I’m going to talk about something that rarely gets talked about when you’re a YouTuber, blogger and/or influencer… and that’s taxes!
What can you claim as a deductible? What can you not claim? What tips do I have to stay organized during tax season so I don’t get a huge tax bill (and an audit!)?
First thing first, social media influencers do have to pay taxes and if you’re serious about it, I highly recommend you treat it like a business.
If you’re earning money or receiving free gifts, yes, you do have to file it!
DISCLAIMER Before I continue, I need to disclose that I am not a licensed CPA. This post was written from my own personal experience with filing my taxes as a digital influencer, not from a professional perspective. If you need legal advice regarding your taxes, please consult with a licensed CPA or trusted tax preparer. I can only speak from my own experience. Also, please note that my advice and experience come from my residency, so income and taxes may vary depending on the country or state you reside.
Things you can deduct (typical tax deductions)
Such as apps used for photo editing (ie Lightroom) and video editing (final cut pro)
Anything technical I use for my business (ie: camera, SD cards, charger, computer)
3. Props for shoots & videos
For example, if I have to use flowers for a photoshoot, that’s tax-deductible
Percentage of my Wi-Fi I use at home
5. Percentage of my office space
I have a dedicated office that is specifically for working)
6. Office supplies
This also includes office snackies! Anything an employer would find in an office fridge, such as yogurt, bottled water, candy…. you can write off snacks for your office. I recommend ringing up separately)
7. Traveling for my business
Such as traveling to workshops, speaking engagements & photoshoots)
This includes workshops, courses & even subscriptions such as Kindle unlimited, LinkedIn learning & Skillshare
9. Percentage of my cell phone
Since it’s used for my business
10. Services used
Such as photography shoots & graphic design services
11. Website upkeep
This includes web hosting, domain renewal & WordPress theme)
If I’m doing giveaways… I can add expenses related to hosting that giveaway)
Things you cannot deduct
As much as I would LOVEEEE to be able to claim clothes I wear for videos and shoots, Uncle Sam says no. A U.S. Tax Court ruling in 2011 reaffirmed this tax law when a judge rejected a TV anchorwoman’s efforts to deduct tens of thousands of dollars in clothes she bought to wear on air. If you plan to wear the clothes outside of work… you can’t deduct
Unfortunately, the money you use to look like a snack is not a valid business expense. You can write off makeup used for stage or photo shoots, but not if you wear the same makeup outside of work.
If you plan to wear your hair the same way outside of work (ie: wigs and extensions) then you cannot deduct
I learned that if it’s suitable for everyday use, it’s not a deductible!
Blogging as a business tips
Here are a few tips I recommend when it comes to your influencer business
Set yourself up as a business
Breonna Queen is a LLC. I pay quarterly taxes, have a business checking/saving account, business cards and I’m currently trying to build my business credit (yes, issa’ thing!). Treat your blog and influence as a business, not a hobby!
Save Money During Your Tax Filing By Staying Organized
Use apps like Wave Apps or Quickbooks to stay organized. Both apps have a receipt app so you can literally take photos of every business receipt and stay organized. Both apps also allow you to link your accounts and sync your transactions so you know your expenses and income.
Put away 20% for taxes
A good guesstimate for taxes you’ll be paying for the year is around 20% of your income so when tax season rolls around, you won’t be scrambling for the money when it’s time to pay the IRS. You may or may not end up paying the entire 20% depending on your business expenses, but it’s good to be prepared.