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One of the most confusing parts of owning a business, is knowing how to do your business bookkeeping and taxes.
And now that you have started your blog, you want to make sure that you are doing things right.
Or maybe you've had your blog for a while now, but still aren't sure about what qualifies for tax breaks and expense deductions for your blog.
There is shortage of accountants and CPAs in the business world who fully understand online business. I regularly get asked about accountants and tax preparers that can help with online business.
But the list that I have is very short because I have had a hard time finding accountants that I can recommend my clients and friends to since there are seem to be so few who are taking the time to expand their knowledge base to include the online world.
But as a business owner, you can arm yourself with the proper knowledge before you go to an accountant and then you will be able to help yourself and your accountant when you know exactly what you are talking about.
In this guide, my aim is to make sure that bloggers know what deductions and tax breaks they can take when it comes to their business.
So let's dive in.
First of all, what is an expense?
An expense for your business, whether you are a blogger or not, is something that is ordinary and necessary for the running of your business.
An ordinary expense, according to the IRS, is an expense that is common and accepted in your type of business. What is common for one business trade is not always accepted for another type of business trade.
A necessary expense, according to the IRS, is an expense that is helpful and appropriate for your business trade.
For example, as a blogger, your email service provider (Active Campaign, Convertkit, Mailchimp, Drip, etc.) is both an ordinary and necessary expense for your business. But car expenses are not ordinary and necessary expenses for a blogger.
There is a detailed list of expenses that apply to most businesses. In this post, we are going to dive into the expense deductions that are specific to bloggers.
You can find travel bloggers expenses here.
You can find photographers expenses here.
You can find home decor/DIY sellers and bloggers here.
You can find crafters and craft bloggers here.
You can find food bloggers here.
You can find beauty bloggers here.
You can find online coaches here.
You can find the general list of expenses here.
If you use it to run your business, then it will most likely be considered an expense for your business.
If you have a home office in your house and you don't just use the kitchen table, kitchen counter, coffee table or couch for your office, then you can qualify for the home office deduction.
You can find more information on the home office deduction here.
When you are claiming your expenses for your business, make sure that they are expenses that you use solely and regularly for your business.
Your home internet service isn't just used for your business, you also use this for personal reasons too.
Your cell phone is not specifically used for your business either, especially as a blogger.
For both the internet and your phone, you can use the home office deduction to claim them in your business.
Finally take your taxes from frustration, chaos and confusion to calm and organized.
Learn everything you need to know to master your business finances and taxes explained in plain English.
As a blogger, your business is solely based on a website.
The hosting fees, theme fees, font fees, stock photos, etc. are all expenses that would be deductible from your business.
Do you pay for plugins?
Do you pay for a theme for your website?
Do you pay for the software to sell your own products and courses?
These are all expenses that count as deductions for your business because they are a cost of doing business.
As a blogger, you are going to need a computer. The cost of the computer and other office supplies for your business are expense deductions.
Big purchases like computers and DSLR cameras can also be considered an asset. But they can only be one or the other: an asset or an expense.
As an asset, you will only expense a portion of it each year. As an expense, you will expense the whole cost in the year of purchase.
Things like microphones, cameras, memory cards, 2nd and 3rd monitors, lighting for taking pictures or making better videos, tripods are also included in these expense deductions.
The software that you use in your business like Canva Pro, Tailwind, Adobe Creative Cloud or other Adobe products, social media scheduling software, photo and video editing software, basically any software that you use for your business, are also considered business expense deductions.
As a business owner (yes even bloggers are business owners), you will do some sort of marketing and advertising in your business.
Advertising and marketing includes things like business cards, flyers and pamphlets for local advertising, ads that you place on social media, and even assistants, copywriters, and social media managers to help you with your marketing efforts are business expense deductions.
Purchases like PLR (private label rights) content and ghost writers also count as marketing expenses.
Costs to help grow your business and get more eyes on your business and what you offer are expenses in the marketing and advertising aspect of your business.
There are quite a few blogging conferences available to attend these days. The cost of the conference counts as an expense, as well as the cost of travel to the conference and your hotel stay.
Plus there are always opportunities to learn new things to help you continue to grow your business. The cost of the courses, ebooks, and guides that you buy to help you learn new things and grow your business even more are also deductible.
But don't use this as an excuse to go willy nilly and buy all of the courses out there. Buy the courses and programs and assistance when you actually need it. Be the person who completes the programs that you purchase, not the person who just collects as many programs as possible because it's just a new shiny object.
You know those fees that PayPal, Stripe and other merchant providers charge you to collect money for you? Those fees are a part of doing business.
They are deductible as an expense for your business.
And you can't get around these fees either. If you try, you will get accounts like PayPal shut down. Also make sure you are using a Business PayPal Account (learn how to set one up here) to collect these payments for your business.
Do you have other expenses for your blog that aren't covered here? Are they covered in the general expense deduction list?
Or maybe you have a question about something else that isn't covered in any of these. Leave your question for me so that I can answer your question for you.
Next Read: How to Reach a Real Person at the IRS
Clarissa Wilson is a financial strategist and online educator who holds two master’s degrees in Forensic Accounting. Also creative and spiritual, she is an intuitive empath and introvert. Clarissa is the host of The Prosper + Profit Podcast, where money conversations occur on a daily basis -- as she believes that money shouldn’t be a taboo subject. After growing up on a dairy farmand learning to work hard for money, Clarissa awakened to a path that allowed wealth to flow easily to her. Clarissa currently lives in Pennsylvania with her two cats.
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