So when you’re blogging and are rockin’ the online entrepreneurial world, you might find it difficult to get a list of blogger tax deductions that seem super applicable to you.
I get it.
I had a similar experience when I ran 2 creative businesses (which was prior to the online boom of these last few years).
And I’ve been witness to this particular online business frustration as I’ve worked with entrepreneurs running their online businesses.
Your business is structured differently than most people working in more traditional office settings.
And that structure changes what you do on a daily basis, which influences how you make your money. Which also influences where you spend your money to make your money.
One of the key differences in online business tax deductions are expenses that affect anything visual your customer sees.
Well, we’ve all heard the saying that image is everything.
And while we all know that image doesn’t even scratch the surface of who we are in real life, when your whole business is on the web, what you present is what you’re selling.
Now, one of the other things that often happens when you look at lists for blogger tax deductions is that…
You’re reading a list compiled by a blogger who doesn’t know about tax law (or business accounting) share their personal experience.
Which, hey, is awesome – I love reading about people’s experiences!
But… it’s not based on legal and financial knowledge or experience. At best, the blogger’s article is based on the level of expertise the tax filer they selected to file their business taxes has on blogging (which often is not a lot).
So what’s different about my list?
I’ve done the accounting and bookkeeping for dozens of bloggers and digital influencers since 2012, and I’ve spoken to hundreds of bloggers about their finances and answered just as many questions at half a dozen mega blog conferences.
So, when I say I REALLY understand the ins and outs of what the blogging business requires, I mean it!
This is crucial because so much of what qualifies for a tax deduction is based on how a business actually makes money… And because the blogging business is not generally well understood by those outside of blogging (ahem, accountants and tax lawyers) you sometimes get bad advice about what can and can’t qualify as a deduction.
The other thing is, many of the deductions I’m going to list are a bit controversial because they are 100% legal IF you follow the rules… But, inevitably, many people don’t follow the rules. 🙁
Because clients don’t always listen, many professional accountants, bookkeepers and tax lawyers that *do* understand the ins and outs of blogging and making money, may choose to *not* tell you about some of the deductions on the list below. This is likely because it’s more work for them – and they figure it’s unlikely you’ll follow the rules and keep the records you need.
Let me be clear, I’m not sharing this to rip on other professionals. I’m trying to share why there’s so much confusion, and bad/controversial advice out there when it comes to blogger tax deductions.
I personally, have definitely been in positions where I wished I hadn’t told someone about possible tax deductions and what they could do in their business. This has happened a few times when someone (apparently) half listened to our conversation and didn’t follow the steps I’d outlined, but come tax season, they want that tax deduction in their reports! And, because of the lack of documentation or the way they made money or how they paid for certain expenses, whatever it is they want to deduct is flat-out legally not deductible. At that point, no one’s happy.
Personally, I think the choice of what you deduct should be yours.
Especially when it will mean hundreds and easily thousands of dollars of difference every single year you operate your blog.
Thought so! 🙂
So without further ado, I give you,
The Ultimate List of Blogger Tax Deductions:
- Your blog theme and purchased plug-ins
- Your hosting (such as BlueHost)
- Your domain
- Any web design services or maintenance
- Professional photography*
- Professional videography*
- Professional conferences and workshops admission (local or far)
- Lodging, transportation & travel costs to professional events*
- Professional styling*
- Graphic design
- Purchased fonts and stock photography
- Professional dues & subscriptions
- Editing of photos and/or videography*
- Content writers / collaborators
- Virtual assistants
- Staff (both employees and 1099 subcontractors)
- Payroll processing (need a recommendation? try Gusto – more here)
- Professional e-courses that will elevate your skills for running & creating in your business
- Materials for shoots (job materials)*
- Commissions paid out
- Business gifts
- Auto expenses* (many possibilities on how to take and what to include)
- Parking for events and business related activities
- Ads on sites such as other blogs, yelp, Facebook, google AdWords, etc.
- Equipment (perhaps lighting, camera, a professional boom, etc.)*
- Meals & entertainment*
- Office supplies
- Paypal fees
- Merchant processing fees
- Tax prep and filing (bookkeeper, accountant, and software like TurboTax)
- Office rental (or co-work space)
- Location rental*
- Legal fees (either to a professional or for legal templates like these)
- Home office*
- Home office utilities*
- Postage & delivery
- Private mailbox fees
- Business coaching and consulting
- Office furniture
- Bookkeeping software (such as QuickBooks Online or FreshBooks)
Now that’s a pretty darn exhaustive list, huh!?
Now about all the asterisks…
You may notice that quite a few of the blogger tax deductions in the list above have an asterisk. I marked these specially because these are often the tax deductions that are not mentioned (or you’re told “no” about).
As mentioned earlier in this post, it’s for good reasons – because while they can be legit business expenses, getting to write them off depends on more than simply deciding to write them off. :/
For all items with an asterisk in this list, several possible things are in play.
Basically, you need to do one or all of the following:
- Understand the tax law around them (generally this has to do with how exactly you’re making money and how the expense relates to the money you’re making so that you can communicate this to your tax filer, confidently file this yourself, or simply know that what you’re doing is 100% above board *and* financially amazing for you)
- Need to be making money directly in a way that relates to the expense. For instance, a lot of people are told they cannot deduct clothing. Depending on how you make your money and if you’re willing to play by the rules, that are definitely instances were you can write off clothing worn in photoshoots, etc. Same goes for food, products, etc. If the is you and you want to understand all the ins and outs of this, please join me in Blogger Money Course: A Course About Money for Bloggers & Digital Influencers where I am able to address all the complexities of this – and help you with your particular circumstance.
- Know the distinctions have to be made for them to count as a blogger tax deduction (and not a personal expense)
- Keep specific records
Hopefully this is a great starting point and gives you some ideas as to what you should and can be writing off. That’s my intention!
If you’d like help with figuring out what blogger tax deductions count for you (+ how to legally deduct them and possibly save thousands EVERY year) meet me in Blogger Money Course: A Course About Money for Bloggers & Digital Influencers!
I know how confusing and unsatisfying it can be to not get a complete financial picture, so if you’re running an online business, Blogger Money Course was made for you – we’ll help you figure out everything you need to know about maximizing tax deductions for your specific blog and online business!
So Over To You:
Anything surprising in this list? What’s been your experience with blogger tax deductions? Share below!