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10 Tax Deductions For Authors to Claim in 2023

There are lots of useful tax deductions for authors that freelance writers can take advantage of. But, just like they are in other industries, tax deductions are commonly under-utilized. This often stems from a lack of knowledge, with some freelancers completely unaware that such tax deductions exist.

This article will hopefully erase any confusion you have over what is and isn’t tax deductible. We’ll also let you know how some of these tax deductions are calculated.

Before we start, we want to preface this by saying that this blogpost article is intended solely for your general guidance based on the information that is publicly available at the time of publishing, and not intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, or other professional of any kind. Please consult with your local accounting professionals to ensure that you’re always compliant with all laws and regulations.

Ready to learn more about your tax deductibles? Let’s go.

So what expenses are deductible for authors?

The answer to this question might surprise you. Everything from your office space to your internet, office decor and travel expenses are classed as tax deductible. You can even write off the online accounting software that you use to manage and automate your tax filing process.

Tax Deductions For AuthorsHowever, the expenses that you can write off will vary depending on your individual tax situation and the tax collection government service you’re under (for example, the IRS in the U.S. has slightly different deductible expenses than HMRC in the United Kingdom).

This article will look at the most universally common tax deductions for authors that you can claim to ensure that your self-employed venture remains profitable.

10 Tax Deductions for Freelance Writers

So, what exactly can you write off? We couldn’t possibly go through everything in this article, but let’s take a look at 10 of the most important.

1. Home office space

Home office space deductions are often your most sustainably valuable tax deductions, regardless of whether you’re in the UK or the U.S.

If you’re in the U.S. and have an exclusive home office space, there are two ways that you can claim tax deductions through the IRS.

The regular method: This method calculates deductions on home-related expenses based on the percentage of your home office space.

The simplified method: This method is calculated at $5 per square foot of your home office space. The maximum size is 300 square feet, and the maximum deduction is $1,500. While it takes a bit of math, it’s worth figuring this one out as you can also receive mortgage interest, utilities, depreciation, etc, for that specific area.

For those of you in the UK, you can claim flat rate deductions, which eliminate the stress of working out individual expenses for business use (utilities, insurance, internet, etc.). These simplified expenses are based on the number of hours that you work from home per month. You can visit the GOV.UK website for more information on how to claim simplified expenses if you’re self-employed.

2. Equipment, supplies, and furniture 

Along with a portion of your internet and phone bill, your office supplies and equipment (such as your computer, printer, paper, and pens) are deductible so long as they’re dedicated to business use. Your office furniture is also deductible, meaning that you can claim not just on your desk and chair, but on your office lamp, filing cabinets, bookcases, etc.

And the best part? Tax deductions include office decor, so you can feel free to buy that braided rug or wall organizer for your home office. But, like all of the above, make sure you’re saving your receipts as you go along for a painless tax filing season.

Tax Deductions For Authors to Claim

3. Advertising and marketing

Whether you’re going down the traditional advertising route or finding new ways to market your ebook online, there’s no escaping the fact that either way, it’s costly.

Advertising and marketing are lesser-known tax deductions that can be a huge help to freelance authors who are self-marketing their work. Anything you pay for in order to promote your services is deductible, including online ads, video ads, business cards, website hosting fees, book copies for publicity, and more.

4. Software

As an author, you probably rely on word processing and editing software like Microsoft Office 365 and Grammarly. You may also use online accounting software or have any number of business management software subscriptions. These are all tax-deductible, meaning that you can improve your writing workflow and your business processes without putting yourself under financial strain.

If you’re UK based, you can even claim on software that helps to make you compliant with MTD (making tax digital). You can read more here about how to be MTD-compliant.

5. Mileage

While you can’t deduct commuting mileage expenses if you travel to a permanent workplace outside of your home, you can deduct mileage expenses for other business errands. For example, you can deduct mileage for business-related trips like traveling to meet clients, traveling to pick up work supplies, or traveling to events.

And, if you have to pay for parking during these trips, you can claim those expenses too.

6. Subscriptions

We’ve already mentioned your software subscriptions, but what about your other business-related subscriptions?

For example, you might subscribe to a writers’ journal that you’re considering writing an article for. Or, you might subscribe to a writers’ newsletter to gain insight into literary trends, writing tips, language, etc. These subscriptions provide opportunities for growth and inspiration, which is why they’re classed as deductible expenses.

Oh, and did you know that you can write off your streaming subscriptions, too? If you’re a fiction author or screenplay writer, using movies to inspire stories, dialogue, and scenes is all in a day’s work. And for non-fiction authors, documentaries can be a key source of information.

However, before you try to write off your Netflix or Amazon Prime, be aware that if you’re using the services for personal and business use, you can only claim a portion of the expenses.

7. Travel (including hotel costs and meals)

If you’re traveling specifically for business-related reasons, you can write off many of the costs associated with your trip. For example, if you were attending a conference or going on an author tour in another part of the country, you could write off the mileage, taxis, hotel costs, and meals. You can even write off the car rentals or plane tickets if you’re going further afield.

claim tax deductions for authors

Understandably, there are some restrictions in place when it comes to deducting travel expenses. It has to be strictly business-related, meaning that you can’t deduct the mini-vacation you take after your work duties have ended. And, as it stands, you can only deduct half of the value of meals (and it doesn’t include alcoholic beverages) if you’re based in the U.S.

8. Professional services

Most authors will require the services of an agent, editor, publicist, and book cover designer, all of which you can deduct the costs of. You can also deduct the costs of the accountant you hire to manage your finances, the lawyer you appoint to help you navigate complex contracts, and more.

9. Education 

If you were an employee, your employer would cover the cost of training and provide resources for continuous education. As a freelancer, these costs fall on your shoulders. It’s not something that you can afford to miss out on either—staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and continually refining your writing skills are both critically important to your success as an author.

Courses, books, lectures, conferences, and even some types of certifications can be deducted, providing they are directly related to your career and serve the purpose of education.

10. Job hunting

The volume of writers and authors is on the rise. In the U.S., there were over 49,000 working writers and authors in 2021, while there are estimated to be as many 84,600 authors, writers, and translators in the UK.

volume of writers and authors

As more authors flock to the market, job-hunting can become more grinding and expensive. Luckily, you can claim tax deductions on any activity you take in your pursuit of work, such as signing up to an online freelance gig platform, traveling for interviews, and attending networking events, etc.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re an introvert looking for a side hustle or a seasoned writer wanting to enjoy the freedom of full-time self-employment, becoming a freelance author can improve your career opportunities and work-life balance. But there’s no denying that the extra cost of utilities, professional services, marketing, and the like, can get pretty expensive.

Tax deductions for authors are there to equalize the fact that employers finance things like office equipment, education pursuits, and conference expenses. It’s a provision that aims to help freelance writers maintain a sustainably profitable business. Other tax deductions, like meals and office decor, also come in handy for keeping you afloat and thriving.

We hope that these 10 examples of tax deductions for authors have inspired you to start saving all of your receipts ready for the tax season.

While receiving tax deductions might be great, it’s even better to enjoy free services as an author! You can build a professional author website for free using Payhip (no coding skills needed)! Read more about this on our How to Create an Author Website guide.


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