By Heather Moore
Do you have to be published to deduct writing expenses from your taxes? Yes. And you have to be receiving some type of payment for your work.
But if you aren’t published, you still need to keep track of your expenses. Once you receive that first magazine article payment or royalty check, you can claim “operating at a loss” for previous years of writing expenses. For more details ask your tax consultant.
What type of expenses count as writing expenses?
1. Purchase of any books. You're a writer and everything you read is educational. Keep track of the receipts for any books you purchase and jot down the mileage to and from that store.
2. Mileage in pursuit of writing or promoting. Keep track of your trips to the library, book signings, critique group, writer’s conferences, post office, copy store, etc.
3. Meals fall under a unique category. If you eat while on the road, going about your writing business, you can only claim 50% of the bill as an expense.
4. Business use of your home. In a nutshell, you divide the square footage of your office by the total square footage of your home, and you come up with a percentage. Then you take all of your utility bills and times them by this percentage. The amount becomes what you can claim a deduction.
5. Writing equipment and supplies. Keep receipts for purchases such as paper, ink, pens, computer, printer, website hosting fees, and promotional materials.
Every cent adds up when the final tally is totaled. If you are methodical, you’ll be surprised that often you are able to expense more than what you are making. Taxes for your writing career will be a nice zero.