Five Tax Tips Most Writers Miss

I’m a strange breed of writer. A Missouri mutt if you will.

One part relational, warm and fuzzy with a passion for flowery phrases. One part practical business woman with multi-layered experience in payroll, accounting, banking, marketing, human resources and taxes.

My poor agent must wonder what to do with this mixed mess. Sorry Barb.

However, there are benefits to my schizophrenic passion mix. I not only know writing is a business, but I understand the business in writing. My emotional side wants to please God, so I’ll overturn any stone to steward the gifts He gave me.

My varied interests drive me to dig through my diverse background for hints, tips, and answers to support my love for words and their meanings. And I like to share what I learn.

For this post, I took something I know and hope the resource helps my writer friends. Whether writing is your childhood dream or an adult job — it’s still business. And you’re the owner.

April 15th is around the corner, so let’s make sure all you business owners are getting your full tax benefits. We must give Caesar what is Caesar’s, but not a penny more.

Here are the five tax deductions most often missed by writers I speak with:

1. Mileage. Keep a detailed log. All trips you take to buy supplies (including bookstores to buy books), go to meetings or meals where you discuss the craft, projects, or marketing are usually deductible. And don’t forget those trips to the post office.

2. Telephone and Internet charges. You’ll need to calculate your percentage for business use.

3. Subscriptions and dues. Magazines count for research (do we read anything without evaluating the writing?). Writing organizations, clubs, or anything else related that charges dues and fees count.

4. Travel, including rentals, parking and toll fees. Don’t forget your mileage to and from airports.

5. Extraordinary entertainment, but you must support your claim with good documentation. Examples are movies you study, amusement parks, if you observe behaviors, capture quotes, or watch a process relevant to something you write. Music and other artistic forms you study or use for creative inspiration. What entertains you while feeding the muse?

Most writers don’t make a lot of money, so a penny saved is a penny we need to earn.

Tax laws change often — don’t fail to get current data. This article has good general information, but see your own professional tax preparer for an in-depth evaluation of your situation. If you want to research on your own, go to the IRS for specific guidelines.

My mixed interests help me support the dream I love by making sure I take all the legal tax deductions I’m entitled to. A Missouri mutt needs to eat, too.

Do you have more tips you could share? What other savers can make writers money? Do you consider yourself a business owner?

Tax tips for writers by Missouri mutt
My Missouri Mutt - "Boss"
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