If you’re in the United States, it is officially tax season. With barely two week weeks left to file your return (or file an extension) a lot of freelancers are scrambling to find some last minute deductions that they can claim to reduce their burden.
If you’re a blogger, or blogging is part of running your business, then it might seem as if there isn’t a great deal you can claim. After all, blogging is a solitary activity that doesn’t seem to accrue a lot of expense.
But the truth is there’s a lot that goes into blogging and, while doing the tax prep yourself is easy, there are a lot of tools and information out there that could easily help you keep more of your money.
With that in mind, here are just seven suggestions to get you started though, without a doubt, there are many, many more out there that you can consider.
1. Internet Fees
Your hosting fees are a fairly straight forward deduction but, if you do most of your blogging from home, your Internet access could be as well if it’s used primarily for business.
Likewise, any services that you subscribe or use, such as backup services, security tools or theme clubs that you’ve joined, are also likely deductions waiting to happen. Likewise, anything that you purchased for the purpose of reviewing on your site, such as movies or songs, can also be a deduction.
In short, if it’s online, it’s a part of running your blog and you paid money for it, there’s a good chance it could be a deduction.
2. Physical Equipment
If you bought a new computer over the past year for blogging, that’s a fairly straightforward deduction. However, smaller things can add up as well. Mice, keyboards, speakers, monitors, etc. may also be deductible. Same goes for webcams, microphones, mixers and anything else you use with your site.
Don’t forget to include any software that you bought, such as podcasting or video editing software as they might be potential deductions as well.
3. Travel-Related Expenses
If you went to a conference or did any sort of traveling for your blog, gas, dining, hotel expenses, conference fees and other costs incurred while on the road may be deductions you can claim.
The same goes for rental cars, airfare or any other expenses that you paid in the process of traveling for your blog.
This is a big part of why it’s important to keep good records whlie you’re on the road as these expenses can add up quick and amount to a huge deduction in April.
4. Office Equipment and Supplies
Hopefully you don’t do your blogging on a bare concrete floor in a darkened room. If you’ve purchased tables, chairs, lighting, decorations, cleaning supplies or anything else to make your office work it might be something you can deduct.
Likewise, don’t forget about the office supplies you use, pens, pencils, paper (including printer paper) and even sticky notes could all be deductions. Little things add up so keeping good records can save you a great deal of money down the road.
5. Rent and Utilities
If you rent an office to work out of, that rent likely becomes tax deductible as does any utilities you pay while there. This includes power, water, gas, garbage removal and anything else along those lines.
If you work from home, you may still be able to claim a portion of your mortgage and household utilities if you have a home office that’s separate from the rest of your house.
Just remember, any thing you pay to keep your office open and functional is a probably deduction just waiting to happen.
If you purchased any advertising for your blog/business, this includes Google Adsense, or spent any other money on promotion, it is likely a tax deduction. This promotion can include any money you spend to get the word out about your site, from email marketing to guest blogging.
Also, don’t forget about the promotion that you do in the physical world. Business cards, letterhead, signs, shirts, anything that you have made to promote you and your site can also be a deduction.
7. Other Communication Expenses
While Internet expenses may seem more obvious, there’s a lot of other ways that you communicate as part of your site and business. For example, your cell phone may be deductible (in whole or in part) and fax services, phone fees or other costs you incur related to your business may be deductible as well.
This can include your Skype, Google Voice, Grasshopper or any other phone services you subscribe to. In short, if you communicate with it, paid money for it and use it for your business, you need to consider it as a possible deduction.
Of course, with all of these you should likely check with a tax professional first before claiming any deductions. Also, you should be certain that you have adequate proof of the purchase before marking it on your return.
If you need help with that, it may be a bit late for this year but next year you might want to consider using Shoeboxed, a service that makes it easy to organize and store receipts online so that it’s simple to get them together and get cracking on your taxes.
In the meantime though, it might be worthwhile to check your email and your drawers around your house to see what receipts you have laying around and if any of them could become deductions for you and your business.
Many people lose money not because they didn’t put the effort and time into their business, but because they weren’t looking at the whole picture when it came time to decide what was a business expense. If you stop thinking of a blog as simply being a site where you post your writing and see it as a part of your physical life, you can start to understand just how much you’ve spent on it and how much you should deduct.
Once you do that, you’ll likely find that taxes are much less of a burden then they once were.