When it comes to debt and taxes, many people would agree that they are both far too high. However, there is an upside to having debt: some of the interest you pay on your loans can be deducted from your taxes each year. This means that instead of paying the full amount of tax, you could pay less thanks to a deduction. This type of deduction can be particularly useful for small business owners, as some loans taken out to finance a business venture may be eligible for the interest tax deduction.
Using Cash Reserves
Using a business’ cash does not provide tax or any other benefits, such as deductions on income taxes, protection against creditors and legal entities, or deferral of capital gains taxes. Furthermore, businesses are often limited in the amount of cash they can keep on hand due to regulations and other restrictions.
Additionally, taking out a loan is a great way to avoid depleting your cash reserves. Businesses need cash reserves to maintain operational stability and prepare for unexpected circumstances. Having a healthy cash reserve allows companies to pay expenses, make investments in their future, and manage any short-term financial difficulties. For small businesses in particular, having access to an emergency fund can mean the difference between staying afloat and dissolving altogether.
Securing capital to fund business operations can offer a range of benefits that don’t exist when using your own cash. By leveraging external capital, you can often reduce the amount of income taxes you owe as well as free up more of your own cash reserves. This can be especially beneficial to businesses with high profit margins that face significant tax bills each year.
Business loan payments are not considered to be tax-deductible, as they simply represent a repayment of the borrowed money. The Internal Revenue Service does not allow businesses to deduct the costs associated with loan payments as these have already been accounted for when the sum was initially borrowed.
However, interest paid on your business loan is tax-deductible in most cases. Specifically, you can write the interest portion of your payments off as a business expense.
Loans With Tax-deductible Interest
The interest on various businesses loans can potentially be used as a write-off, and depending on the specific type of loan, this may result in substantial savings for business owners.
- Personal loans: If the proceeds from a personal loan are used for business needs or expenses, the interest is tax-deductible. It is important to note that if a personal loan is used partially for business expenses and partially for personal needs, only the interest associated with the portion of the loan used for business-related costs can be written off. This means that it is essential to keep detailed records of how much of the loan was applied to what type of expenditure.
- Short-term loans: If your business takes a short-term loan and repays it in full during the course of a year, the interest associated with that loan can be deducted from your taxable income. This means that you may be able to reduce the overall cost of financing by claiming the deduction on your taxes.
- Lines of credit: The interest on lines of credit is tax-deductible, providing an additional benefit to borrowers. This deduction may be applied to both secured and unsecured lines of credit, allowing individuals to deduct the interest paid on loans used for business. However, you can only write off the interest on the funds you draw from the credit line each year. Additionally, taxpayers can deduct the fees associated with setting up a line of credit, which can consist of origination fees, appraisal fees, and credit report costs.
- Investment Loans: When you borrow money and use the proceeds to buy taxable investment assets, the resulting interest is called investment-interest expense. You can deduct investment interest to the extent of your taxable investment income — from interest, short-term capital gains, certain royalties, and the like.
- SBA Loans: Small Business Administration 7(a) loans offer generous interest deductions for business owners – up to $1 million of the qualified loan amount per year.
To deduct the interest associated with a business loan on your taxes, you may need to meet some of the following criteria:
- You’re able to prove that you’re legally liable for the loan debt.
- You have proof of repayment.
- You can show a debtor-creditor relationship with the lender.
- The funds were spent on something for your business, not just kept in a bank account.
Generally, you should be prepared to share all loan associated documentation with your tax preparer. That means any loan documents and proof of loan payments — including the interest paid — in the taxable year.
As a business owner, it is important to use a professional tax preparer to ensure that your taxes are filed accurately and in compliance with the law. Tax laws can be highly complex, especially for businesses, and the guidance of an experienced professional can help you avoid costly mistakes or penalties from the IRS.
Deductible Loan Expenses
Loan repayment isn’t tax-deductible, but what you used the loan funds for might be. If your loan was used to purchase new equipment, real estate or for other select reasons, you may be able to deduct those full items, not just the interest, as business expenses on your taxes.
The Bottom Line
While you can’t deduct your loan repayment, you also won’t be charged taxes on the loan amount. The ability to deduct interest paid could lighten your tax burden. Plus, there’s a chance that you can deduct purchases or operating expenses related to the loan.
Using a business’ cash offers no tax benefits. Not only do businesses not receive the same deductions, but it’s also much more difficult to track expenses for tax purposes.
Taking out a loan also gives you access to capital that you would not have had access to without it. If you use the capital to expand your business or launch new products and services, these expansions can then be used as deductions on your taxes, resulting in even more tax savings.