11(p6)

Enter the total cost of contract labor for the tax year. Contract labor includes payments to persons you do not treat as employees (for example, independent contractors) for services performed for your trade or business. Do not include contract labor deducted elsewhere on your return, such as contract labor includible on line 17, 21, 26, or 37. Also, do not include salaries and wages paid to your employees; instead, see Line 26, later.
You must file Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, to report contract labor payments of $600 or more during the year. See the Instructions for Form 1099-MISC for details.

Line 12(p6)

Enter your deduction for depletion on this line. If you have timber depletion, attach Form T. See chapter 9 of Pub. 535 for details.

Line 13(p6)

Depreciation and section 179 expense deduction.(p6)
Depreciation is the annual deduction allowed to recover the cost or other basis of business or investment property having a useful life substantially beyond the tax year. You can also depreciate improvements made to leased business property. However, stock in trade, inventories, and land are not depreciable. Depreciation starts when you first use the property in your business or for the production of income. It ends when you take the property out of service, deduct all your depreciable cost or other basis, or no longer use the property in your business or for the production of income. You can also elect under section 179 to expense part or all of the cost of certain property you bought in 2012 for use in your business. See the Instructions for Form 4562 and Pub. 946 to figure the amount to enter on line 13.
When to attach Form 4562.(p6)
You must complete and attach Form 4562 only if you are claiming:
If you acquired depreciable property for the first time in 2012, see Pub. 946.
Listed property generally includes but is not limited to:
Listed property does not include photographic, phonographic, communication, or video equipment used exclusively in your trade or business or at your regular business establishment. It also does not include any computer or peripheral equipment used exclusively at a regular business establishment and owned or leased by the person operating the establishment. For purposes of these exceptions, a portion of your home is treated as a regular business establishment only if that portion meets the requirements under section 280A(c)(1) for deducting expenses for the business use of your home.
See Line 6, earlier, if the business use percentage of any listed property dropped to 50% or less in 2012.

Line 14(p7)

Deduct contributions to employee benefit programs that are not an incidental part of a pension or profit-sharing plan included on line 19. Examples are accident and health plans, group-term life insurance, and dependent care assistance programs. If you made contributions on your behalf as a self-employed person to a dependent care assistance program, complete Form 2441, Parts I and III, to figure your deductible contributions to that program.
You cannot deduct contributions you made on your behalf as a self-employed person for group-term life insurance.
Do not include on line 14 any contributions you made on your behalf as a self-employed person to an accident and health plan. However, you may be able to deduct on Form 1040, line 29, or Form 1040NR, line 29, the amount you paid for health insurance on behalf of yourself, your spouse, and dependents, even if you do not itemize your deductions. See the instructions for Form 1040, line 29, or Form 1040NR, line 29, for details.
You must reduce your line 14 deduction by the amount of any credit for small employer health insurance premiums determined on Form 8941. See Form 8941 and its instructions to determine which expenses are eligible for the credit.

Line 15(p7)

Deduct premiums paid for business insurance on line 15. Deduct on line 14 amounts paid for employee accident and health insurance. Do not deduct amounts credited to a reserve for self-insurance or premiums paid for a policy that pays for your lost earnings due to sickness or disability. For details, see chapter 6 of Pub. 535.

Lines 16a and 16b(p7)

