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With less than two-weeks until the tax filing deadline of April 17th, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) offers seven last-minute tips for the self-employed and micro-businesses for filing accurate returns and reducing tax liability.

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Keith Hall

"As you prepare to file your 2017 tax returns, think about hidden deductions and updates to the tax code that might help you," said Keith Hall, president and CEO of NASE. "Remember that while tax reform policies passed late last year don't apply to your 2017 return, now is the time to start planning to ensure the new tax system works for you in 2018. The new tax system is based on boosting the country's economic engine and reinvesting savings directly back into your small business, like hiring an additional employee, purchasing new equipment or expanding your operations."

The seven things you need to know right now as you prepare to file your 2017 taxes:

» 2017 tax reform policies: They do not apply to your 2017 return; but now is the time to start planning on how to make the new tax system work for you in 2018.

» Home office deduction: In its fifth year, small business owners who work from their home can now claim a streamlined, standardized home-office deduction rather than completing a complicated and cumbersome 43-line IRS form. By simply checking the box on your federal tax returns, you can easily save money by choosing the standard home-office deduction of up to $1,500 for the business use of your home.

» Mileage rate: If you use your automobile for business, you also can deduct a standard mileage rate on your return. The reimbursement rate is 53.5 cents for 2017.

» Retirement contributions: Limits for retirement contributions have also changed for most Americans. SEPs, IRAs and 401k plans, all allow you to contribute to your own future and take a tax deduction on your 2017 tax return.

» Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs): Small businesses that offer HRAs can do so without the threat of penalty.

» Submit your return electronically: By filing your return electronically, you can avoid making errors.

And if you're still not ready ...

» File an extension: There is always a last-minute extension you can file with the IRS if you can't make April 17th.

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