skip navigation
Search Help
Navigation Help

Tax Map Index

Tax Topic Index

Affordable Care Act
Tax Topic Index

Exempt Organization
Tax Topic Index

Tax Topics

About Tax Map Website
Publication 334

Chapter 8
Business Expenses(p30)


You can deduct the costs of operating your business. These costs are known as business expenses. These are costs you do not have to capitalize or include in the cost of goods sold but can deduct in the current year.
To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your field of business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.
For more information about the general rules for deducting business expenses, see chapter 1 in Pub. 535.
If you have an expense that is partly for business and partly personal, separate the personal part from the business part. The personal part is not deductible.


Useful items

You may want to see:

 463 Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses
 535 Business Expenses
 946 How To Depreciate Property
See chapter 12 for information about getting publications and forms.

Bad Debts(p30)

If someone owes you money you cannot collect, you have a bad debt. There are two kinds of bad debts, business bad debts and nonbusiness bad debts.
A business bad debt is generally one that comes from operating your trade or business. You may be able to deduct business bad debts as an expense on your business tax return.

Business bad debt.(p30)

A business bad debt is a loss from the worthlessness of a debt that was either of the following.
  1. Created or acquired in your business.
  2. Closely related to your business when it became partly or totally worthless.
A debt is closely related to your business if your primary motive for incurring the debt is a business reason.
Business bad debts are mainly the result of credit sales to customers. They can also be the result of loans to suppliers, clients, employees, or distributors. Goods and services customers have not paid for are shown in your books as either accounts receivable or notes receivable. If you are unable to collect any part of these accounts or notes receivable, the uncollectible part is a business bad debt.
You can take a bad debt deduction for these accounts and notes receivable only if the amount you were owed was included in your gross income either for the year the deduction is claimed or for a prior year.
Accrual method.(p31)
If you use an accrual method of accounting, you normally report income as you earn it. You can take a bad debt deduction for an uncollectible receivable if you have included the uncollectible amount in income.
Cash method.(p31)
If you use the cash method of accounting, you normally report income when you receive payment. You cannot take a bad debt deduction for amounts owed to you that you have not received and cannot collect if you never included those amounts in income.

More information.(p31)

For more information about business bad debts, see chapter 10 in Pub. 535.

Nonbusiness bad debts.(p31)

All other bad debts are nonbusiness bad debts and are deductible as short-term capital losses on Form 8949 and Schedule D (Form 1040). For more information on nonbusiness bad debts, see Pub. 550, Investment Income and Expenses.