Ugh – it’s tax season again. While its not the most fun thing to deal with, its a necessity. Sooooo .. I thought it would be helpful to share some tips I have for filing your taxes this year if you are a “side hustle blogger”. I say this because I only blog part-time and have a full-time job as an accountant and there are some major differences when you own your own LLC and have employees ((like a personal assistant or photographer)) and such that make the filing different from someone who just does it on the side as a supplementary way of earning income. My dad is a CPA and works in sales and use tax for health care facilities and school systems so I picked his brain a little bit too in order to come up with the MOST helpful tips I could.
*** Disclaimer – I do NOT have my CPA license, nor do I claim to be an expert on ANY of this. I’m just sharing a few helpful tips I’ve learned in the past 3 years. ***
- Keep an income and expense statement throughout the year – I started doing this the last couple of months in 2015 and realized what a lifesaver it would be. Save a couple busy months, I managed to update this file every 2 weeks or so and kept myself organized throughout the year. And in turn, LESS STRESSED! While there’s nothing fancy about an income/loss statement, it will help you stay organized and much more prepared once its time to file. Below is a shot of one month of my statement. Super simple, super effective. If anyone is interested in me sending you the template for this just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to do so!
- Use a Schedule C when filing – Use this schedule to report income or loss from a business you operated or a profession you practiced as a sole proprietor. An activity qualifies as a business if: your primary purpose for engaging in the activity is for income or profit, and/or you are involved in the activity with continuity and regularity *source* Basically, if you are reading this your blog has become more than a hobby to you. It is now a business. And as such, you need to make sure you are reporting your blog profits on your taxes!
- What can be deducted as a blogger – This is the tip I found most useful when filing blogging taxes for the first time. The following are a few items that you might not realize you can write off:
- Meals/coffee when on a business trip (blogging conference or blogger meetups)
- Mileage to and from a blogging conference or a photo shoot ((MileIQ is a great app for your phone that will track for you every time you get in the car! Then just save the ones related to blogging!))
- Office square footage ((even just your desk applies)) – find the percentage of space your office is out of your total home and apply that to your overhead expenses for your home. Like heating and energy. This one is tricky so make sure you’re calcualating right. I would definitely consult with a professional on this!
- Office supplies and postage
- Need 1099 if a company sends you more than $600 – product and cash qualify as income. Payments of $10 or more in gross royalties or $600 or more in rents or compensation need to be reported.
- Read instructions and guides for filling out your tax forms on the IRS website – I found this one to be particularly helpful for the form I’m filing.
I hope this was helpful and please let me know if you have any further questions. I might not be able to answer them, but I think I can get you in touch with someone that can!
Thanks for stopping by!