Interest allocation rules.(p7)
The tax treatment of interest expense differs depending on its type. For example, home mortgage interest and investment interest are treated differently. Interest allocation rules require you to allocate (classify) your interest expense so it is deducted (or capitalized) on the correct line of your return and receives the right tax treatment. These rules could affect how much interest you are allowed to deduct on Schedule C or C-EZ.
Generally, you allocate interest expense by tracing how the proceeds of the loan were used. See chapter 4 of Pub. 535 for details.
If you paid interest on a debt secured by your main home and any of the proceeds from that debt were used in connection with your trade or business, see chapter 4 of Pub. 535 to figure the amount that is deductible on Schedule C or C-EZ.
How to report.(p7)
If you have a mortgage on real property used in your business (other than your main home), enter on line 16a the interest you paid for 2012 to banks or other financial institutions for which you received a Form 1098 (or similar statement). If you did not receive a Form 1098, enter the interest on line 16b.
If you paid more mortgage interest than is shown on Form 1098, see chapter 4 of Pub. 535 to find out if you can deduct the additional interest. If you can, include the amount on line 16a. Attach a statement to your return explaining the difference and enter See attached in the margin next to line 16a.
If you and at least one other person (other than your spouse if you file a joint return) were liable for and paid interest on the mortgage and the other person received the Form 1098, include your share of the interest on line 16b. Attach a statement to your return showing the name and address of the person who received the Form 1098. In the margin next to line 16b, enter See attached.
If you paid interest in 2012 that also applies to future years, deduct only the part that applies to 2012.

Line 17(p7)

Include on this line fees charged by accountants and attorneys that are ordinary and necessary expenses directly related to operating your business.
Include fees for tax advice related to your business and for preparation of the tax forms related to your business. Also include expenses incurred in resolving asserted tax deficiencies relating to your business.
For more information, see Pub. 334 or 535.

Line 18(p7)

Include on this line your expenses for
office supplies and postage.

Line 19(p7)

Enter your deduction for contributions to a pension, profit-sharing, or annuity plan, or plan for the benefit of your employees. If the plan included you as a self-employed person, enter contributions made as an employer on your behalf on Form 1040, line 28, or Form 1040NR, line 28, not on Schedule C.
In most cases, you must file the applicable form listed below if you maintain a pension, profit-sharing, or other funded-deferred compensation plan. The filing requirement is not affected by whether or not the plan qualified under the Internal Revenue Code, or whether or not you claim a deduction for the current tax year. There is a penalty for failure to timely file these forms.
Form 5500-EZ.(p7)
File this form if you have a one-participant retirement plan that meets certain requirements. A one-participant plan is a plan that covers only you (or you and your spouse).
Form 5500-SF.(p7)
File this form if you have a small plan (fewer than 100 participants in most cases) that meets certain requirements.
Form 5500.(p7)
File this form for a plan that does not meet the requirements for filing Form 5500-EZ or Form 5500-SF.
For details, see Pub. 560.

Lines 20a and 20b(p7)

If you rented or leased vehicles, machinery, or equipment, enter on line 20a the business portion of your rental cost. But if you leased a vehicle for a term of 30 days or more, you may have to reduce your deduction by an amount called the inclusion amount. See Leasing a Car in chapter 4 of Pub. 463 to figure this amount.
Enter on line 20b amounts paid to rent or lease other property, such as office space in a building.

Line 21(p8)

Deduct the cost of incidental repairs and maintenance that do not add to the property's value or appreciably prolong its life. Do not deduct the value of your own labor. Do not deduct amounts spent to restore or replace property; they must be capitalized.

Line 22(p8)

In most cases, you can deduct the cost of materials and supplies only to the extent you actually consumed and used them in your business during the tax year (unless you deducted them in a prior tax year). However, if you had incidental materials and supplies on hand for which you kept no inventories or records of use, you can deduct the cost of those you actually purchased during the tax year, provided that method clearly reflects income.
You can also deduct the cost of books, professional instruments, equipment, etc., if you normally use them within a year. However, if their usefulness extends substantially beyond a year, you must generally recover their costs through depreciation.

Line 23(p8)

You can deduct the following taxes and licenses on this line.
Do not deduct the following.

