So, with the last Quick Tip of this year, it’s the perfect time to share resources with those who have waited until the 11th hour of 2011 to think about the year’s allowable tax-saving measures, plus some reminders about marketing and taxes for future promotion and planning, in 2012 and beyond.
Taxes and marketing are topics ranking right up there with public speaking when it comes to what most people dislike. However, they’re also an essential part of a successful horsebiz. Here are a few tax resources to be aware of:
- The American Horse Council website features updates on several key horse industry tax bills and tax benefit extensions. AHC also offers an 18-page booklet titled Tax Tips for Horse Owners ($10), and a Horse Owners and Breeders Tax Handbook for the current year in both print ($95) and CD ($75) versions. Their bi-monthly Tax Bulletin is a membership benefit at certain member levels.
- A PDF from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) summarizes some key tax incentives (bonus depreciation, high expense allowance) that were extended into 2011 and are reduced after January 1, 2012; the content was written by Thomas A. (Tad) Davis, Esq., tax counsel for the NTRA and AHC and author of the AHC tax publications.
As for taxes and marketing, here are a few tips from an interview I previously conducted with Joel B. Turner of Frost, Brown, Todd in Louisville, Kentucky. Turner is the chair of his firm’s equine law program and breeds & raises Thoroughbreds with his family on their Kentucky farm.
- Integrate your tax planning with your marketing planning: Consider not only the type of marketing expense and whether it’s deductible, but also the timing. For instance, pre-payment of advertising in order to get a discounted rate might be deductible in the year it’s paid, even though the services wouldn’t be provided until the following year.
- Keep good records: Having documentation is essential should your business ever be audited, and horse businesses that aren’t the primary family income source are more frequently subjected to audits, especially the ‘hobby-loss’ variety.
- Capture the data you need to make sound business and marketing decisions: Do you track where new business comes from, including how a new customer heard of you and who referred them? Keeping records on information like this allows you to make marketing decisions that are based on actual results, and can help you reduce spending on avenues that aren’t bringing you new sales.
Tax time will be here soon enough, so why not reduce anxiety levels by planning ahead? Make a resolution now to improve horsebiz planning and recordkeeping in 2012, and be sure to consult your tax and legal professionals for advice appropriate to your particular business or situation. If you have tips or other resources, share them by sending a Comment, so other readers can benefit, too!
Thank you for reading and supporting No Biz Like Horsebiz in 2011! I hope you have a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve, and may 2012 bring you all you hope for!
UPDATE: The American Horse Council issued an update about several tax benefits on January 3, 2012. To receive the latest updates on tax issues facing horsebiz owners, please visit their website, or consider becoming an AHC member to have tax alerts sent to you.
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