It happens to butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. It probably happens in your business, too: A customer doesn’t pay what they owe and you end up with a bad debt. Can you take a tax deduction?
The answer depends on how you account for income on your tax return. If you included the amount due from the customer in income this year or in previous years, it’s likely you have a bad debt deduction. You can claim all or part of the worthless receivable.
What if you record income as you collect the cash? In this case, since you don’t receive the amount your customer owes you, and since you never reported it as income, there’s no deduction.
Suppose you lend money to a customer for a business reason and the loan becomes uncollectible. Is the loan considered a deductible bad debt?