By Tim Merrell, the Dental Guy
copyright 05-2005

I rushed upstairs dodging the toys, two small children and a border collie. I grabbed the phone just before the answer machine kicked on. “Do you know how much I had to pay IRS this year?” was the question. Before I had a chance to answer, my sister revealed the details. The next question; “How much did you have to pay?” Once again, she spoke before I could answer. Then with a sigh, she said, “I don’t understand how taxes work.”

I explained that if she started a part-time home based business, not only could she get benefits of tax write-offs, but any loss she may incur in the first years of business would be deducted from her husband’s income.

“Oh you’re talking about one of those MLM type businesses, aren’t you?” She coldly questioned.

“Not just any MLM business, but one that would give you a residual income.” I answered.

“What’s a residual income mean?” She asked, now with interest in her voice.

“In most businesses, you sell a product, and hope that client continues to buy the product. Therefore, you must market that client each month. However, in my business, you sell one time, and get a check every month without ever having to re-sell the product again to the same customer. In essence you make money, while you sleep.”

“You mean like web hosting, or internet services?” She inquired.

“That is one type of product, but selling that stuff, is usually best handled by techie types, only because of the technical questions people ask. Actually, I’m talking about a company that has been in business since 1992, and pays a commission rate of 30%.”

“No one pays a 30% commission,” she flatly replied.

”There is a company that does, and I’m getting checks.” I continued. “Also, I get a check every month, even if I quit selling. That’s a true residual income, and I am building a retirement income.”

“Hmm, but how will that help my taxes?” She cautiously questioned.

“Okay, if you become a broker, then all the supplies you use, such as printer ink cartridges, paper, brochures, your phone line, equipment, and your mileage traveled pertaining to business become write-offs.” I gave her the following example.

“My biggest deduction each year is business miles. This is a great deduction available to those of us who are self-employed, and maintain a mileage log. Let say, you travel from your home to a potential client’s office or home. The distance between the homes is 20 miles round trip. As of 2004, you can write off mileage at the rate of 37.5 cents a mile. That’s correct, 37.5 cents a mile. That little trip, allows you a tax deduction of $7.50 and the icing on the cake; you get the client.”

If my sister started a home based business, then money spent while she was learning the ropes is a tax write-off. She could learn a new job, with free training, and actually start making a monthly income, that could build into a source of retirement income, while she worked at home.

That is how I started self-employment. I can legally deduct my $35.00 monthly broker fees, and other business expenses. My family receives dental and vision benefits, office supply discounts, Dell computer discounts, grocery coupon booklets, Lifeguard Nurse Line, and use of the legal and financial library, with more than 5,000 accounting forms and agreements.