How Your E-Commerce Store Can Maximize its Cost of Goods Sold Deduction

How Your E-Commerce Store Can Maximize its Cost of Goods Sold Deduction

As an e-commerce business owner, it’s essential to understand the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) deduction and how it can impact your tax liability and overall profitability. By knowing how to calculate and claim this deduction correctly, you can save money on your taxes and improve your bottom line. In this blog post, we’ll explore what the COGS deduction is, how to calculate it, and how to claim it on your tax return, as well as some tips for maximizing your deduction.


What is the COGS Deduction?

The COGS deduction is the direct cost of producing the goods you sell, including the cost of materials and direct labor needed to create your products, as well as any other direct expenses related to their production. COGS does not include indirect expenses such as marketing, rent, or salaries for non-production employees.


There are four methods you can utilize to account for inventory: First-in-First-Out (FIFIO); Last-in-First-Out (LIFO); Weighted Average Cost; and Specific Identification. The method you choose will have a significant impact on your COGS deduction, and overall tax liability. Each of these methods may drive a decrease in tax, an increase in tax, or a neutral tax outcome, depending on if costs are rising, falling, or staying flat.



How to Calculate and Claim the COGS Deduction

To calculate COGS for your business, you’ll need to track the cost of materials and labor for each product you sell. This can be a complex task, especially if you have a large inventory or produce a wide variety of products. However, it’s essential to get this right because COGS is used to determine your gross profit, which is a key metric for measuring the performance of your business – and it will directly impact your overall profitability and tax liability.


As a sole proprietorship or single-member LLC, the COGS deduction is claimed on Schedule C (Form 1040) of your tax return with your other business income and expenses. On Schedule C, you’ll enter your total COGS for the year in the “Cost of Goods Sold” section. If you have a partnership, S Corporation, or C Corporation, the COGS deduction would be claimed on the applicable business tax return, separated out from other deductions, and with an accompanying separate schedule detailing their calculation (Form 1125-A).


It’s important to keep accurate records of your COGS via timely and thorough bookkeeping throughout the year to accurately claim this deduction on your tax return. This may include invoices, receipts, and other documentation for the materials and labor you’ve used to produce your products. And periodic inventory counts would be needed to confirm exactly how much inventory is on hand versus went out the door.



Tips for Maximizing Your COGS Deduction

Here are two key ways you can maximize your COGS deduction and save money on your taxes:


  1. Keep accurate records: Timely and thorough bookkeeping will make it easier to claim the deduction on your tax return and ensure that you don’t overpay on taxes.
  2. Choose the right inventory method: First-in-First-Out (FIFIO); Last-in-First-Out (LIFO); Weighted Average Cost; and Specific Identification are the four choices. Choose wisely and it will drive down your tax bill. For example, FIFO in a period of falling costs will yield a tax benefit, while LIFO in a period of rising costs will save you in taxes.


Maximizing your COGS deduction is an important way to save money on your taxes and improve your bottom line as an e-commerce business. By understanding how to calculate and claim this deduction, and implementing strategies to maximize your COGS from a tax perspective, you can make your business more profitable and sustainable. Make sure to consult with a tax