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In order to claim the amount you pay to the referred people- you will have to issue them a prepaid card (so that you have no control on this amount and not own it). You cannot retain incidence of ownership and claim this as an expense.
Let me know if you have any question.
Please note: This advice is provided with the understanding that all the relevant facts have been provided by you. Any change in facts might affect the advice given and hence may not be relied on in such cases. Nothing contained in this reply was intended or written to be used, can be used by any taxpayer, or may be relied upon or used by any taxpayer for the purposes of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
You can write off the expense as a referral fee or commission if you pay it to them before the end of the year. This is presuming that you are a cash basis tax payer.
You may want to look into some other deductions such as setting up a self employed 401K account and contributing to the retirement plan and reduce your income, paying most of your expenses before the year end, deferring some income to the next year if that is possible. This would help you in reducing your tax liability.
You can also buy the assets that you may need for your business and claim depreciation and/or section 179 expense and thereby reduce your income.