The life of a Lawyers is never boring. Whether you’re helping a client with the personal injury case or complex Estate Planning Issues, you seems to be running from one client to another!
You spend thousands of dollars each year to make things happen.
Have you ever thought about which expenses are tax-deductible? In this article we’ll be discussing “Tax Deductions for Lawyers in 2021 – 2022”.
These strategies can dramatic effect your taxes so read ahead before they change next year’s return too!” also see our bonus tip at the end.
- 1 What Are Best Tax Deductions for Lawyers?
- 2 1. Advertising & Marketing for Lawyers
- 3 2. Education And Training for Lawyers
- 4 3. Required Licenses And Dues For Lawyers
- 5 4. Phone, Internet & Fax
- 6 5. Insurance for Lawyers
- 7 6. Lawyers Vehicle(Truck or Van) Tax Deduction
- 8 7. Business Travel & Meals
- 9 9. Home Office Deduction for Lawyers
- 10 10. Lawyers Rent And Utilities
- 11 11. Business Gifts ($25 Deduction Limit)
- 12 12. Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction for Lawyers
- 13 13. Lawyers Tools, Equipment and Furniture
- 14 14. Office Supplies & Software
- 15 15. Employee Payroll & Payroll Taxes
- 16 16. Retirement Plan Contribution
- 17 17. Legal Or Professional Services
- 18 18. Set up a S Corporation for Lawyers
- 19 18. Merchant Credit Card Commissions
- 20 In Conclusion
- 21 Bonus Tip:
- 22 1099 NEC Forms are Due January 31st
- 23 Learn More
What Are Best Tax Deductions for Lawyers?
Do you know what are Best Tax Deductions for Lawyers. Lets review 18 top tax deductions that Doctors can use in 2021 and 2022.
1. Advertising & Marketing for Lawyers
As most of the Lawyers get their business from online these days, you can deduct your expenses such as Website, Business Cards, Website Hosting cost, domain cost and so on. You probably also spend money on Yelp, Google AdWords, Facebook and other online advertising platforms. All these expenses are tax deductions for federal and state tax purposes.
If you still do mailing campaigns such as postcards and ads in magazines, you can deduct those expenses as well.
2. Education And Training for Lawyers
One of the things we have learned by talking to hundreds of successful Lawyers that they always invest money in their earning ability.
Many work with other successful Lawyers to learn and upgrade their skills. Many Doctors also spend money on continuing education requirements to stay on top of legal and business requirements.
Many successful Lawyers also buy Audio book subscription from Amazon or real estate books, and online courses. These expenses not only reduce your taxable income but also can help you increase your earned income as well.
3. Required Licenses And Dues For Lawyers
In order to work as a Lawyers you are required to maintain your license and in pay for dues either on year or quarterly basis. This may include but are not limited to City License, County License and State Licenses. All these expenses can be legal tax write off.
4. Phone, Internet & Fax
Lawyers spend a large amount of the time over Phone, Internet either answering prospective customers phone or doing marketing.
5. Insurance for Lawyers
Attorneys are required to carry various insurance to protect the public. These insurance include Medical Malpractice Insurance, General Business Coverage Insurance and Business Vehicle Insurance.
If you are successful enough to have your own office, you may have employees and will need to pay Workers Compensation. This is also tax deductible.
6. Lawyers Vehicle(Truck or Van) Tax Deduction
As a Lawyer you have to travel a lot. Many attorneys travel to meet clients or travel to go to different courts.
As a Lawyer you also travel for your continuing education or to go to library to research complex medical conditions.
Vehicle expense are important deduction and its crucial that you learn all the options before making your choice.
You have two options when claiming Painting Business Owner Vehicle Tax Deduction:
Simple Method (Standard Mileage Deduction)
The simple method where you take a cost per mile for miles you driven for business.
For 2021, the standard mileage rate is 56 Cents per mile.
For Example: if you drove 10,000 miles, you could deduct $5,600 from your
In addition to Standard Mileage expense, you can also get to deduct DMV Registration fees and taxes, car loan interest, Vehicle Cleaning, Bridge Tolls, and parking fees to the standard mileage deduction.
Actual method is typically used by many Lawyers especially when their actual expenses are significantly more than the standard mileage method.
In actual method, you itemize the list of expenses pertaining to your vehicle.
