Monday, January 26, 2015

A Step in the Write Direction--January 26, 2015--More Tax Tips for Writers

A Step in the Write Direction

January 26, 2015

Update: Today is our youngest daughter’s 50th birthday. Hard to believe! How quickly the years pass by. Happy birthday, Patty!…My husband has a couple of medical tests coming up—one today and one a week from tomorrow, so appreciate your prayers, as always… There's a really good FREE writers' weekly newsletter it'll pay you to subscribe to. Go to It gives new markets, contests, grants, etc., and purchases one short writers' article each week. I sold them one last week titled "I'm a Caregiver! How Do I Find Time to Write?"

QUESTION: I want this blog to be yours, not all about me. I know the last couple of months have been writers’ devotions and tax tips, but now back to writers’ tips. What would YOU like to see? Do you have writing questions you’d like answered? Send them in! Also, if you enjoy receiving this blog, tell your friends. I'd like to add more to the mailing list.

Thought for Today: “Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it’s a letdown, they won’t buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book” (Mickey Spillane).

Song for Today:
If at the dawn of the early morning
He shall call us one by one,
When to the Lord we restore our talents,
Will He answer thee, “Well done”?
            Fanny J. Crosby “Will Jesus Find Us Watching?”

Laugh for Today: A highway patrolman pulled an older woman over for going too slow. “You’re only going 35 miles an hour,” he told her. “But that’s what the sign says,” she replied. “That’s the route number,” he told her, “not the speed limit.” “Oh,” she said. “No wonder the women in the backseat were screaming when I was on Route 101.”

Income Tax Deductions for Writers (miscellaneous; this is the last of the deductions. If you have any tax questions, feel free to email me at:

Line 27, Other expenses. These expenses are covered in Part V, page 2, of your Schedule C and include such things as:

Conferences/courses. Note: These conferences or courses must be to “improve your skills in your present occupation,” not to learn a new one. In other words, you must show in some way—submission records, rejection letters, assignments, and so on—that you’ve been working at writing for a while and want to improve your skills. You’re not taking a course or attending a conference just to learn how to become a writer.

Permissions. Did you pay to use a quotation in a book or article? Deduct this here.

Contest fees. Any fee to enter a manuscript in a contest.

Critiquing/editing. Did you pay someone to edit your manuscript? That cost is deductible.

Postage. Until editors began accepting queries and manuscripts via e-mail, this was a writer’s biggest expense. You can buy a roll of stamps strictly for business, keep track of the expense as it happens, or invest in a postage meter.

Books/publications/tapes/CDs. As a writer, you are fortunate that almost every periodical you buy can be deducted as it is a possible market. Be honest, however, and don’t count a magazine you buy purely for entertainment without any thought of ever submitting anything to that editor. Books on writing or reference materials can be counted here, as well as tapes and CDs bought at writers’ conferences.

Printing/copies. This includes letterhead stationery (or that could also go under advertising or supplies), photocopies of manuscripts, copies of handouts for conferences, posters/postcards, and any books/booklets you self-publish.

Gifts/cards. Keep track of gifts and cards you buy for other writers, or for someone who helped you with a project or a workshop. (Right now the deductible limit for gifts per person is $25.)

Camera/film/developing. A camera you buy strictly for business can be deducted 100 percent here, or prorated if you only use it partly in your writing. Film and developing for writing-related photographs are also deducted here, along with professional photos you have taken at a studio.

Tape recorder/tapes/digital recorders. Used for interviewing purposes.

Hotel/motel. This can also go under travel, and includes any overnight trips for a conference or writing project. If you stayed extra nights for personal reasons, deduct only the nights required for business. If you took your spouse along, determine what the cost would be for one person only, and deduct only that amount unless it’s necessary for him or her to accompany you to help with your business.

Dues. This relates to dues for a writers’ association, not a club for entertainment purposes only.

Phone/Internet. At one time IRS allowed you to prorate your personal phone and take a percentage for business. Now, in order to deduct telephone expenses, you need a separate line. If you have only one line, however, you still can deduct any long-distance business calls, along with such things as Call Waiting or Conference Calling installed specifically for business. Your monthly Internet cost can also be deducted here, as well as a cell phone used mainly for business.

Bank charges. If you have a separate business account, you can deduct any monthly charges and the cost of your checks.

Office in home. This can be complicated, so I will just touch on the subject here, but suffice it to say that it must be a room or a portion of a room used only for business. The IRS can get particular on this, especially if you also have W-2 income from an outside job. Be ready to show proof if you take this deduction. If you choose to take it, keep records on such things as real estate taxes; mortgage interest; home insurance; repairs such as roof, air conditioning, heating, and plumbing; landscaping; exterminating; carpet cleaning; and so on. Figure the percentage of square feet you use for business and multiply these expenses by this percentage. You can also depreciate the business portion of your home but that’s a little too much to get into in this blog. Talk to your accountant about this.

Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

·           A Step in the Write Direction—the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers (with assignments throughout); original copies now on sale for half-price--$12.50, $3.17 s&h)
·          The Freedom of Letting Go (with discussion questions; can be used in S.S. class or small group); original copies without questions now on sale for half-price--$7.50, $2.69 s&h)
·          Healing in God’s Time (story of Dave Clark, composer of 25 songs that have gone to #1 on the charts); was $15; now $10, $2.69 s&h)
·          The Little Book of Big Laughs (105 purse/pocket-size book of clean jokes); up to 4 for same s&h—$2.32
·          Preparing Your Heart for Christmas (31 Advent Devotions) half-price - $5
·          Michigan and Ohio Cookbooks; half-price $5 each, plus s&h (depending on number ordered)
·          100-Plus Motivational Moments for Writers and Speakers – half-price $5, $2.69 s&h (This is free if you purchase 4 other books.)
·          Grandmother, Mother, and Me Anthology (stories, poetry, and recipes);
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·          Celebrating Christmas with…Memories, Poetry, and Good Food
(above three anthologies now half price--$12.50, $3.17 s&h)

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