Tax Tips for Bloggers: 9 Top Tax Deductions for Blog Owners
Most people have something to share with the world. For those comfortable with writing, blogging is often a good fit. If you are among the minority of people who stick with it and turn a profit, then you’ll need to declare the income.
The good news is that, unlike working at the local coffee shop, there are a myriad of potential tax deductions that might be associated with your blogging income.
Remember, if blogging is just part of the duties of your full time job (working for The Man) you won’t be able to take advantage of these deductions.
However, if you blog on your own or as an independent contractor, consider the tax deductions in this post!
Tax Deduction Ideas for Bloggers
The IRS defines qualifying business expenses as needing to be both “ordinary and necessary.” Hmmm… what does that mean? Here’s a clearer definition:
- Ordinary: Commonly accepted expenses in your trade or business
- Necessary: Helpful and appropriate in your trade or business
So how do those terms relate specifically to blogging? Here are some common expenses that should qualify as deductions against your blogging income.
In other words, reasonable expenses related to your business or blogging income. New iPad? Yes. Video games? No, unless you review video games on your blog.
Your home office: A Top Tax Deduction
If you send 3 hours a day at Starbucks on a laptop, you’re probably used to getting dirty looks from the barista. Therefore, it’s assumed that you sit down to a desk at home to do your work, and there are expenses associated with that.
Did you buy office supplies like a printer, printer ink, flash or backup drives, computers or devices like an iPad or laptop? Don’t forget to claim them as business expenses.
If you derive a significant income from blogging, these home office deductions probably make sense.
Utilities and Internet as Deductions
If you spend considerable time blogging, then utilities like heat and AC should qualify as tax deductions. If you have 10 rooms in your house (excluding bathrooms) then your office is assumed to be 1/10 of that space. Therefore, 10% of your utility bills can be deducted against your blogging income. Did you make improvements to your home like repairs, painting, or landscaping? Those are significant as well.
A portion of your internet service is also deductible. If you have internet bundled with phone and cable, (Comcast and Verizon do that) then assume that internet is 1/3 of your bill. You can’t deduct your home (land line) telephone unless it’s a second line used for your business. A portion of your cell phone bill can also be a deduction.
Costs Associated With Running Your Blog
Developing and maintaining a blog isn’t free, and these expenses are tax deductible. Common expenses are web hosting, and domain registration fees. A new domain typically costs under $20 a year, while premium domains bought at auction can cost thousands of dollars. If you use WordPress, then claim the cost of any plugins or themes that you bought.
Tip: Write-Off Software Needed for Your Blog
If you create graphics, video, audio, or animation for your blog, then claim these expenses on your taxes. A single font family or software program like Macromedia PhotoShop can cost hundreds of dollars, which is a significant deduction.
Do you run an antivirus program like Norton Security on your computer or devices? Do you back up your files with a backup service like Carbonite? Maybe you pay Shutterfly (get deals) to store your photos and video? That’s a tax deduction.
Blog Advertising and Graphic Design
If you’re a true jack of all trades, you may have designed and developed your own site. However, consider any expenses associated with the appearance and development of your blog including logo design.
Have you bought any stock photography or premium content for your blog? Those exclusive photos you posted on your blog of Kim Kardashian on the beach aren’t free. (If you “borrowed” them, you might be getting a cease and desist letter!)
Do you pay to advertise your blog? If you do any advertising on Google, Facebook, BlogAds, Fiverr, or have sent out a press release from a company like PRWeb, don’t forget to claim these expenses.
Insurance: Health or Home
If you are a freelancer, or go it alone, then you probably pay your own health insurance. The IRS should allow you to deduct all medical expenses over 10% of your adjusted gross income.
If you are claiming a home office, then you can deduct a portion of your homeowners or renters insurance. Remember, if you get your health insurance through your employer, you can’t deduct it as a business expense. Also, checkout healthcare.gov for a potential better rate!
Tip: Subscriptions or Paid Blog Content
Most blogs are in a niche of some sort, think of whether you pay for magazine subscriptions or premium online content that is necessary or helpful for your blog content. If you made $20k from your gossip blog, then it’s reasonable to write-off your subscription to US Weekly magazine. If you run a finance blog, then your subscription to The Wall Street Journal is a deduction.
Travel, Gifts, & Entertainment Deductions
If you attend any blogging conventions like BlogHer, your travel expenses are tax deductions. If your blog makes money from affiliate programs, then maybe you went to an event like CJ University. If you interviewed someone for your blog over lunch, or sent them pears from Harry & David, as a “thank you” gift, those collective expenses are significant.
Contributions to Your Retirement
As a sole proprietor or LLC you might be able to lower your tax bill further by contributing to a retirement plan like a SEP-IRA, which reduces your taxable income.
Reporting Your Blogging Income
With blogging income, you’ll need to file a standard Form 1040, as that form includes the Schedule C to report business / blogging income, unless you are an independent contractor; in which case you should have gotten a Form 1099-MISC. (Assuming you made $600+)
Whether you have an accountant, or do your own taxes with TurboTax or H&R Block software, be sure to think long and hard about all the money you spent supporting your blogging income. Also, be sure to check out our useful coupons on this site, provided by Honorable Leader Chairman Meow.
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