Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cartoonist Tax Deductions

I read this on a colleague's blog (which has now myseriously disappeared, otherwise I would link to it):

"I've heard that if you play your cards right, you can enjoy many benefits come tax season. I've heard you can write off supplies, rooms in your home, costs of printing, etc..."

These are good questions. I deduct these items from my US taxes that I need for my cartooning:

  • travel expenses (subway, cab fare, mileage) to and from any pro cartoon-related event;
  • related media (cable, newspapers, cartoon books, movies);
  • supplies;
  • subscriptions;
  • dues;
  • any meals that are had during a meeting with a cartoonist (unless the other cartoonist picks up the tab);
  • software/hardware;
  • postage;
  • a percentage of the square footage of my apt; same portion of utilities.

I think that those are the main things.

Sticking points:

  • travel expenses for mileage can be written down and kept in a calendar for that purpose. I use Google to figure out the mileage to my home and the cartoon-related event since I'm always forgetting to look at the odometer;
  • related media is a sticking point. Since I track trends and what people are talking about, anything from a newspaper to a movie is fair game IN MY OPINION. I am prepared to argue this if I am challenged;
  • supplies -- and I deduct the mileage to and from the office supply store as well;
  • subscriptions -- for instance, I deduct a PLAYBOY subscription since it's one of my markets. Yeah, I only read it for the cartoons, etc;
  • dues (to professional and affiliated groups -- for instance, I take out my dues for the NCS as well as the Freelancers Union and so on);
  • meals are OK, as long as they're business-related -- but you can only deduct a portion of the actual expense on your taxes -- if you're doing your taxes with a tax program, the tax program will do it for you;
  • software/hardware related to your cartoon drawing -- I really could not figure out a valid way to deduct an iPod;
  • postage for submissions, invoices, etc., natch;
  • a percentage of the square footage of my apt. & utilities (any tax program/professional can easily guide you thru this and it's a lot easier than you think).

I have no idea if this will help you. This is all stuff I've been doing for years and I am no tax expert. Remember that! If you want a tax expert, go get one!

Regardless, it's easy to do. Or, I should say, easier than I thought it was. And the tax programs -- at least the Tax Cut from Kiplinger that I use -- can guide your through this and are available now.

There were always 2 reasons why I did not go freelance for many years: fear of no health care and fear of dealing with the paperwork. Those were dumb reasons.

Oh, and if I or this blog mysteriously disappears one day, then, well, heh heh -- I was all wrong.

No comments: