||2008 Tax Year
You can deduct various federal, state, local, and foreign taxes directly attributable to your trade or business as business
You cannot deduct federal income taxes, estate and gift taxes, or state inheritance, legacy, and succession taxes.
Topics - This chapter discusses:
When to deduct taxes
Real estate taxes
Useful Items - You may want to see:
(Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide
Tax Guide for Small Business
Accounting Periods and Methods
Basis of Assets
Form (and Instructions)
Sch A (Form 1040)
Sch SE (Form 1040)
Application for Change in Accounting Method
See chapter 12 for information about getting publications and forms.
Generally, you can only deduct taxes in the year you pay them. This applies whether you use the cash method or an accrual
method of accounting.
Under an accrual method, you can deduct a tax before you pay it if you meet the exception for recurring items discussed under
Performance in Publication 538. You can also elect to ratably accrue real estate taxes as discussed later under Real Estate Taxes.
Limit on accrual of taxes.
A taxing jurisdiction can require the use of a date for accruing taxes that is earlier than the date it originally
required. However, if you use an
accrual method, and can deduct the tax before you pay it, use the original accrual date for the year of change and all future
years to determine when
you can deduct the tax.
Your state imposes a tax on personal property used in a trade or business conducted in the state. This tax is assessed and
becomes a lien as of
July 1 (accrual date). In 2007, the state changed the assessment and lien dates from July 1, 2008, to December 31, 2007, for
property tax year 2008.
Use the original accrual date (July 1, 2008) to determine when you can deduct the tax. You must also use the July 1 accrual
date for all future years
to determine when you can deduct the tax.
Uniform capitalization rules.
Uniform capitalization rules apply to certain taxpayers who produce real property or tangible personal property for
use in a trade or business or
for sale to customers. They also apply to certain taxpayers who acquire property for resale. Under these rules, you either
include certain costs in
inventory or capitalize certain expenses related to the property, such as taxes. For more information, see chapter 1.
Carrying charges include taxes you pay to carry or develop real estate or to carry, transport, or install personal
property. You can elect to
capitalize carrying charges not subject to the uniform capitalization rules if they are otherwise deductible. For more information,
see chapter 7.
Refunds of taxes.
If you receive a refund for any taxes you deducted in an earlier year, include the refund in income to the extent
the deduction reduced your
federal income tax in the earlier year. For more information, see Recovery of amount deducted (tax benefit rule)
in chapter 1.
You must include in income any interest you receive on tax refunds.
Deductible real estate taxes are any state, local, or foreign taxes on real estate levied for the general public welfare.
The taxing authority must
base the taxes on the assessed value of the real estate and charge them uniformly against all property under its jurisdiction.
Deductible real estate
taxes generally do not include taxes charged for local benefits and improvements that increase the value of the property.
See Taxes for local
If you use an accrual method, you generally cannot accrue real estate taxes until you pay them to the government authority.
However, you can elect
to ratably accrue the taxes during the year. See Electing to ratably accrue, later.
Taxes for local benefits.
Generally, you cannot deduct taxes charged for local benefits and improvements that tend to increase the value of
your property. These include
assessments for streets, sidewalks, water mains, sewer lines, and public parking facilities. You should increase the basis
of your property by the
amount of the assessment.
You can deduct taxes for these local benefits only if the taxes are for maintenance, repairs, or interest charges
related to those benefits. If
part of the tax is for maintenance, repairs, or interest, you must be able to show how much of the tax is for these expenses
to claim a deduction for
that part of the tax.
Waterfront City, to improve downtown commercial business, converted a downtown business area street into an enclosed pedestrian
mall. The city
assessed the full cost of construction, financed with 10-year bonds, against the affected properties. The city is paying the
principal and interest
with the annual payments made by the property owners.
The assessments for construction costs are not deductible as taxes or as business expenses, but are depreciable capital expenses.
The part of the
payments used to pay the interest charges on the bonds is deductible as taxes.
Charges for services.
Water bills, sewerage, and other service charges assessed against your business property are not real estate taxes,
but are deductible as business
Purchase or sale of real estate.
If real estate is sold, the real estate taxes must be allocated between the buyer and the seller.
The buyer and seller must allocate the real estate taxes according to the number of days in the real property tax
year (the period to which the tax
imposed relates) that each owned the property. Treat the seller as paying the taxes up to but not including the date of sale.
Treat the buyer as
paying the taxes beginning with the date of sale. You can usually find this information on the settlement statement you received
If you (the seller) use an accrual method and have not elected to ratably accrue real estate taxes, you are considered
to have accrued your part of
the tax on the date you sell the property.
Al Green, a calendar year accrual method taxpayer, owns real estate in Elm County. He has not elected to ratably accrue property
taxes. November 30
of each year is the assessment and lien date for the current real property tax year, which is the calendar year. He sold the
property on June 30,
2007. Under his accounting method he would not be able to claim a deduction for the taxes because the sale occurred before
November 30. He is treated
as having accrued his part of the tax, 180/365 (January 1-June 29), on June 30 and he can deduct it for 2007.
Electing to ratably accrue.
If you use an accrual method, you can elect to accrue real estate tax related to a definite period ratably over that
John Smith is a calendar year taxpayer who uses an accrual method. His real estate taxes for the real property tax year, July
1, 2007, to June 30,
2008, are $1,200. July 1 is the assessment and lien date.
If John elects to ratably accrue the taxes, $600 will accrue in 2007 ($1,200 × 6/12, July 1-December 31) and the balance
will accrue in 2008.
You can elect to ratably accrue the taxes for each separate trade or business and for nonbusiness activities if you
account for them separately.
Once you elect to ratably accrue real estate taxes, you must use that method unless you get permission from the IRS to change.
Making the election.
If you elect to ratably accrue the taxes for the first year in which you incur real estate taxes, attach a statement
to your income tax return for
that year. The statement should show all the following items.
The trades or businesses to which the election applies and the accounting method or methods used.
The period to which the taxes relate.
The computation of the real estate tax deduction for that first year.
Generally, you must file your return by the due date (including extensions). However, if you timely filed your return
for the year without electing
to ratably accrue, you can still make the election by filing an amended return within 6 months after the due date of the return
extensions). Attach the statement to the amended return and write “Filed pursuant to section 301.9100-2
” on the statement. File the amended
return at the same address where you filed the original return.
If you elect to ratably accrue for a year after the first year in which you incur real estate taxes or if you want to
revoke your election to ratably accrue real estate taxes, file Form 3115. For more information, including applicable time
frames for filing, see the
instructions for Form 3115.
This section discusses federal, state, local, and foreign income taxes.
Federal income taxes.
You cannot deduct federal income taxes.
State and local income taxes.
A corporation or partnership can deduct state and local income taxes imposed on the corporation or partnership as
business expenses. An individual
can deduct state and local income taxes only as an itemized deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040).
However, an individual can deduct a state tax on gross income (as distinguished from net income) directly attributable
to a trade or business as a
Accrual of contested income taxes.
If you use an accrual method, and you contest a state or local income tax liability, you must accrue and deduct any
contested amount in the tax
year in which the liability is finally determined.
If additional state or local income taxes for a prior year are assessed in a later year, you can deduct the taxes
in the year in which they were
originally imposed (the prior year) if the tax liability is not contested. You cannot deduct them in the year in which the
liability is finally
The filing of an income tax return is not considered a contest and, in the absence of an overt act of protest, you can deduct
the tax in the prior
year. Also, you can deduct any additional taxes in the prior year if you do not show some affirmative evidence of denial of
However, if you consistently deduct additional assessments in the year they are paid or finally determined (including
those for which there was no
contest), you must continue to do so. You cannot take a deduction in the earlier year unless you receive permission to change
your method of
accounting. For more information on accounting methods, see When Can I Deduct an Expense?
in chapter 1.
Foreign income taxes.
Generally, you can take either a deduction or a credit for income taxes imposed on you by a foreign country or a U.S.
possession. However, an
individual cannot take a deduction or credit for foreign income taxes paid on income that is exempt from U.S. tax under the
foreign earned income
exclusion or the foreign housing exclusion. For information on these exclusions, see Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens
and Resident Aliens
Abroad. For information on the foreign tax credit, see Publication 514, Foreign Tax Credit for Individuals.
If you have employees, you must withhold various taxes from your employees' pay. Most employers must withhold their employees'
share of social
security and Medicare taxes along with state and federal income taxes. You may also need to pay certain employment taxes from
your own funds. These
include your share of social security and Medicare taxes as an employer, along with unemployment taxes.
You should treat the taxes you withhold from your employees' pay as wages on your tax return. You can deduct the employment
taxes you must pay from
your own funds as taxes.
You pay your employee $18,000 a year. However, after you withhold various taxes, your employee receives $14,500. You also
pay an additional $1,500
in employment taxes. You should deduct the full $18,000 as wages. You can deduct the $1,500 you pay from your own funds as
For more information on employment taxes, see Publication 15 (Circular E).
Unemployment fund taxes.
As an employer, you may have to make payments to a state unemployment compensation fund or to a state disability benefit
fund. Deduct these
payments as taxes.
The following are other taxes you can deduct if you incur them in the ordinary course of your trade or business.
You can deduct as a business expense all excise taxes that are ordinary and necessary expenses of carrying on your
trade or business. However, see
You can deduct corporate franchise taxes as a business expense.
Taxes on gasoline, diesel fuel, and other motor fuels that you use in your business are usually included as part of
the cost of the fuel. Do not
deduct these taxes as a separate item.
You may be entitled to a credit or refund for federal excise tax you paid on fuels used for certain purposes. For
more information, see Publication
You can deduct as a business expense an occupational tax charged at a flat rate by a locality for the privilege of
working or conducting a business
in the locality.
Personal property tax.
You can deduct any tax imposed by a state or local government on personal property used in your trade or business.
Treat any sales tax you pay on a service or on the purchase or use of property as part of the cost of the service
or property. If the service or
the cost or use of the property is a deductible business expense, you can deduct the tax as part of that service or cost.
If the property is
merchandise bought for resale, the sales tax is part of the cost of the merchandise. If the property is depreciable, add the
sales tax to the basis
for depreciation. For more information on basis, see Publication 551.
Do not deduct state and local sales taxes imposed on the buyer that you must collect and pay over to the state or local government.
Also, do not
include these taxes in gross receipts or sales.
You can deduct one-half of your self-employment tax as a business expense in figuring your adjusted gross income.
This deduction only affects your
income tax. It does not affect your net earnings from self-employment or your self-employment tax.
To deduct the tax, enter on Form 1040, line 27, the amount shown on the Deduction for one-half of self-employment
tax line of Schedule SE (Form
For more information on self-employment tax, see Publication 334.
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