Yes, you can take start-up expenses.
Start up costs are those expenses incurred in planning and setting up the business, costs you incur before you open the door.
A portion of startup and organizational costs can be expensed (written off in your first year). The remainder can be amortized (written off over a period of 15 or more years).
Here is how it works:
Expenses paid or incurred after October 22, 2004:
- You can deduct up to $5,000 in startup and $5,000 organizational costs as current expenses if the costs are under $50,000, respectively.
- You can choose to amortize startup and organizational costs greater than $5,000, respectively, (but less than $50,000, respectively) over a period of 15 years.
- If your startup or your organizational costs are more than $50,000, respectively, the excess amount reduces the amount you can deduct.
Note: A cash-basis business cannot deduct or write off (amortize) these costs until they are actually paid.
what do you mean you haven't launched yet? there is no requirement that a business has to make its first sale to deduct start-up costs.
The courts have held that a new business begins for tax purposes when it starts to function as a going concern. It also must start performing the activities for which it was organized. (Richmond Television Corp. v. U.S., 345 F.2d 901 (4th Cir. 1965).
The IRS says that a venture becomes a going concern when it acquires all the assets necessary to perform its intended functions. It must also put those assets to work. Your business begins when you start doing business, whether you are actually earning money.
For example, if your business involves providing a service to customers or clients. This includes accounting, consulting, financial planning, or law services. Your business begins when you first offer your services to the public. No one has to hire you; you just have to be available for hire. For example, a consultant’s business begins when he or she is available for hire by clients.
If you’re a knowledge worker your business begins when you start using your business assets to make sellable products. These types of workers could include writers, artists, computer programmers and more.
The products don’t have to be completed, nor do sales have to be solicited or made. For example, an inventor’s business begins when he or she starts working on an invention in earnest. It doesn’t matter when the invention is completed, patented, or sold. Likewise, a writer’s business begins when he or she starts working on a writing project.