Tax Time as a Freelance Writer: Do You Have Course Expenses?

Tax Time as a Freelance Writer: Do You Have Course Expenses?

tax time as a freelance writer
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Tax time as a freelance writer doesn’t need to be…well…taxing for a lack of better word. While I prefer having my accountant friend deal with most of it, I like to know if something I pay for can be classed as a business expense.

It took me a long time to realize that course expenses and fees can be classed as an allowable expense. This shouldn’t really be that surprising, though. After all, the courses help with business.

Here are a few course costs and fees that you could deduct from your profits, to save money at tax time as a freelance writer.

Courses to Learn the Art of Writing

There are times that you’ll want to take a course to learn more about the art of writing. You may want to learn more about developing plot lines if you write fiction, or you may want to learn more about online writing if you’re planning on being a non-fiction writer.

These courses are designed to help improve your business. They do work out as an investment, as long as you choose wisely. With that in mind, Uncle Sam is happy for you to deduct them from your profits.

These don’t have to be official college courses, either. You could invest in another freelance writer offering a course. Just make sure you choose someone who has a proven track record of offering good advice and doing well as a freelance writer.

Mentoring Fees for Developing Skills

Good business people invest in a mentor. This is someone who has been through all the mistakes and built a solid business. A great mentor will have already helped others build their successful businesses, too.

The problem is that mentors charge for their time. This can seem like just another expense, but it is one that you can use at tax time as freelance writer. This is a business cost, and an investment. It will end up paying off, but while you are paying for it, you get to take the cost out of your profits.

Don’t put off hiring a mentor just because of the cost. You do make a saving elsewhere, and it is an investment.

Buying Books, Podcasts and Other Learning Materials

Not all learning materials come in the form of courses. Nor do you always have someone to physically talk to. Does that cause a problem when it comes to tax time as a freelance writer?

Of course not! Books, podcasts and anything else you buy to learn more about writing can be classed as a business expense.

And you may not even buy them for learning about writing. You may be researching a different topic for your writing. For example, I buy a lot of history non-fiction books to help me with my history writing. I like to use information from different sources to get a full picture. I also have books on witchcraft to help with my fictional writing as that often involves supernatural and fantasy creatures.

Don’t let tax time as a freelance writer get you down. I do advice hiring an accountant to help, and always make sure you keep your receipts and proof of purchase.

Alexandria Ingham is a professional writer. She predominately ghost-writes in various niches, including fitness, finance and technology Everything is fully researched and well-written. Under her own name, she writes in the technology, business, history and weight loss niches

10 thoughts on “Tax Time as a Freelance Writer: Do You Have Course Expenses?

  1. At the start of my novel writing career, I took five courses on different aspects of fiction writing. They were extremely beneficial and made me thing in different ways. I’d recommend doing the same to any novelist venturing out into the world of ideas. I’m sure it would be the same for all aspects of business.

    1. Taking courses is definitely worthwhile, as long as you choose the *right* courses. Unfortunately, there are people out there just after the money and they put out useless, regurgitated content for that purpose.

  2. I would advise when shopping for an accountant or tax consultant find one that has experience with working with other freelancers. A number of years ago, I had one that nearly bankrupted me.

  3. I’m very familiar with the way taxes work for independent business owners. One day I hope to make that step with my writing, however. For now it’s just a hobby, so my purchases will continue to fall in my hobby expenses category of the budget. Sigh. I so wish I could write them off, though!

    1. Good luck with transitioning from hobby to business, Carrie Ann. Sometimes you just have to put both feet in and jump.

  4. I was amazed at reading this. I am not yet “a freelance writer” and I may never be, but…to be able to deduct the cost of books as a business expense – I’m in!

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