Tax Tips For Authors

If you are pursuing a career as an author and it is not a hobby, then you can write certain expenses off your taxes.

Basic Office Supplies: Pencils, pens, printer paper, ink, notebooks, paper clips, staples, etc… Do not write off your kid’s schools supplies.

Office Equipment: Laptop, computer, printer, fax machine, flash-drive.

Postage: Stamps, shipping, shipping supplies.

Research: Magazines, books, dictionaries, thesaurus, trade subscriptions.

Production: Software, music, book trailers, graphics, illustrations.

Subscription: This should be a biggie! All those books you are buying from other authors, Amazon, and bookstores are write-offs. Reading books is directly related to whether or not you will be successful. (And profitable.)

Phone Line: Whatever phone is your “Author Line.” For most authors, it is their cell phone. (Not your spouse’s cell phone.)

Internet: Includes anything you spend on websites, web marketing, online advertising and promotions, web hosting, blogs, monthly fees.

Mileage: Keep a round-trip log of when you drive to meetings that are directly related to your career. This includes when you see your publisher, agent, manager, speaking engagements, book signings, and all promotional events.

Utilities: You will need the square footage of the house or apartment you live in and the amount of space dedicated to your work. Save all heating/electric bills. A percentage will be written off.

Rent/Mortgage: Same as utilities, you will need the square footage of where you live and office space. A percentage will be written off.

Upkeep: Lawn service if you work at home, paint your office, install new bookshelves, light fixtures, etc…

Health Insurance: If you are a full-time writer, then probably you are paying for your own health insurance. Keep a record of all doctor visits. Your pharmacist will print out what you paid in prescriptions for the year, which makes it easy. Keep a round trip mileage record to the doctor’s office, separate from your author’s log.

Advertising: Ad in the paper, billboard, Internet promotions, or signs that you stick on your front lawn.

Meal Expense: Be careful with this one. Only use if the meal was necessary, in conjunction with your traveling to an event or meeting. If you were going to eat anyway, then it does not count. If you buy your agent lunch, it is a write-off. (Although, your agent should be buying you lunch!)

Gifts to Charities: Monetary donations, books that you donated to libraries, schools, events, charitable organizations. Good example is a gift basket.

Education: Any classes you take on writing, PR, marketing, bookkeeping, etc…

Publishing Charges: Anything you pay a publisher, agent, marketing agency, or book manufacturer.

Business Attire: The outfit you purchased for your award ceremony, new clothes for events, interviews, or photo shoots.

Always check with your accountant or tax advisor for more advice.

Here is something else to think about. You have three years to make money as an author. After that, the IRS will look at your career as a hobby. It should motivate you to sell those books!

Ron Knight

Need more advice? Check out Untraditional Publishing.




Ron Knight

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