Before I begin, let me say that I am NOT a tax professional or accountant. Everything I suggest here is based on my experience, my conversations with the IRS, and extensive Googling and should be taken as a suggestion, an idea, a possibility – not tax law. For further information, please check with a tax professional.
Tax season is well underway, and I have finally bitten the bullet. Receipts are strewn across the desk and I’ve been going through my Excel sheets in preparation. One of the things I try to document well are my business expenses. Since I run my blog as a business, I am able to note several things as expenses, which helps to offset any financial gain I may receive from blogging. (If you run your blog as a hobby, these rules may not apply.)
To help those of you who might be filing taxes for your blog for the first time, and to remind myself of these items for next year, I thought I’d make a quick list of 10 common items that bloggers may be able to deduct from their taxes as business expenses. Make sure that if you plan on deducting any of these items, you have a receipt to back up your claim.
1. Domain Name Registration Fees & Website Hosting Plans
If you’ve just bought your .com, .net, or .org for your blog, you may be able to deduct your domain name registration fees. If you have a self hosted website, you may be able to deduct your website hosting plan as an Advertising Expense.
2. Website Design
Have you given your website a facelift? If you hired someone to design a new blog layout or a blog button or anything blog related, this may be considered an Advertising Expense.
3. Shipping & Packaging Costs
On occasion I’ve found myself needing to send out giveaway prizes. The cost to ship these items may be considered Miscellaneous Expenses.
4. Business Cards
Did you order new business cards for the latest conference you went to? The cost to print those new business cards (or any other swag/promotional items you had created) may be considered Advertising Expenses.
5. Conference Registration Fees
Did you go to Relevant, Blissdom, BlogHer, or another blogging conference? Your registration fees may be considered a Miscellaneous Business Expense.
6. Travel Expenses
If you’ve spent any money at all travelling for your blog – driving to a meeting, flying to a conference, staying at a hotel. Those may be considered Business Travel Expenses. When driving, make sure you carefully document your mileage. When flying, keep your flight information.
7. Office Supplies
I’ve picked up desk calendars, paper, envelopes, and other supplies for my blog. These are all considered Supplies and may be considered expenses for my business.
8. Testing Supplies
On occasion, I’ve found myself needing to purchase specific ingredients for a recipe I’m reviewing or needing to buy additional items for a review. These are costs of business and may be considered Miscellaneous Expenses.
9. Giveaway Prizes
If you’ve self-sponsored any giveaway prizes – whether it’s gift cards or prize packs – if you’ve paid for these prizes out of pocket, these may be considered Advertising Expenses .
10. Giveaway Participation Fees
Did you join a group event for a fee? These may be considered Advertising Expenses.
Bonus: Internet & Phone
This one is a little trickier. If you use the Internet and Phone EXCLUSIVELY for your blog, you may be able to deduct 100% of the cost as an expense. However if you use your phone or internet as part of your non-business activities, you can only deduct a percentage of the use.
Here are some other items that bloggers may be able to deduct as business expenses:
- Membership Fees (such as for Mom Spark Media or Blog Friendly PR)
- Banner Ads/Promotion (such as a giveaway listing service or paying to have your banner ad on a site)
- Computer/Tablet/Electronic Device that is used exclusively for the blog
- PayPal Fees (if you’ve been paid and had fees deducted)
I’m sure there are others that I haven’t mentioned, so feel free to leave a comment with any other tips you may have.
For more information about what the IRS told me about blogging and taxes, please read my post Blogs and Taxes – What I Learned from the IRS.
Again, I am NOT a tax professional, so please check with someone who is trained in this sort of thing to get the final word.