Exploring the Universe

As a writer, what expenses do you have?

You may have bought paper and pens. Computers and software. Printers, toners, ink, paper. Notebooks, filing cabinets, file folders, desks, and chairs. You may pay for advertising, a website and all additional costs, commissions to your agent, and workshops. You may have expenses related to your car (which I discussed earlier).

Or, if you are self-publishing, you may have expenses for an editor, a front cover, pay someone to take your ms and transform it into the correct format, and other related expenses.

Or you may pay an attorney to review the contract for you. You may have dues or membership fees in writing organizations.

If you are using one area of your home for writing 100% of the time, you have additional expenses you may claim. This includes the business percentage of your utilities, insurance, and your rent. If you are buying your home you may claim depreciation on the business part of your home. Called office in the home.

All these expenses are reported on Form 1040, Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business. This links you to the 2010 Schedule C. It has not changed in years so you can use it as a go-by.

Keeping up with these expenses can be daunting.

To make it easier, you need either a notebook or file folders. If you have few expenses, a notebook with dividers works well. Label a divider with the type of expense and tape the receipt to a sheet of notebook paper. This makes it very convenient to make notes about what you bought and if unusual, why. This also gives you room to calculate what percentage is used for business if it is used for business and personal.

These are my top 9 expenses for writers, in no particular order of importance:

9. Car expenses (discussed on a previous post).

8. Advertising.

7. Commissions / Legal and Professional.

6. Dues.

5. Travel.

4. Office in the Home.

3. Supplies.

2. Computer and software.

1. Education.

I will share what I know about these expenses individually in subsequent posts.

What expenses did you have this year?


Comments on: "Tax Facts: Top 9 Expenses for Writers" (10)

  1. Thanks for this Linda. Even though I’m in Canada, this information is going to help me be more organized and to check into what applies in this country.

  2. Thank you so much for these tips. I don’t have a publish date for my book yet, but I would not have thought of this even if it HAD already been published. I’ll save this e-mail for the future.

    • You don’t have to wait until your book is published to claim these expenses. See the first Tax Facts discussion concerning whether you consider your writing to be business or hobby. You may claim these expenses even if you have no income to report on Schedule C if you are in the business of being a writer. Something to think about? Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Good blog, Linda! What would you put attending a writer’s conference under, travel or education — or another category?

  4. Writer’s conferences go under Travel? Hmm. . . that includes the fee for the conference too?

    Can I write off books (fiction or non-fiction) as a work expense?

    • Yes, it includes the fee for the conference. However, there are some quirks so I will discuss that later. As far as books, let me say it depends. I will discuss that in more detail later also.
      Thanks for commenting.

  5. I have dues and craft books and education. Unfortunately, I don’t have my own writing area, but eventually I hope to fix that! Great post Linda…thanks!

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