I've recently started working on a couple of software projects that I hope will generate income in 2014. I eventually want to form an LLC, but I'll probably end up doing that closer to completion since it's so expensive. Because my old laptop just wasn't up to snuff for development work anymore, I decided to purchase a new laptop a few weeks ago. Now I'm wondering if it's possible to write some of that cost off as a business expense, even though I haven't sold anything or incorporated yet.
I wish I could avoid worrying about this. However, the new laptop was expensive by necessity, and even though it makes my work significantly easier, I'd consider returning it and making do with my old one for a while if it could save me a thousand bucks.
Your best bet would to register yourself as a sole proprietor by the end of the year. Its easy, cheap and quick. You can upgrade that to an LLC pretty easily down the road.
By doing this you are a business in the eyes of the IRS whether you make money or not this year. While you may be able to write off expenses without doing this its always a good idea to get your ducks in a row. You can also write off electricity and rent expenses (if you use 1 room of your place as office you can write off a fraction of rent for that room - not the whole amount of rent).
Naturally - you should speak to an accountant at some point to make sure what Ive mentioned above is OK in your state. I am not an accountant.