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Gizmos to save Tax

If you're self-employed, there is considerable overlap between your workplace and home.

Print Edition: April 4, 2010

If you're self-employed, there is considerable overlap between your workplace and home. That is also increasingly true for executives—many of whom fall in the category of professionals or consultants. The intertwining of life-at-work and life-after-work has one exciting financial implication: Many of your most-prized technology products and services can become the means to slash your income tax liability.

You can buy a computer, TV and even an MP3 player and deduct the cost as a work-related expense. It's like buying gizmos at a discount of up to 30 per cent. Far from cheating on your taxes, this is a legitimate technique. You just have to know how to ask for it, pick your products carefully and justify the purchase.

PCs, laptops, peripherals: A computer (PC or laptop) is one of the simplest expenses to claim as a deduction. Short of making several trips to cybercafes, this is the only way to work from home. Printer, scanner and other peripherals are also covered under this.

Mobile and cordless phones: You do have to make calls for work, right? So, write off the price of your handset and cordless in this year's tax returns. Even better, the government will help pay for the phone and call charges. But exclude personal calls.

Internet services: Expenses incurred on an Internet connection and payment for the service are perfect for deducting those from your income. While at it, Wi-Fi enable your home and write it off as a professional expense, too.

Camcorders and digital cameras: If you document your work or add video to your presentations, claim your purchase as a business expense. Never mind if you make home videos on weekends. When you bill for prints or DVDs, just show a percentage as personal use.

MP3 players: All MP3 players double as storage devices where you supposedly store professional documents. Some even use recorders to record business deals. Your MP3 player may be music to your ears, but is a business tool for the taxman.

Courtesy: Money Today

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