Hi everyone! A friend of mine in the blogging community came to me for tax advice recently about doing her taxes as a blogger/influencer (shoutout to @elovesluxury). While I am not an accountant, I have dabbled in tax law and strategy professionally and have worked as a freelancer. I wanted to put together a checklist for you guys since tax season is quickly approaching. This will help guide you when you are trying to determine what expenses you can deduct on your taxes.
What expenses can I deduct on my taxes?
- Your website. All costs associating with hosting and maintaining your website should be included as an expense on your taxes.
- Software. Any software you use to edit your photos or posts.
- Stock Images. Any stock images you purchase as part of your brand.
- Advertising and Marketing. Any marketing spend or ads – this includes facebook boosts, instagram ads, etc.
- Any books or educational materials you need to purchase to further your blog or brand are deductible on your taxes.
- Any equipment you have purchased to successfully run your business. This can include your camera, laptop, or any other gear that is strictly being used for your business. If you have the means and want to purchase a separate cell phone to dedicate just to work, this would be 100% deductible on your taxes as well.
- A percentage of your phone bills. This will require you to do some match. You will have to figure out what percentage of your phone bill is strictly work/blog related and what percentage is personal. Example: If your phone bill is $100 a month and you determine that 40% of your bill should be billed to your business. This means $40 a month x 12 months = $480!
- Any unpaid invoices. Has a brand ever promised to pay you and then your invoice fell through the cracks? These unpaid invoices are tax deductible!
- Travel to events and tickets for the events. If you attend a blogger conference that costs $500, you can write this $500 off on your taxes. Additionally, you can deduct the travel cost whether that is miles or an airline ticket/accommodations. As long as your trip has a business purpose, you can deduct the cost on your taxes! Note: Keep meticulous records of your expenses and/or a mileage log if you will be writing these expenses off. You need to be able to prove that these events will make you money/are tied to your business purpose! Example 1: Your Sephora Haul on YouTube – will this make you money? No. Sure, it will get you views on YouTube but it won’t directly make you the kind of money that makes it a worthy investment and something you can write off on your taxes. Example 2: Blogger event where you will be exposed to brands and cultivate relationships that will lead to paid opportunities. Yes. You can absolutely write this off on your taxes because you are growing your business and your brand this way.
- Meals. Meals and entertainment (within reason and directly related to your business purpose are 1/2 deductible. This includes your coffee meetings or meet-ups! If you spend $20 on a lunch, $10 of that would be deductible. Make sure to keep records, receipts, details of the business purpose and everyone who was present.
I hope this is a good starting point for in understanding how to do your taxes as a freelancer. If you would like to see a more in-depth post about taxes as a freelancer, make sure to comment below!
Bonus: Here is a great in-depth list (101 deductions!) that may help some of you find additional ways to save on your taxes!