Line 24a(p8)

Enter your expenses for lodging and transportation connected with overnight travel for business while away from your tax home. In most cases, your tax home is your main place of business, regardless of where you maintain your family home. You cannot deduct expenses paid or incurred in connection with employment away from home if that period of employment exceeds 1 year. Also, you cannot deduct travel expenses for your spouse, your dependent, or any other individual unless that person is your employee, the travel is for a bona fide business purpose, and the expenses would otherwise be deductible by that person.
Do not include expenses for meals and entertainment on this line. Instead, see Line 24b, later.
Instead of keeping records of your actual incidental expenses, you can use an optional method for deducting incidental expenses only if you did not pay or incur meal expenses on a day you were traveling away from your tax home. The amount of the deduction is $5 a day. Incidental expenses include fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on ships, and hotel servants in foreign countries. They do not include expenses for laundry, cleaning and pressing of clothing, lodging taxes, or the costs of telegrams or telephone calls. You cannot use this method on any day that you use the standard meal allowance (as explained in Line 24b, later).
You cannot deduct expenses for attending a convention, seminar, or similar meeting held outside the North American area unless the meeting is directly related to your trade or business and it is as reasonable for the meeting to be held outside the North American area as within it. These rules apply to both employers and employees. Other rules apply to luxury water travel.
For details on travel expenses, see chapter 1 of Pub. 463.

Line 24b(p8)

Enter your total deductible business meal and entertainment expenses. This includes expenses for meals while traveling away from home for business and for meals that are business-related entertainment.
Deductible expenses.(p8)
Business meal expenses are deductible only if they are (a) directly related to or associated with the active conduct of your trade or business, (b) not lavish or extravagant, and (c) incurred while you or your employee is present at the meal.
You cannot deduct any expense paid or incurred for a facility (such as a yacht or hunting lodge) used for any activity usually considered entertainment, amusement, or recreation.
Also, you cannot deduct membership dues for any club organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purpose. This includes country clubs, golf and athletic clubs, airline and hotel clubs, and clubs operated to provide meals under conditions favorable to business discussion. But it does not include civic or public service organizations, professional organizations (such as bar and medical associations), business leagues, trade associations, chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and real estate boards, unless a principal purpose of the organization is to entertain, or provide entertainment facilities for, members or their guests.
There are exceptions to these rules as well as other rules that apply to skybox rentals and tickets to entertainment events. See chapters 1 and 2 of Pub. 463.
Standard meal allowance.(p9)
Instead of deducting the actual cost of your meals while traveling away from home, you can use the standard meal allowance for your daily meals and incidental expenses. Under this method, you deduct a specified amount, depending on where you travel, instead of keeping records of your actual meal expenses. However, you must still keep records to prove the time, place, and business purpose of your travel.
The standard meal allowance is the federal M&IE rate. You can find these rates on the Internet at Click on Per Diem Rates for links to locations inside and outside the continental United States.
See chapter 1 of Pub. 463 for details on how to figure your deduction using the standard meal allowance, including special rules for partial days of travel.
Amount of deduction.(p9)
In most cases, you can deduct only 50% of your business meal and entertainment expenses, including meals incurred while away from home on business. However, for individuals subject to the Department of Transportation (DOT) hours of service limits, that percentage is increased to 80% for business meals consumed during, or incident to, any period of duty for which those limits are in effect. Individuals subject to the DOT hours of service limits include the following.
However, you can fully deduct meals, incidentals, and entertainment furnished or reimbursed to an employee if you properly treat the expense as wages subject to withholding. You can also fully deduct meals, incidentals, and entertainment provided to a nonemployee to the extent the expenses are includible in the gross income of that person and reported on Form 1099-MISC. See Pub. 535 for details and other exceptions.
Daycare providers.(p9)
If you qualify as a family daycare provider, you can use the standard meal and snack rates, instead of actual costs, to compute the deductible cost of meals and snacks provided to eligible children. See Pub. 587 for details, including recordkeeping requirements.

Line 25(p9)

Deduct utility expenses only for your trade or business.
Local telephone service.(p9)
If you used your home phone for business, do not deduct the base rate (including taxes) of the first phone line into your residence. But you can deduct any additional costs you incurred for business that are more than the base rate of the first phone line. For example, if you had a second line, you can deduct the business percentage of the charges for that line, including the base rate charges.

Line 26(p9)

Enter the total salaries and wages for the tax year. Do not include salaries and wages deducted elsewhere on your return or amounts paid to yourself. Reduce your deduction by the amounts claimed on:
If you provided taxable fringe benefits to your employees, such as personal use of a car, do not deduct as wages the amount applicable to depreciation and other expenses claimed elsewhere.
In most cases, you are required to file Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, for each employee. See the General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3.