Vehicle Repairs and maintenance, Parking, Vehicle Lease Expense, Vehicle Cleaning, DMV fees and Depreciation.
Tip: We recommend looking into Tax Deductions for Lawyers regarding Pickup or Large Vehicle Purchase.
This is especially helpful if you purchase a business vehicle that greater than 6000 Pounds.
In this case you may be able to depreciate the vehicle 100%(Given its purely used for work and not for personal use)
7. Business Travel & Meals
If you work across state or across country you may have to travel a lot.
Many of the Travel Expenses are fully tax deductible.
These expenses may include Airfare, Hotel Stay & Lodging and Travel Meals.
On the other hand if you are not travelling and taking a client out for a business meal and taking another Lawyers, or vendor out to discuss business you can write off Meals.
Usually meals are 50% deductible but in 2021 and 2022 laws may be slightly different and may allow up to 100% deduction of meals.
9. Home Office Deduction for Lawyers
Many Attorneys and medical practice owners work from their home. After Covid 19, Many provide remote consulting Services from their home. They usually have their computer, printer and other equipment setup at home.
IRS requires that portion of the home deducted on your tax return is exclusive area and is not share for personal purposes.
For example you cannot have a small table on side of bedroom. There are two methods for deducting your home office. Simple & Complex Method.
Simplified Method for Lawyers
Simple method allows you to take your square footage and multiply by 5 dollars a square foot. Max amount you can write of under this methods is $1500.
An example would be a 100 square foot room that you use exclusively as your office. Multiplying that by $5 gives you $500 that you can deduct for your home office.
Detailed Method for Lawyers
In order to calculate home office deduction under this method
first you find out what is total size of your home office, example 200 Square foot then you divide that by total home size, example 2000 Sq Feet. So Office is 10% of the total home.
Secondly, you take home expenses such as Mortgage interest, Insurance, Property Tax, Repairs and Utilities and come up with the total example $20,000
Thirdly, you take 10% of $20,000 which will be $2000
10. Lawyers Rent And Utilities
If you rent a space for your business, then the rent you pay is tax-deductible along with Office utilities such as electricity, water & trash service. You rent tend to be one of the largest expense after your labor cost, hence its important that you track your rent expense and get a full tax deduction for your business and office rent.
This is an important Tax Deductions for Lawyers for 2021-2022 as many Lawyers need to store their client files either at their office or at rented storage or warehouse space.
11. Business Gifts ($25 Deduction Limit)
IRS allows Business Gifts of $25 Per person Per year. If you pay anyone more than that then it may be taxable depending up the purpose and what was the Gift intended to accomplish.
If a payment can be considered other income or referral and you pay someone $600 or more then you are required to issue them a 1099M or 1099 NEC.
12. Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction for Lawyers
If you are self employed, most likely you have to buy your own health insurance. You can deduct health insurance you pay for yourself or your family.
This is written off as a Adjustment in your income taxes.
13. Lawyers Tools, Equipment and Furniture
Lawyers business owners often purchase standard business equipment like computers, camera, stands, backdrops, iPad for invoicing.
Most of these items are fully deductible(expensed) in the year you purchase them versus having to depreciate them over multiple years.
However, if you find yourself buying expensive items such as Laptops, X Ray Machines, or furniture for patients, that cost over $2500, be sure to check with your Tax Accountant & CPA if it can be deducted or depreciated over time.
You may be able to take Section 179 or Bonus Depreciation on some of the items.
14. Office Supplies & Software
Lawyers regularly use office supplies such as Envelopes, Folder, Paper and Pens when writing Commercial Architectural proposals or reports, visiting homes to customers and mailing or sending paperwork.
If you use any software to contact potential customers, keep track of your offers, Contact current customers or keep track of your finances using software such as QuickBooks you can deduct the cost of these softwares.
- CRM( Example Sales Force)
- Marketing System like Mail Chimp
- Law Forms Software
Here is list of Best Accounting Software for small businesses to keep track of their income and expenses.
15. Employee Payroll & Payroll Taxes
If you have employees that work for you such as receptionist, admin, bookkeeper or sales support, you pay them on hourly or salary basis.
You can deduct their W2 Salary and any employer payroll taxes(Such as FICA, State Unemployment Taxes) that you pay in addition to the payroll.
