Accounting for Startup Costs: How to Track Your Expenses

And, in the balance sheet, you can see that the startup projects needing $30,000 in initial cash investment, of which $21,375 is left at the end of the startup period. Founders have spent $11,500 on startup expenses. Of that, they owe $2,875 in accounts payable.

Assume the same facts, but she incurred $23,000 of start-up costs. She can claim $5,000 off the top as a current deduction. The remaining $18,000 must be amortized over the 180-month period, which is a monthly amount of $100.

Amortization of startup costs occurs over a 180-month period. Only specific business startup expenses can go into each category. Have your accountant divide your startup costs into the correct tax category. DateAccountNotesDebitCreditXX/XX/XXXXStartup ExpensesPayments for startup costs50,000Cash50,000It is important to document your startup costs well. You need accurate records because taxes for startup costs are more complicated than accounting for them.

The same defining point affects assets as well. For example, amounts in inventory purchased before launch and available at launch are included in starting assets. Inventory purchased after launch will affect cash flow, and the balance sheet; but isn’t considered part of the starting costs. Cash requirements is an estimate of how much money your startup company needs to have in its checking account when it starts. In general, your cash balance on the starting date is the money you raised as investments or loans minus the cash you spend on expenses and assets.

And if your startup costs are more than $55,000, the deduction is completely eliminated. If you started a business last year and incurred some expenses before you officially opened your doors, you may be entitled to deduct certain startup and organizational costs on your tax return this year. But, the IRS has strict guidelines you must follow to claim them.

She figures the amortization on $51,000 ($53,000 – $2,000.) Her monthly amortization amount is $283 ($51,000/180), so her first year amortization deduction is $850. Her total start-up expense deduction for the first year is only $2,850.

setting up costs

But being realistic about estimating your business startup costs—and how much money you may need to borrow right away—will go a long way toward getting your company up and running. If your business provides a service, inventory startup costs might not apply to you.

The total startup costs in this example are $124,650, the sum of expenses ($3,150) and assets ($121,500) required before lunch. The funding plan, on the right, shows that the owner plans to invest $25,000 of her own money and $99,650 in loans. The loans include a $70,000 long-term loan and other loans including a commercial credit of $17,650, a $2,000 note, and other current debt (probably credit card debt) of $10,000.


It can be convenient to establish the fiscal year as starting the same month that the business launches. In this case, the startup costs and startup funding match the fiscal year—and they happen in the time before the launch and beginning of the first operational fiscal year. The pre-launch transactions are reported as a separate tax year, even if they occur in just a few months, or even one month.


But if you’re in the retail, wholesale, manufacturing, or distribution sector, chances are high that you’re in need of inventory to sell—STAT. While every type of business has its own financing needs, experts have some tips to help you figure out how much cash you’ll require.

It’s important to differentiate these types of costs to properly manage your business’s cash flow for the short and long term, said Eyal Shinar, CEO ofFundbox, a cash flow management company. Here are a few types of costs for new business owners to consider. To calculate cash, you’ll first need to find all the non-cash items on the sheet, such as short-term investments, supplies, and inventory. Add up the value of those assets and subtract them from the total current assets. This will give you the company’s current cash balance.

Common current asset accounts include cash, marketable securities (such as stocks, bonds, etc.), accounts receivable, supplies, inventory, and prepaid expenses (such as prepaid insurance, prepaid rent, etc.). There are many other IRS rules that need to be taken into consideration on the tax treatment of start-up and organizational costs.

Examples of Setup Costs

  • Starting a small business doesn’t have to require a lot of money, but it will involve some initial investment as well as the ability to cover ongoing expenses before you are turning a profit.

How is set up cost calculated?

In manufacturing, setup cost is the cost incurred to get equipment ready to process a different batch of goods. Hence, setup cost is regarded as a batch-level cost in activity based costing. Setup cost is considered to be a non-value-added cost that should be minimized.

As one of the core business functions supporting nearly every kind of individual and corporation, accounting services are highly in demand – and clients are willing to pay. With services that encompass business outsourcing, personal financial planning, bookkeeping, and tax preparation, this dynamic field offers significant potential. There are next to no overhead start-up costs for professionals outside of office space, software, minimal manpower, and electronics. The IRS allows you to deduct $5,000 in business startup costs and $5,000 in organizational costs, but only if your total startup costs are $50,000 or less. If your startup costs for either area exceed $50,000, the amount of your allowable deduction will be reduced by that dollar amount.


Non-tangible assets will have a value in the general ledger to establish cost. For example, if legal and filing fees for patents totaled $50,000, that is the cost that will appear on the company ledger and on the balance sheet. Current assets are assets that can turn into cash within one year of the balance sheet date. They are listed in order of relative liquidity, in other words how easily they could be converted into cash.

Finally, calculate the owner’s equity by adding the contributed capital to retained earnings. If you do not expect to make a profit in the first year you are in business, you should consider amortizing the full amount of start-up and organizational costs over 15 years. This will allow you to minimize taxes in years where you make more money. For example, if your start-up costs are $30,000, you could deduct $2,000 per year for 15 years instead of taking the $5,000 deduction in year one. TheSBA statesthat there are various types of expenses to consider when starting your business.

In the first year you are in business, you can deduct Up to $5,000 in start-up costs provided you’ve spent $50,000 or less This deduction must be made in the first year you are actively in business. The balance over $5,000 must be capitalized and amortized over the applicable number of years. Assume the same facts, but she incurred $53,000 of start-up costs. Because the expenses exceed $50,000, she must reduce the initial year deduction by $1 for every $1 over $50,000. Thus, the $5,000 amount is reduced to $2,000.

EntrepreneurDrew Gerber, who started a technology company, a publicity firm and a financial planning company, estimates that an entrepreneur will need six months’ worth of fixed costs on hand at startup. You can make a startup costs deduction in the tax year your business begins operations. Depending on the category, there might be an election to amortize startup costs. Amortization refers to distributing the deduction over time instead of deducting the full startup costs at once.

To make a balance sheet for accounting, start by creating a header with the name of the organization and the effective date. Then, list all current assets in order of how easily they can be converted to cash, and calculate the total. Next, list all of your short-term and long-term liabilities and total them as well.

So the last month of the pre-launch period is also the last month of the fiscal year. business budget is one of the most stressful parts of entrepreneurship, we know.

Starting a small business doesn’t have to require a lot of money, but it will involve some initial investment as well as the ability to cover ongoing expenses before you are turning a profit. Since the IRS separates startup costs and organizational costs, you can also take a deduction up to $5,000 for organizational expenses (up to $50,000). These costs must be incurred before the end of the first tax year your company is in business. The same IRS rules apply to organizational expenses between $50,000 and $55,000, as well as over $55,000. Starting a new business venture can be exciting.

Whether you are forming your first company or expanding into a new area, it is important to properly account for start-up and organizational costs. The rules concerning these costs are different for income tax purposes and for financial reporting under US GAAP.

The professionals at LaPorte work on a substantial number of initial year returns annually where we analyze how start-up and organizational costs need to be treated for income tax purposes. For additional information, contact a member of the LaPorte Tax Services Group.

So remaining cash is the result of starting with $30,000 and spending $8,625 so far. Generally, companies want to maximize deductions against income as expenses, not assets, because this minimizes the tax burden. With that in mind, seasoned business owners and accountants will always want to account for money spent on development as expenses, not assets.