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10 easy tax deductions for bloggers and other online businesses

I'm at a BlogathonATX today, a conference for bloggers here in my current home town of Austin.

Last week, I was at a personal finance bloggers conference, FinCon12, in Denver.

One thing both of these get-togethers has underscored is that blogging is a business. That's a hard lesson for many bloggers. It's also something that other more traditional business owners sometimes overlook, especially in the owners' initial enthusiam to get their ideas and products out to the public.

The bottom line, literally, is that you need to run any business like a business; that is, to make money.

Open sign

Jim Yih, the founder of Retire Happy blog (which has morphed into a full-fledged business beyond its Web log origins), talked about the business of blogging at FinCon12.

Among the principles that Jim addressed was planning. He focused on the groundwork of starting your own business, but as a tax geek I immediately thought about how crucial solid tax planning is for any business.

10 quick business deductions: And one tax area where planning can really pay off is deductions.

Every small business relies on deductions to lower taxable income. So for my fellow bloggers, as well as for other small business that have an online component -- which is 99.9 percent of them nowadays -- here are some tax deductions you should consider claiming:

  1. Domain registration fees
  2. Web hosting fees (monthly, annually, etc.)
  3. Internet access charges (you have to get online to add to, work on the site!)
  4. Design fees, e.g., your website, logo, specialty logos for a post or product
  5. Consultant fees (paid to, for example, many of the designers, SEO -- search engine optimization -- experts, blogging platform specialists here at BlogathonATX today!) to set up or upgrade your website and/or blog
  6. Software, e.g., design programs such as Photoshop, animation features, audio/video programs for podcasts
  7. Phone charges, i.e., long distance related to running your blog/business website, as well as a second phone line specifically for your business
  8. Computers, including mice, keyboard and printers
  9. Web cameras, tripods, lighting, etc., to help showcase your posts or products visually
  10. Conference fees and travel costs to the events

Told you they were easy write-offs!

Another one of Jim's business principles was to work harder and smarter. I'm definitely going to adhere to the second part of that directive by pointing you to sites where other people have done a lot of hard work in the business tax dedution area. Hey, I'm a motorsports fan (and writer!), so I know there's no need to reinvent wheels.

You can find more blogger/business deductions at:

Official deduction suggestions: Uncle Sam even has some deduction tips.

The Internal Revenue Service's Schedule C, which sole proprietors file with their Form 1040 each year, breaks out deductions by categories. You'll find details about these write-off areas in the Schedule C instructions.

The IRS also has a great small business tax calendar and other tools for business owners.

Document. Document. Document: Let me offer one other piece of advice.

While you should take every single self-employed/business tax break to which you're entitled, make sure you have documentation for the deductions.

The IRS knows that the easiest way to cheat on your taxes is to run your own business. So it's looking for any chance to audit your return.

And if an IRS examiner questions your claim and you don't have the paperwork (which can be digitally saved) to back it up, your deduction can be automatically disallowed.

So hang onto those receipts and work logs and all other material to support your deductions. And then claim them with confidence!

You also might find these items of interest:


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Sam Ketter

That’s a great site you folks have been carrying out there.

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