Tax Tips for Writers

Moonday Mania

a blog on writing

Today I’m going to talk a little about taxes. Now as a pre-published author, I pretty much skipped doing anything with my writing expenses. But I also didn’t have too many expenses. If you are writing and have a reasonable amount of expenses, you should think about taking the deductions. I’m not a tax expert, never going to happen, but here are  a few tips I’ve gleaned over the last year.

  1. Keep all your receipts. Even the small ones. If they are for something like coffee with your crit partners, write a note on the back so you remember what it’s for. I keep track of all my expenses in a program called Quicken and I keep track in the special spot for notes.
  2. Something on my list is to purchase a scanner. Have you noticed that nowadays most receipts fade?  I don’t know about you, but that’s the stuff of nightmares, handing your box of receipts to the IRS agent and they are all blank.
  3. After you scan your receipts you should upload them to the cloud. Whatever cloud you use. I use Dropbox. This way if your computer dies you are not handing the IRS agent a dead hard drive. And back everything up. The computer ate your receipts is no excuse.
  4. Be reasonable. Do you think it is really tax deductible? Find out and then don’t be stupid. The refrigerator for the house is not tax deductible no matter how many times you stare into it for inspiration.
  5. Start ahead of time. I’m a major procrastinator, but next year I’m going to be figuring out my taxes in January. At least the parts I can do myself. That schedule C is supposed to be easy to figure out, but I want time to make mistakes and then fix them.
  6. Get help. I have a back up plan. If my taxes are too convoluted (and since I’ll be doing them ahead of time I’ll know long before the deadline) I’ll be asking some professional for help. In that case I’ll have a nice file of receipts downloaded from my drop box and my Quicken files to hand to her. Yippee!
That’s all I’ve got. But if you would like some additional help I am copying some links from my friend and fellow author Amy Atwell. Amy has started Author EMS a site for author’s seeking information (Check it out HERE) and while I didn’t get these links from there they are some that she posted on our goals loop:

http://www.forwrite rs.com/taxes. html
http://louisianalia r.com/business- of-writing/

http://curiosityqui lls.com/being- a-tax-wise- author-writer- part-one/

Best of luck with your taxes this year, and if you are in the USA you have two extra days this year WOOT!

Have you started your taxes? Do you get professional help? Have you started deducting your expenses as an author? Are you scared of the IRS?

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6 Comments

Filed under Moonday mania, writing organization

6 responses to “Tax Tips for Writers

  1. Yet another thing we have in common. I use Quicken, too! Happy taxing day! :-((

    • Thanks! Luckily hubby tackles most of the tax issues. I just have to have my stuff in order. That can be tough enough. For some reason the rules can be tricky. I personally think every time I go out for coffee with my writing buddies should be tax deductible because all we talk is shop!

  2. Thank goodness my husband does all our taxes instantly! Phew. I used to hate doing taxes in the UK.

  3. You are such inspiration, Jessica. My receipts are stuffed in an envelope beside my desk. Not organized at all, and it’s time to start!

    • My receipts are still stuffed in an envelope, but here is my system. First, the receipt is in my wallet where it is joined by too many till there are enough to make them look like a chore. Then, my husband reminds me he can’t pay bills, until I update Quicken, so until I do my weekend is shot. Then I update Quicken, where I put them on the computer into little categories so I can later look to see how much I really spent on promotion and how much on coffee. Finally the reciepts get stuffed in the 2012 envelope. I still haven’t purchased a scanner, so they’re still fading away in there. A scanner will be lovely! I do love Quicken, at tax time all the categories are right there and organized. Poof!

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