Today I am sharing space here with indie author and publisher Traci Sanders. Traci has written a fantastic new series that will help even the seasoned pro write it better. Here, in her own words, is Ms. Sanders…
Tip 358: What you can “write off” as an author
Are you an Indie author? If so, you are a contractor, whether you like it or not. Regardless which company you publish with, you will be required to answer a few basic questions to set up your tax account with them. When you sell any books, they need to know how and where to send your money.
Therefore, no matter how much (or how little) money you make on your books, you must claim it, because the publishing companies do.
The good news is, you also have tax deductions available.
Here is a list of deductions you can claim as an author:
• Office supplies
• Telephone/internet fees
• Cabs, subways, bus fares
• Book, magazines, reference material
• Agents’ commissions (if included in income)
• Film and processing – book trailer fees
• Copying – brochures, flyers for events
• Editorial fees – costs to hire professional editors
• Promotional fees – advertising materials
• Office rent – If you use a dedicated space for your writing – cannot claim for two businesses at once
• Utilities – a percentage for your writing (dedicated) space
• Memberships (professional organizations) – book club fees, writing organizations
• Messengers, private mail carriers, postage – shipping costs for giveaways, etc.
• Business insurance
• Tax preparation fees
• Travel costs – for out of town events – conferences, signings, etc.
• Business meals and entertainment
• Equipment – rentals of video/audio equipment for events
• Software – writing/editing/illustration software
• Legal and professional fees – patent lawyer, copyright lawyer
• I actually claim the books I buy and read because I consider them “study material” for my craft, especially those in my genre.
• As a public figure, for instance, when you do book signings and other events, you must have a professional appearance; therefore, you can write off your salon costs, new clothes, and even the food you serve at the event. Just be sure to keep the receipts and make notes on them.
• If you are at lunch and you pass out a business card or book to someone, write off that lunch by writing the person’s name and the book you talked about at what became your “business luncheon.”
• Treating your writing business like a professional entity will help you save money and avoid tax audits in the process, especially if you are like me and operate a separate business at the same time. The deductions must be kept separate.
Here are a couple add-ons to this tip, shared by Stephen Geez:
Research can be an important expense to track. That 250-word essay I’ll be writing about what it’s like to spend a month scuba diving in the Caymen Islands is definitely going to require some hands-on research…
Just thought of another point that used to be very useful: If you’re writing for a client, an assignment, an intended buy, or even if you eventually sell to a client, you might be surprised by how much the end-user will be willing to reimburse expenses that s/he can write off. Don’t leave that money unclaimed if a bit of assertiveness might compensate you. You could find that the combo of reimbursement and your own write-offs can cover 100% of the income.
Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies.
An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.
Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.
I’ve decided to give away two prizes during this tour:
*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Before You Publish – Volume I
*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Beyond The Book – Volume II
To enter, all you have to do is email me a proof of purchase of a digital copy of either of these two books during the tour.
I will draw TWO winners total, at the end of the tour.
Bonus: Video Tip!