One good thing about running your blog as a business is that you’re able to deduct expenses that are applicable to your profession. Any goods that you pay for, and that assist you in running your business, can be taken off the income you earn as a blogger.
Have a home office? You may be able to deduct some of your household expenses as well.
Your list of deductions should be included in your annual tax filing. You don’t actually have to send the IRS all of your pay stubs and receipts, but you’ll need to keep them on hand in case you’re audited. To simplify the process, all you’ll need is a spreadsheet with the date, amount, to whom, for what included for each item you want to deduct. We recommend entering your receipts at least monthly so you’re not stuck with a stack of receipts and an empty spreadsheet come tax time.
Here’s our top 20 when it comes to deductible expenses for bloggers:
- Hosting fees – if you’re still using a blogspot.com or wordpress.com account hosting fees don’t apply, but anything else, and you’re probably paying for your little piece of the internet.
- Domain name and registration fees – if you’ve got a .com or .net you’ll have an annual renewal fee.
- Internet access fees – monthly bills to have internet in your home? At least a portion of this counts towards a deduction for your business.
- Font, photo, or music downloads for your blog
- A portion of your computer, iPad, tablet, iPhone or cell phone
- That fancy new camera or even your point and shoot
- Software such as Photoshop or TurboTax
- Graphic or Web design fees – if you’ve recently updated the look of your site or rebranded your logo, this deduction applies for you.
- Purchasing ad space on other blogs – money spent marketing or promoting your blog on other sites, even if it’s just running an ad on a fellow blogger’s site. Make sure to keep the receipts!
- Self-sponsored giveaways on your blog (find out more about running a giveaway here) –“self-sponsored” means you purchased the prize(s) and paid cash, not traded services.
- Giving away your services or products – non-profits, charities, or your child’s elementary school silent auction fundraiser all count. Make sure you invoice for your work – show the amount it was worth, but obviously the amount owed would be $0.
- SEO services – lots of bloggers pay for Search Engine Optimization services to increase hits on their site. This is a form of promotion/marketing – so it counts!
- Blogging conferences, E-book purchases, online class fees – if it’s helping you learn more about your blog or business it counts!
- Books, magazines, online subscriptions that relate to your blogging topic
- Transportation to that blog conference or a blogger meet-up
- Hotel charges – for blog conferences or blog-related business
- Office furniture – new desk, chair, lamp, etc.
- Business cards, marketing materials, file folders, Post-it notes, etc.
- Fees for professional licenses, etc.
- Meals during business travel, or coffee at that next blogger meet-up
If this all feels a little overwhelming, consider talking to a tax expert. Here at Mazuma we like to simplify the process for our clients and provide them with the right answer for any of their questions. And that stack of receipts and empty spreadsheet we mentioned earlier – we can take care of that too. Mazuma clients simply upload their bank statements and their receipts and we take care of the rest.
To learn more about accounting for bloggers, visit these posts:
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.