I am working full time for a corporation in NYC (I have w2). I also own my own side Educational LLC (EdTech) which has claimed $0.00 in income for 2018, but has accrued several thousand in startup expenses to get it off the ground.

TurboTax has a "Self-Employed" designation on its site while filing taxes. Using this, I've tripled my tax refund on "Self-Employed" business expenses.

They are indeed my LLC's business expenses, but not sure if I can still claim them if I'm not working full time on my LLC, and if the LLC has made $0.00.

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    You say you "tripled my tax return", but I don't think that is what you care about. Having 3 times as much tax paperwork is usually considered negative. Check whether perhaps you meant "tax refund" and not "return".
    – Ben Voigt
    Apr 11, 2019 at 18:04
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    It will come down to whether your side LLC is a real business. The test is complex, but the general idea is this -- it's a real business if you have a reasonable expectation of making an actual profit in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise, it's a hobby. Apr 12, 2019 at 17:09

1 Answer 1


I am not an accountant or tax prep person. You should ask your accountant to verify.

Yes, you can claim any verifiable expenses and end up with a loss. Schedule C instructions for Line 31 (page C-13) notes

Figuring your net profit or loss. If your expenses (including the expenses you report on line 30) are more than your gross income, do not enter your loss on line 31 until you have applied the at-risk rules and the passive activity loss rules. To apply these rules, follow the instructions in Line 32 and the Instructions for Form 8582. After applying those rules, the amount on line 31 will be your loss, and it may be smaller than the amount you figured by subtracting line 30 from line 29.

The caution further down notes

If you enter a loss on line 31, you may have an excess business loss. Use Form 461 to figure your excess business loss.

Follow all those instructions, and you should be good. I would not try to go for business use of home or other potentially questionable expenses. Personally, I'd only include what I had verified receipts and documentation (e.g., business use of vehicle) that can be easily proven.

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