Even with income as little as $1,000, for example, you can still deduct expenses like mileage or other travel costs, cell phone use and your home office to offset what your business brings in, Steffen said.
If you don’t have any expenses, make a tax-deductible contribution to a Simplified Employee Pension account, or SEP IRA, Steffen advised. Those who are self-employed can contribute up to 25% of their net earnings or a maximum contribution of up to $56,000 in 2019.
In addition, one of the new perks of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the introduction of the qualified business income deduction, which went into effect last year. Anyone who files Schedule C for profit or loss from a business might qualify.
This tax break allows owners of “pass-through” entities, including sole proprietorships, S-corporations and partnerships, to deduct up to 20% of their qualified business income (although figuring out exactly who qualifies has been thorny).