Line 30(p9)

Business use of your home.(p9)
You may be able to deduct certain expenses for business use of your home, subject to limitations. You must attach Form 8829 if you claim this deduction. For details, see the Instructions for Form 8829 and Pub. 587.

Line 31(p9)

If you have a loss, the amount of loss you can deduct this year may be limited. Go to line 32 before entering your loss on line 31. If you answered No on line G or are a qualified joint venture reporting only rental real estate, also see the Instructions for Form 8582. Enter the net profit or deductible loss here. Combine this amount with any profit or loss from other businesses and enter the total on both Form 1040, line 12, and Schedule SE, line 2, or on Form 1040NR, line 13. Nonresident aliens using Form 1040NR should also enter the total on Schedule SE, line 2, if you are covered under the U.S. social security system due to an international social security agreement currently in effect. See the Schedule SE instructions for information on international social security agreements. Estates and trusts should enter the total on Form 1041, line 3.
Excess farm loss rules. (p9)
If your Schedule C activity includes processing a farm commodity as part of your farming business, your deductible loss from that activity may be limited if you received certain subsidies. See the Instructions for Schedule F for a list of those subsidies. Use one of the worksheets in the Schedule F instructions to determine if you have an excess farm loss. See the Instructions for Schedule F for more details on how to complete the worksheets.
Statutory employees.(p9)
Include your net profit or deductible loss from line 31 with other Schedule C amounts on Form 1040, line 12, or on Form 1040NR, line 13. However, do not report this amount on Schedule SE, line 2. If you were a statutory employee and are required to file Schedule SE because of other self-employment income, see the Instructions for Schedule SE.
Rental real estate activity.(p9)
Unless you are a qualifying real estate professional, a rental real estate activity is a passive activity, even if you materially participated in the activity. If you have a loss, you may need to file Form 8582 to figure your deductible loss to enter on line 31. See the Instructions for Form 8582.
Notary public.(p10)
Do not enter your net profit from line 31 on Schedule SE, line 2, unless you are required to file Schedule SE because of other self-employment income. See the Instructions for Schedule SE.
Community income.(p10)
If you and your spouse had community income and are filing separate returns, see the Instructions for Schedule SE before figuring self-employment tax.
Earned income credit.(p10)
If you have a net profit on line 31, this amount is earned income and may qualify you for the earned income credit (EIC).
To figure your EIC, use the instructions for Form 1040, lines 64a and 64b. Complete all applicable steps plus Worksheet B. If you are required to file Schedule SE, remember to enter the deductible portion of your self-employment tax in Part 1, line 1d, of Worksheet B.

Line 32(p10)

At-risk rules.(p10)
In most cases, if you have a business loss and amounts invested in the business for which you are not at risk, you must complete Form 6198 to figure your allowable loss. The at-risk rules generally limit the amount of loss (including loss on the disposition of assets) you can claim to the amount you could actually lose in the business.
Check box 32b if you have amounts invested in this business for which you are not at risk, such as the following.
Figuring your deductible loss.(p10)
If all amounts are at risk in this business, check box 32a. If you answered Yes on line G, enter your loss on line 31. But if you answered No on line G, you may need to complete Form 8582 to figure your allowable loss to enter on line 31. See the Instructions for Form 8582 for details.
If you checked box 32b, first complete Form 6198 to determine the amount of your deductible loss. If you answered Yes on line G, enter that amount on line 31. But if you answered No on line G, your loss may be further limited. See the Instructions for Form 8582. If your at-risk amount is zero or less, enter -0- on line 31. Be sure to attach Form 6198 to your return. If you checked box 32b and you do not attach Form 6198, the processing of your tax return may be delayed.
Any loss from this business not allowed for 2012 only because of the at-risk rules is treated as a deduction allocable to the business in 2013.
For details, see the Instructions for Form 6198 and Pub. 925.