Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.
Tax day comes three days late this year, which means you’ve got a couple extra days to remember all the deductions you can take as a writer.
What is a tax deduction? It’s when you deduce a convincing way to justify classifying your purchases the stuff you bought as writing expenses. Doing so will magically lower your tax bill. How does that happen? Nobody knows. We just trust that it works. There are a lot of tax rules regarding how much you can deduct based on whether the IRS classifies your writing as a business or a hobby. It’s way too late to worry about that, so you’re probably better off just winging it and hoping for the best.
Please note that I’m not a tax accountant, so nothing you read hear should be construed as financial advice, wink-wink ;)
As a writer, here are some of the expenses you can deduct:
- Design fees for your book cover.
- Professional editing services.
- The electricity, calculated to the last watt, consumed by your laptop.
- Getting beers with your writer friends. This is networking.
- A professional author photo.
- The high-end mustache wax you needed to look good for your author photo.
- Pens—this includes both the pack of Bic ball-points from Office Depot, as well as the wood blanks, pen kit, wood lathe, and a six-week adult-education course on pen-turning you took.
- Any magazine or website subscriptions you’ve bought, especially if you’re planning to submit work to them. Based on your browser history, it looks like you may have to start writing some erotica to pull this one off.
- While you may have gotten caught cheating on your spouse, that trip to NYC you took with your new lover totally counts as novel research.
- Not that this would ever happen to YOU, of course, but maybe a friend sent money to a scam artist posing as an editor or agent. That’s tax deductible, probably.
- Those coffee mugs that say cute things like, “Be nice to me or I’ll put you in my novel.” That’s writing inspiration, and it works both as a business expense and as a warning to the IRS in case they start thinking about auditing you.