12 Writing Expenses to Discuss With Your Tax Advisor

April 15th

In preparation for filing my tax return (an event anticipated with such ecstasy and fervor that its only rival is my bi-annual dental exam), I dutifully gathered all of my receipts, stubs, confirmations, etc. and painstakingly put together a list of possible expenses to be discussed with my accountant. I thought I’d share the list, in case it’s helpful or jogs anyone’s memory. Heaven knows, none of us wants to spend any more time on this sort of thing than we have to!

Obviously, I’m not an accountant. And this general list shouldn’t be construed as tax advice. Individual situations will vary. That having been said, the list is below. Now go forth and file! 🙂

1. Writing Group Membership Fees

  • SFWA
  • RWA
  • Local Chapters

2. Online Workshops (also any recorded conference events you missed & downloaded later)

3. Contest Entry Fees (don’t forget to include mailing & copying expenses)

4. Trade Publications and Magazine Subscriptions

  • Publishers Marketplace
  • Writer’s Digest
  • RT Book Reviews

5. Conference Expenses

  • Conference Fees
  • Hotel Accommodations
  • Meals
  • Airfare/Train fare
  • Parking & tolls
  • Cab rides

6. Website and Social Media Expenses

  • Web address
  • Private registration
  • Web forwarding (if your website is through WordPress or another blogging site)
  • “No Ads” for WordPress website
  • E-mail account
  • Anti-Virus software

7. Home Office Supplies

  • New Printer and Accessories
  • Printer Ink
  • Printer Paper

8. Professional Services

  • Agent fees
  • Legal fees
  • Accounting fees

9. Networking Expenses

  • Lunch with other writers to discuss possible joint promotion opportunities
  • Lunch with interview subjects
  • Business cards

10. Holiday Gifts for Key Team Professionals

11. Utility expenses (if you have a separate office in your home for writing, you may be able to deduct a portion of these expenses); and

12. Expenses I didn’t have in 2011, but you might have had…

  • Photographer’s fee for professional headshot
  • Independent editing services
  • Advertising expenses
  • Other promotional expenses

Related Articles on Tax Deductions

Writers, readers, how about you? Do you dread tax day the way a dental patient dreads a root canal? Accountants, your thoughts? Anything missing from my list? Have any specific advice for writers (other than, don’t wait until 4/14/12 to call you? ;-))


Published by

Jill Archer

Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels including DARK LIGHT OF DAY, FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, and POCKET FULL OF TINDER.

10 thoughts on “12 Writing Expenses to Discuss With Your Tax Advisor

  1. Rivaling a bi-annual dental exam.. really?!? I am a CPA.. and sadly yes, I have heard this before as well, Jill.

    While most CPA’s and Tax Advisors think the newest tax law changes and credits will amaze and dazzle their clients (OMG… seriously, they really do think this), the truth is clients want a few simple things, right? They want: 1) to pay the least tax possible;
    2) to file their returns correctly (to keep the IRS away if nothing else); and
    3) to not be GOUGED by huge fees to do the above two things.

    Right.. or wrong?

    SADLY… it is right. SADLY both CPA (or Tax Advisor) and CLIENT are also WRONG.

    I have three points, and then I’m done.. poof, outta here (and absolutely NO PLUG for me, my company, no sales pitch, none of that… I dispise that). From me… as a CPA/Tax Advisor, here it is:

    1) EXPENSES: I have an easy to remember ‘rule of thumb’: Keep track of any and every expense that a) produces income; b) has the intent to produce income; or c) could possibly or will in the future produce income. That’s it. Adopting puppies from the pound is a noble thing to do, but unless we can get them social security numbers (to claim them as dependents) – or – we have a ‘dog breeding’ business intent.. noooo… it’s not a deductible expense.

    2) CREDITS: Ahhh… these are things that should make you LOVE your accountant. These actually reduce your TAX dollar-for-dollar (not just the income that you are taxed on). They change yearly, but this is why professionals (if they don’t GOUGE you on fees) are invaluable. These all depend on the mood of popular politics honestly. Oh yes… we now have fuel economy car credits, energy efficiency home repair credits, child care credits, education credits, adpotions credits, etc., etc. MANY of these software-in-the-box-programs miss these ENTIRELY!! (Hehehe… I love it when I get new clients that use those programs or go to the local franchise firms.. I LOVE IT.. and yes, they love us back when they leave… true story).

    3) Lastly.. and in my humble opinion the most important of the three: When you leave your accountant…. if you feel like you are glad your ‘bi-annual dental exam is finally over’…. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE… consider finding another accountant. Seriously. If you don’t leave with a confident plan of action for the upcoming year…. or if you don’t leave with new knowledge of how to improve your small business or tax situation for the year ahead… PLEASE at least look around. Most CPA’s will give a free consultation. You need synergy with them. You need to feel like they understand you, your business, and your goals.

    If you don’t have that… see you at your next dental exam. (Hope it’s not a root canal).

    1. LOL. Okay, you got me. I actually love both my accountant and my dentist (I’ve been going to the same accounting firm for almost 15 years now. I’m very happy with them. My dentist probably rolls his eyes every time my name comes up for the bi-annual — but only ’cause I’m a horrible patient. The honest truth is, I hate the process of finding all of my misplaced and disorganized receipts and I despise the dental chair!! :-)).

      You are right, of course, professionals are out there to help people. Hopefully, everyone’s confident enough to file on their own or they’ll find a great accountant to help them.

      Thanks for the comments!

  2. Thanks Jill. This is a great list. I’m pulling all my receipts together over the next week for our visit with the accountant. Truly the least happy hour of my life- every damn year! Jordan

  3. This is a great list! Last year, I tried to keep every receipt but I wasn’t very organized with it. This year, I’m trying to record things on a spreadsheet into categories by month. Last year, my conference expenses were the largest expense.

    1. Hi Brinda, I hear you. Conferences can be expensive! That’s the next thing on my to do list. Figure out which ones I can go to this year. Let me know if you have any favorites!

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