Tax Deductions for Landscapers: Money Matters

If you’ve built a landscaping business, maximizing tax benefits can help you save more this year. As a small business owner, you’re eligible for standard deductions related to business expenses, from equipment maintenance to home office expenses. Read on to understand tax deductions for landscapers and how to account for your landscaping business deductions.

Who Can Claim Landscaper Tax Deductions?

If you work as a landscaper as a freelancer, independent contractor, or sole proprietor, you could be eligible to claim landscaper tax deductions. Likewise, if you own a landscaping business, you can deduct relevant business expenses. According to the IRS, deductible business expenses must be ordinary and necessary for the industry and business. 

Common Tax Deductions for Landscapers

Common tax deductions for landscaper businesses may include travel, equipment costs, and professional fees. If you’re preparing business taxes for the first time, understanding tax write-offs for the self-employed or small business owners can help save time and protect your hard-earned revenue. Here’s what you need to know.  

Equipment 

You may deduct the cost of equipment like lawnmowers, weed whackers, and any other large equipment needed for your landscaping business by depreciating the cost over a series of years. On the other hand, small equipment and tools like rakes, shovels, buckets, gloves, clippers, or pruners, and safety equipment are immediately deductible as a direct business expense. 

Rental Costs

If you rent or lease equipment for your landscaping business, you can deduct that business expense from total revenue for tax purposes. For example, if you rent or lease a truck, machinery, or other lawn equipment for use in your landscaping business, that’s an ordinary and necessary expense for most landscaping businesses and may be deductible from business income. 

Contractor or Employee Expenses

If you hire other independent contractors to perform work for the landscaping business, you may deduct their wages from your business income. If you have employees, you may also deduct other payments you make related to their work, like Social Security payments.

Legal and Professional Fees

Professional and legal fees you use for normal business operations may be deducted as a business expense. These include:

  • Accounting services
  • Legal services
  • Scheduling software
  • Other professional fees
  • Any other software necessary for your landscaping business

Home Office Expenses

Office expenses, including a printer, computer, phone, desk, or other equipment you need for your landscaping business, are fully tax deductible. While you might not need a dedicated office space for your landscaping business when you’re starting, as the business grows, this can become a significant deductible business expense. 

Large purchases like furniture, a new copier, computers, or phone systems can be depreciated over several years. You may also deduct office cleaning expenses.

Insurance

Insurance necessary for the business, including worker’s compensation insurance if you have employees, is a deductible business expense. If you opt for liability insurance, that’s also a deductible business expense for most landscaping companies. 

Likewise, if you’re self-employed, your health insurance expenses are deductible. To be deductible, the insurance costs must: 

  • Be for yourself, your spouse, and any dependents 
  • Aren’t paid through any kind of pre-tax program
  • You were not eligible to participate in a health insurance program by your employer or your spouse’s provider

Health insurance premiums are considered an adjustment to your income rather than an itemized deduction, so you can claim this without itemizing deductions. You can deduct the amount you paid for health insurance from your total gross income.

Advertising

If you advertise the landscaping services through paid advertising, these costs are a deductible business expense. You’ll need to keep accurate records of costs with receipts to take this deduction.

Travel Expenses

Travel reimbursements for temporary posts and related out-of-pocket travel expenses qualify for tax-free reimbursements. In some cases, if you travel to a job site beyond your regular local office or an exceptional distance, you may be able to deduct travel costs. 

Possible travel deductions include transportation by plane, car rentals, lodging expenses, and meals. If driving to new work sites, you may deduct actual costs or take the IRS standard deduction. This usually results in a higher deduction. You can deduct a flat rate of 65.5 cents per mile for 2023 and 67 cents per mile in 2024. 

Seeds and Plants

Seeds or plants purchased as part of your landscaping business are fully deductible as a business expense as long as you’re not directly reimbursed for that expense from clients. 

Maintenance Expenses

Repairs and maintenance for equipment and vehicles used for your business are deductible expenses. All expenses related to maintaining vehicles and equipment, from regular maintenance to major repairs, can be deducted as a business expense. You can find more creative tax deductions here

Expenses That Landscapers Cannot Claim as Tax Deductions

While normal business expenses are deductible, there are some expenses you cannot deduct from a landscaping business, including: 

  • Fees from legal violations: You cannot deduct parking tickets, court fees, or other fees related to a legal violation. 
  • Regular commuting mileage: The mileage for commuting to work for an office away from home is not a deductible business expense. 
  • Reimbursed expenses: For example, if you charge clients for the cost of plants and seeds, it’s no longer an expense and, therefore, is not deductible.
  • Life insurance premiums: If you’re the beneficiary, you cannot deduct life insurance costs.

How to Prepare for Tax Filing and Monitor Tax Deductions for Landscapers?

To prepare tax filings and track deductions as a landscaper, consider these tips:

  • Track everything: For all business expenses, you should keep receipts and file them carefully. Tracking software or accounting apps can make this easier.
  • Create digital files: To save time preparing taxes, ask for electronic receipts for all expenses or scan physical receipts and save them into a single folder or cloud-based drive so you don’t have to search later. 
  • Start early: You can save time when preparing deductions by setting up clear accounting systems or using trusted accounting software like doola Books.  
  • Consider getting help: As a busy professional, a certified public accountant or tax professional can help you prepare taxes, double-check accounting records, and ensure correct filing. 

How to Claim Write-Offs as a Landscaper on Your Tax Return?

As a landscaping business owner or self-employed landscaper, you usually report your 1099 income on Schedule C. You can also use Schedule C to claim all business tax deductions or expenses. After subtracting business expenses from income, you will input the difference on Schedule 1 of Form 1040. Tax preparation software can help you fill out these forms automatically after you input the relevant income and expenses. 

In addition, Section 179 of the IRC allows businesses to take an immediate deduction for business expenses of depreciable assets like computers, equipment, vehicles, and software. You can also learn more about filing self-employment tax.

Maximizing Deductions for Landscapers

Becoming a landscaper or building a landscaping business can be an opportunity to connect with nature and create beauty while building a high-value business. But building a business is time-consuming, and tax preparation can be overwhelming. You need all your time to work on your business or relax and pursue other activities!

That’s why excellent tax preparation software can be so valuable. Consider doola Books to simplify bookkeeping and free up time to focus on your business goals. Or, get doola’s tax package to ensure compliance and online filings for worry-free tax filings!

Are there limits on how much I can deduct for certain expenses as a landscaper?

There are no limits on how much a landscaper can deduct as long as the expenses are common and ordinary. Your deductions must also be reasonable and necessary for the business. 

What records should I keep to support my landscaper tax deductions?

As a landscaper, you should keep all receipts and documentation of expenses. You should also keep mileage logs to track mileage for business use if you plan to take a mileage deduction. You can use accounting or tax preparation software to make tracking easier.

How do tax deductions affect my overall taxes owed as a landscaper?

Tax deductions can reduce your overall taxes owed as a landscaper by reducing total taxable income. Be sure to carefully double-check all business tax deductions, and speak to a CPA if in doubt about allowed deductions.

doola's website is for general information purposes only and doesn't provide official law or tax advice. For tax or legal advice we are happy to connect you to a professional in our network! Please see our terms and privacy policy. Thank you and please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.

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