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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

It's the Holidays, So Give Yourself a Self-Storage Treat... in a Tax Write-Off Kind of Way

By Teri Lanza Comments
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During the winter holiday season, it's always tempting to treat yourself to a little something. Maybe it's because you're already spending a bunch of money on everyone else, or because it's a time of year that tends to incite self-indulgence, or because that online sale at XYZ Merchant was just too good to pass up ... and you had a promo code! Maybe it's because you went so far as to chip that emergency credit card out of the block of ice in the freezer, and you want to maximize your moment of weakness. (Yes, I actually knew a woman who did this.)

This year, kick the guilt to the curb (if there is any) and treat yourself to a gift that will not only enrich your profession but help your business. And it's a tax write-off! What could be better than that? It's like getting socks for Christmas ... You don't really want them, but you'll concede that they're useful. And even nice and toasty.

For self-storage operators, there are a few new products on the market that are educational and available at a great price. Buy one for yourself, a co-worker or an employee. They're all tax-deductible because they qualify as work-related training expenses.

According to a small-business article on Chron.com, the website of the Houston Chronicle, training costs and materials are tax deductible if they meet the criteria defined by the Internal Revenue Service. "Publication 970 states that employees can deduct training costs if the workshops, seminars or courses allow individuals to improve and develop their job-related skills, especially if the employees require the training to remain in their roles. Similarly, the IRS allows self-employed workers to deduct some training costs, including transportation to and from course locations."

So what are these perfect gifts? First, the Inside Self-Storage World Expo officially opened event registration on its website last week, and the ISS Education Package, which provides access to more than 40 seminars, is available at an early-bird price for a limited time. You can also choose from four in-depth training workshops focusing on day-to-day facility management, ownership, marketing and legal issues.

In addition, the Inside Self-Storage Store is now offering several DVD packages for facility managers and owners:

  • The comprehensive “Self-Storage Operations 10-DVD Super Pack” addresses customer service, auctions, collections, marketing, sales, legal issues, technology, staffing and more. It's perfect for facility owners or multi-site managers.
  • The “Self-Storage Marketing DVD 3-Pack” includes seminars on marketing strategies, revenue enhancement and social media.
  • The “Self-Storage Sales and Service DVD 3-Pack” addresses customer service, sales and collections.
  • The “Self-Storage Legal DVD 3-Pack” includes specialized videos featuring industry attorney Jeffrey Greenberger and provides info that can help you avoid business litigation and liability.

If you visit the store, make sure you check out the online manager-training courses, too. And all of those lovely DVDs mentioned above? They come available in an on-demand format as well, so if you don't want to wait for DVDs to arrive, you can buy the digital video and watch them immediately from any computer or mobile device.

OK, these may not be as thrilling as a flat-screen TV or an iPhone 5, but they will make you a better facility operator in 2013. That will help you make more money so you can buy those things down the road! And there's certainly something to be said for the tax benefits. Keep in mind, however, that there are requirements to be met in order for an education expense to be deductible, so be sure to check IRS.gov for details. According to the Chron.com article referenced above:

Tax-deductible training courses must allow an employee to sustain or develop in his current job, which includes learning about new technology, getting updates on new regulations or developing professional skills such as time management, decision making, communication and negotiation. If these courses prepare an employee to transition to a new career or role, the costs cannot be deducted since the work-related training must only pertain to the current job. Training costs incurred during a gap in employment can be deducted if they allow the employee to maintain skills related to returning to the same job.

And the dollar value of the training costs plus other job expenses cannot be greater than 2 percent of an employee's adjusted gross income.

Go on ... Get yourself a little something for the holidays. An investment in edification should be guilt-free.

Have some other gift suggestions for the self-storage professional in your life? Share them here!

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