Many people regard blogging as a hobby—something that they do in their spare time, for their own personal enjoyment. But if blogging is your profession—an activity that you do for the purpose of making a profit—you probably qualify for various tax deductions that can help decrease your taxable income.
Before asserting any tax deductions, it is critical to make certain that the expenses you claim are legitimately related to a business that centers around blogging or includes blogging as a key component. The Internal Revenue Service takes a dim view of people who try to pass off what is really a hobby as a small business, in an attempt to write off hobby expenses (more information on the hobby loss rule).
Getting Started: Administrative Matters
If blogging is a business for you, you must adopt a tax registration status—sole proprietorship, limited partnership, limited liability company or incorporation– and prepare to file quarterly estimated taxes with the IRS, which can be paid via mail, phone or online.
Blogging-Related Tax Deductions
The following list includes examples of blogging-related expenses that may be eligible as tax deductions.
- Office Equipment: electronic office equipment—including computers, printers, fax machines and the like—depreciate in value and this can be deducted from your taxes.
- Office Supplies: the cost of print or toner cartridges, paper, pens and pencils, folders and other office supplies for business use is tax deductible.
- If you have any employees or use subcontractors to perform work for you, there are deductible expenses—in the form of salaries, payments and fees–in both instances.
- Online expenses: Being a blogger means that you have an online presence and that brings associated deductible expenses including the cost of domain hosting, Website hosting, expenses directly associated with blog hosting, online advertising, the cost of an Internet Service Provider, Website design expenses, business-related online backup services, and so forth.
Other small business-related deductions possibly applicable to bloggers:
There are many other tax deductions applicable to many small businesses in general that may be relevant for bloggers. These include:
- The use of your home for your blogging business activities. If you have a home office that is dedicated to your business, a portion of many of your general household expenses—rent or mortgage, utilities, home insurance, etc.—can be deducted from your taxes, usually in proportion to your office’s square footage relative to that of the entire home.
- If you use a professional tax preparation service for your business, that cost is tax deductible.
- Travel costs that are directly related to your business can be deducted, including attendance at trade expositions.
- The costs associated with business stationery, such as business cards and letterhead are deductible.
- If you use a vehicle for business-related activities, some proportion of maintenance and registration fees, plus mileage, can be deducted.
- The cost of establishing yourself as corporation, LLP or LLC can be deducted, along with any business licensing renewal costs you may encounter down the road.
- Costs that are incurred to advertise your business offline—such as in print or on television—are deductible.