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Startup expenses are expenses paid BEFORE the business started - these are capitalized and you will be able to deduct ONLY after the business started.
If the business is not started yet - nothing is deductible.
It doesn't matter when you applied or received EIN for that purposes.
However - you can elect to deduct up to $5,000 of business start-up and $5,000 of organizational costs in the year the business started. The rest must be amortized.
So - it is VERY critical to determine WHEN the business started.
Start-up costs include any amounts paid or incurred in connection with creating an active trade or business or investigating the creation or acquisition of an active trade or business. Organizational costs include the costs of creating a corporation.
Under IRS regulations - the business is considered as started if you have goods or services for sale.That is very critical point.Generally - if you already had sale activities and some revenue - the IRS accepts that as your business has been started.
Please see more details in the IRS publication 334 -
To differ start-up cost and operational expenses you need to know when the business actually started. The first sale transaction is would be a good indication that the business started. But it is not the only indication. If you have a manufacture business - it is started when the manufacture process is started.
Does that answer your question?