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Tax Tips for Writers

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on February 20, 2008

Tax season is keeping me busy, but I am not overwhelmed with work yet as I have been in past years. That will come at the end of March. One thing I have noticed the past year is that I am talking to more writers and getting asked many questions about what they can and cannot deduct from their tax returns. Here is a simple guideline to go by. If you have not set up any kind of business/corporation, you may still be able to write off deductions. In order not to be treated as a “Hobby” and get your deductions disallowed, you first have to treat your writing as a business which has a purpose to eventually generate income. You may still have losses for many years but it’s a good idea to start showing a definite, regular income after 5 years. You can do a little research on line or visit one of your local tax professionals to discuss the Hobby loss rules, which are numerous.

What kind of deductions can you write off? First, let me take the big one that most people think they CAN write off – that being part of their home, utilities and telephone. It’s an easy one – if you have income to offset the home office, you can use it. (Research ‘home office use percentages’) If you do NOT have income to offset, you can NOT use it in a home based non corporate business.  Rental of an office or even a second home used expressly for the purpose of writing is allowed.

Telephone. People always want to write off their telephone expenses. For a home office, if you only have one home phone and use it both for personal and business use, then NO, you cannot use it. If you have a SECOND line, such as a business line or a line for your computer (DSL, Broadband or dial-up); then you can write off your second line and any long distance charges that are business related from the first home line. Same goes for a cell phone. If you have a personal home phone and the cell phone is a SECOND seperate charge, then you may use the cell phone.

The above information should only be used as a general guideline for you to use in your research or discussion with a certified tax professional. If you are not trained in these matters, you should not use this information without consulting with a professional nor should you use it as a tool to avoid paying taxes or any penalties.

Coming up next time: What type and how much travel expense can I deduct? Can I fly to some exotic place such as Rio, Africa, Venice or just the French countryside and deduct the costs? What about the costs of tour guides or the costs of my spouse/children or other family members that go with me?


One Response to “Tax Tips for Writers”

  1. […] Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on October 12, 2009 I’m working on a series of small posts about tax tips for writers and also the general public – however, I don’t have any of it ready to post right this minute. Therefor, I am going to send you to a link on one of my beginning posts that started this blog, way back in Feb of 2008. Follow this link: https://resakov.wordpress.com/2008/02/20/tax-tips-for-writers/ […]

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