16. Retirement Plan Contribution
It is important to start putting away money for retirement. You can not only have money available when you are older but you can save a thousands of dollars if you
There are a several good plans to choose from; We have provided top 3:
2022 limit is the lesser of $61,000 or 25% of income. As self-employed, this plan allows Lawyers to invest significantly more money each year into retirement versus the traditional IRA plan.
Keep in mind that if you do have employees other than yourself or your spouse, you’ll need to match whatever contribution percentage that you elect for yourself, for your eligible employees as well.
IRAs(Traditional & Roth)
2022 limit for Traditional IRA is $6000 and $7000 if you are over 50 years old. If you don’t want to put a large amount of money away, then a Traditional(Pre Tax) or Roth IRA(Post Tax) might be for you.
2022 individual contribution limit is $22,000, $27,000 if over 50. However, like a corporate 401k, your company can also contribute to this plan – as much as 25% of your compensation.
The max individual plus business contribution to this plan can be as high as $58,000 or $64,500 if over 50, for 2022.
Key requirement is you need be self-employed with no employees in your business( Basically you and your spouse only) It is ok to have independent contractors as long as they are properly classified.
Defined Benefit Plan ( Pension Plans)
A defined benefit plan is a retirement plan in which an employer agrees to provide a certain level of benefits to employees upon retirement. The benefits are typically based on the employee’s length of service and salary.
Pension plans are the most common type of defined benefit plan. Other types of defined benefit plans include cash balance plans and hybrid pension plans. These plans can allow you to put away a very large amount of money in your retirement, helping you lower your taxes dramatically. If you are over 50 years of age, this plan contributions can be over $100k (please check with your CFP)
Pension plans are regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Cash balance plans are not subject to ERISA regulation. Hybrid pension plans are a combination of a pension plan and a cash balance plan and are subject to ERISA regulation.
Defined benefit plans are an important part of many employees’ retirement planning.
Employees who participate in these types of plans can be assured of a certain level of income during retirement, which can help to ensure a comfortable retirement lifestyle.
17. Legal Or Professional Services
If you pay an Attorney, CPA or a bookkeeper for your photography business, you can deduct these professional fees.
Don’t forget to issue 1099M or 1099 NEC as needed. See our guidelines for 1099s.
18. Set up a S Corporation for Lawyers
Lawyers can save thousands by incorporating their business as an S-Corp election(Form 2553), Lawyers can save thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on self-employment tax versus being a sole proprietor.
The IRS typically charges self-employed business owners 15.3% for self-employment (12.4% for social security and 2.9% for Medicare).
If you are a Sole Proprietor
If you haven’t set your company up as an S-Corp, you will pay this 15.3%, in addition to your income tax, for all of your adjusted gross income.
For example, if you earned $100,000 in after deductions, adjusted gross income, your SE tax alone would be $15,300 (not including what you’d pay for income tax).
Your Business Setup as an S-Corp
If you set yourself up as an S-Corp, you will pay yourself a reasonable salary and also receive distributions(K1) Based on number of hours work if a Attorney’s salary is around $40,000 annually then the Shareholder will take 40k in w2 and 60k in K1
Going back to our example of $100,000 adjusted gross income, let’s assume you paid yourself a salary of $40,000 and took $60,000 in dividends.
In this case, you’d only pay the 15.3% SE tax on the $40,000.
In this example, your self-employment tax is $6,120, effectively lowering your tax burden by nearly $9,000.
18. Merchant Credit Card Commissions
If you are a Physician that accepts credit cards from your customers, then you may be aware that credit card companies charge you a commissions. For example visa and master card may charge from 1.5 to 2.5% commissions and American Express may charge from 2.5 to 3.5 per cent commissions.
You are allowed to deduct this commissions from your income as an expense.
You can typically get a printout from their online portal of how much commissions you paid during the year or you can download their monthly statement and total the amount and provide to your tax preparer or accountant.
The deductions listed in this guide can be extremely helpful in reducing the amount of taxes you may owe for 2021 and 2022.
However, it is important to remember that these are only beneficial if you track them and keep supporting documents.
Be sure to discuss these with your CPA and see how they apply to your unique tax situation.
For more information on tax deductions for lawyers and other professionals, continue reading our blog.
1099 NEC Forms are Due January 31st
If you paid contractors such as Other Attorneys, Legal Assistants, Private Investigators, don’t forget to issue them a 1099 NEC form by no later than January 31st each year to not receive a penalty.
See IRS page here for more info about 1099 Forms