What Is a Write-Off? Definition and Examples for Small Business

What is a write-off

A Write-off is an operational expense that is deduces for tax purposes. Anything you purchase for running a business profit is ‘expenses.’ For decreasing the total taxable revenue, you need to deduct the cost of these items from the income. 

According to the IRS, write-offs include:

  • vehicle costs
  • lease or home loan installments 

This article covers: 

What Is a Write-Off? 

A Write-off is a cost, just like a tax deduction. For determining the total taxable income for a small business, you need to deduct tax write-offs from total revenue.

Qualifying write-offs are important for business maintenance and regulation. A discount shouldn’t be 100% fundamental; however, it should view as an ordinary cost that helps keep the company, as per the IRS. 

The operational expenses in most of the cases are deductible, either entirely or halfway. Entrepreneurs attempt to write-off maximum expenses to decrease the amount of tax they need to pay.

Tax Write-offs for Small Business 

Small businesses usually write-off costs in the following categories: 

  • Advertisement  
  • Education 
  • Vehicle and Truck Expenses 
  • Lease and rent
  • Contractual workers 
  • Miscellaneous  (bank charges, compensation, and so forth) 
  • Worker Benefits (for example, medical coverage) 
  • Travel 
  • Dinners and Entertainment 
  • Office Supplies and Postage 
  • Other Supplies 

Tax Write-off Examples 

Here we’ll look at primary tax write-offs for small businesses.

Example No 1:

Jennifer, who sells seashells, spend a lot of time driving to operate her business away from the seashore. If her car is also for personal use, she can split the expenses based on mileage and deduct a portion of that cost. 

Jennifer also rents out a storefront in the big city, and she can remove that rent. She can deduct the amount she paid to ensure her business and the amount she paid her employees.

Example No 2:

Charles is a web designer. He runs his business from home.

If Charles’s home office occupies 30% of his home, he may deduct 30% of his mortgage/rent and utility expenses. He write-off all his costs, including:

  • Meals
  • Travel costs
  • Labor expenses
  • Advertisement costs

He writes off 50% of all these expenses on his taxes.

Example No 3:

A small house renovation business includes the following taxes to pay accordingly:

  • Car mileage 
  • Labor wages
  • Business insurance
  • Business cell phone
  • Charges of business supplies
  • Home office deduction

All of these expenses need their write-offs.

Other topics:

What Is a Write-Off in Accounting?

Elimination of assets’ value causes write-offs in the books. According to the ‘Accounting Tools,’ it happens when a resource can’t be transformed into money, low market value, or isn’t valuable to a business any longer.

Writing off an asset includes the transfer of some or all of its records to the expense account. The write-off happens once as it is a one-time event that needs management without any delay.

Until the write-off allocates to a particular classification, an impermanent measure is to credit a contra account. A contra record’s full capacity is to counter-balance the equilibrium of another account. 

Write-down is when a resource’s worth decreases rather than dispense. 


A customer refuses to pay for a contractual worker for woodwork. Somehow, the customer agrees to pay 30% of the receipt. The temporary worker distributes 30% of the receipt’s incentive to a business ledger and leaves 70% of it on the books. 

Write-offs decrease the taxable income, but if you start ignoring write-offs and write-downs, it becomes illegal.

Why Are Assets Written Off? 

Resources need to be a write-off because they’re useless to a business. 

Examples showing that where a write-off is important for small businesses and how to add it in the books: 

Can Not Collect Accounts Receivable :

A contractual worker has a $3000 pending invoice for garage renovation work. 

The customer didn’t pay. 

He came to know that the customer is bankrupt and unable to pay a bill. 

Accounts receivable categorizes the pending invoices. The contractual worker debits the category “bad debt expense” by $3000 and credits $3000 to a category called “allowance for doubtful accounts,” which counterbalances the sum owing in accounts receivable. 

Stock Is Of No Use :

It includes outdated stock or stock with manufacturing errors. The expense of stock adds to the class “cost of products sold,” or off-setting its value using the obsolete inventory reserve.

A Fixed Asset Is Of No Use :

Fixed resources are valuable items for an organization that is not under the use of a company within a year and are there for long-term use. An organization may purchase furniture for their office or move back to a home office while downsizing; then, there’s no utilization for this office furniture. The workplace furniture’s value depreciates and charges up to a loss account. 

No Return of Pay Advance :

An employee who asks for an advance but then quits before returning the amount, that balance then comes under the compensation expense account.

I hope this article covers all your queries regarding Write-Off for small businesses.  For more useful information browse the resources guide today!

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