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How To Report Your Inventory To The IRS At Tax Time When Your Are Self-Employed
If you are self-employed and make or buy goods for resale, you have inventory costs to report under current IRS rules. Every business owner must report those expenses on the back of their Schedule C tax form because inventory expenses are not deductible like other normal business expenses.
Because of this, the IRS requires that every business, no matter how small, track inventory costs separately from all other business costs. Your inventory costs not only include the price you pay for the resale item or all the parts needed to assemble the item, but also include all shipping charges and wages paid for assembly.
You are not allowed to deduct inventory expenses until an item is sold or otherwise permanently removed from your business inventory. All unsold inventory costs must be carried forward to the next tax year. Unsold inventory includes everything you haven’t sold, traded, trashed, given away, or donated. It includes all inventory items sitting in stores and warehouses that have been sold on merchandise.
Schedule C is a small section on the back of the small business tax form where you enter the value of your beginning inventory, the value of all inventory added in the current tax year, any inventory withdrawn for personal use, and your ending year inventory value.
For IRS inventory records that will survive a tax audit, I then created a formula called – List Acalculation, TOtal etcEvaluate and RHere’s how eport works:
list – Write down all items purchased for resale as they arrive. Make a simple six vertical column chart on lined paper; I use a spiral notebook. Title those six columns as follows:
- The name of the item
- total cost
- Number of salable items
- Cost per item
- The rest of the list
- Value at the end of the year
Fill in the first three columns when the item arrives. To get the cost of each item divide the total cost of each item by the number of salable items and enter that amount in column four. You will fill in the last two columns on the last business day of the tax year.
Account – account for all unsold inventory on the last day of the tax year; Both on your shelves and out for sale on consignment. Enter this number for each item as the rest of the list.
Total – Multiply your remaining inventory by your cost per item for each item and enter that value in the final column. Total everything in the second and last column. The first number is the total cost to add the goods and the second is your year-end inventory value.
Evaluate – View all remaining inventory to assess quality and shelf life. Remove all unsellable merchandise to trash, donate, or reserve for use in future promotions. Deduct the value of any inventory that is trashed or donated. Items used for future promotions will be deducted upon use.
Report – On the back of your Schedule C tax form you will find a space to enter the total of all goods added and your year-end inventory. Add the beginning inventory and merchandise together for the tax year and subtract your remaining inventory value to pay for cost of goods sold.
The inventory value at the end of this year becomes the inventory value at the beginning of the next tax year.
Take the time to make this simple six-column inventory chart at the beginning of the tax year, follow the formula later, and you’ll get those inventory deductions every time.
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