How to Amortize the Start-up Costs in 2024?

Top Tips for Amortization of Startup Costs in 2024

Startup costs are rarely ever a one-off payment and must be amortized over time.

Amortization is a financial concept referring to the gradual writing down or reduction over a set period of time of a sum until it is zero.

In the context of startups, it specifically relates to the spread of the burden of initial costs. These costs might include software purchase, asset procurement, or product development.

The main purpose of this process is to balance the income with the startup's early expenses. And with IRS rules providing some tax benefits for these amortized expenses, it's important for startups to consider this approach.

In this article, we will delve into the ways you can amortize your startup costs in 2024 to ensure maximum financial well-being. 

Must-read: How To Categorize Expenses: 4 Tips For SaaS Startups

What Is Amortization?

Amortization is the process of gradually reducing a cost or amount over a specified timeframe, such as the duration of a loan.

For instance, if a startup invests $20,000 in new software that is set to last over five years.

The company would spread out this cost through amortisation, recognizing $4,000 each year as an expense instead of the full $20,000 in the initial year.

This allows the company to distribute the negative financial impact over a stretch of time and better manage cash flow concerns.

Steps To Amortize Startup Costs

In this section, we will walk through the process of amortizing startup costs, i.e., determining the costs, establishing a time frame, calculating annual amortization, and recording your expenses. 

Determining the Costs

The first step in amortizing startup costs is identifying expenses that can be amortized.

In a startup context, you can amortize costs associated with setting up your business, including buying assets, like software or equipment, development costs, or even legal fees.

However, some expenses cannot constitute deductible expenses and thus cannot be amortized; an example is cash reserves or promotional costs that were incurred before the business’s opening.

Pro tip: Create a comprehensive list of all your startup costs. Categorizing these as either amortizable or non-amortizable will make the actual process much easier and more accurate. Or invest in bookkeeping accounting software to simplify financial processes and maintain accurate financial records. This can streamline the method of tracking amortization costs. 

Identify the Amortization Period

If you launched your business after September 8, 2008, you can deduct certain startup costs in your first business year.

The rest must be capitalized and written off over a 15-year period for tax purposes.

Amortization commences the month you begin operating. So, for instance, if you incurred $30,000 in startup costs in 2023 and opened in November 2024, you could only start amortizing these expenses from November 2024, not earlier.

For example: If you decided to deduct $5,000 in your initial business year, the remaining $25,000 should be amortized over the following 15 years at an annual rate of around $1,666.67. 

Calculating Annual Amortization

Per the IRS, $5000 is the allowable deductible expense for startups in their first year of operation. The rest can be spread over 180 months (15 years). Subsequently, the calculation for annual amortization becomes straightforward. Subtract the deductible of $5,000 from your total start-up costs, then divide the balance by 180 to get your monthly amortization cost. Hence, to calculate your annual amortization expense, you simply need to multiply the monthly figure by 12. Consistently recording this each financial year goes a long way in managing your expenses.

Related reading: Tax Form 1120 - What It Is? Your Complete Guide

Document Amortization Entries

Last but not least is tracking your expenses. 

Record all amortization entries in your financial books and incorporate them into your regular financial statements. 

Report these entries in your profit and loss accounts for tax levy purposes. While doing this, ensure your reports are detailed with exact dates—buff up date accuracy for probable IRS audit situations wherein such specifics could make a difference.

For example, a SaaS company investing heavily in its cloud infrastructure during the startup phase could better manage its cash flow by spreading this lump sum over several years. 

This method allows depreciation for these software assets to align honestly with their lifespan, resulting in a more accurate reflection of their financial situation. 

This precise and prudent manner of bookkeeping often leads to fiscal sustainability, provides a financial cushion under unforeseen circumstances, and lets the business further invest in its growth strategy.

 In essence, amortization accommodates the financial ebb and flow.

Tax and Audit Implications

Ensuring proper compliance can help avoid issues during a financial audit.

  • Accounting standards: U.S. firms adhere to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) governing the amortization and depreciation of capital assets. However, the accounting treatment of startup costs may vary from their tax implications.
  • Eligibility for deductions or amortization tax benefits: The IRS permits an immediate deduction of $5,000 in your startup's first year. The rest needs to be spread over a 15-year period. Ensure you have a firm understanding of what constitutes a start-up cost.
  • IRS audits: Maintain detailed records of your startup expenses, classified carefully between amortizable and non-amortizable ends. Solid, transparent accounting records can help ease the audit process, reducing the potential for discrepancies and misinterpretations.


Amortization of start up costs is akin to sowing the seeds today for your company's robust financial health in the future.

Sound amortization strategies can provide a business with solid financial foundations as the pressure of front-line costs is alleviated. 

With accounting software like Inkle Books, this process can be made more comfortable and efficient, allowing for smooth tracking and management of expenses over time.

TLDR: take proactive steps, accurately classify your expenditures, incorporate software like Inkle Books, and maintain thorough documentation from the outset. In doing so, your start-up won't just survive—it will flourish. 

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