Before you read the rest of this article, all of us here at Novel Publicity urge you to have a professional tax expert look over your forms before you hand them over to Uncle Sam. Some expenses are obvious, like paying an editor or proofreader for their services, or agent fees.

If an expense doesn't make sense for your business and you can't prove that you need it, then err on the side of caution and let it go. That being said, if you have tracked your expenses throughout the year and have documentation, then here are some ones you may want to add to your list.

Mileage

Unless you went to a conference before the shutdown in March 2020, you might not have a lot of miles to write off. You'd be surprised at what counts when it comes to writing things off. Ask your tax professional for a full list, and make sure it includes trips to the office supply store. 

While we're in a category related to vehicles, add highway toll and parking fees to the list as well, but leave off those parking tickets. Uncle Sam won't help with those.

Software

Whether you buy software programs outright or pay a subscription fee, if you use it for writing then you can write it off. You can find a starter list at www.novelpublicity.com/resources, but here are a few to get you started.

  1. BookFunnel
  2. Newsletter providers like Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign
  3. Web-based graphic programs like Canva or BookBrush
  4. Anything you use for your website including domain hosting and WordPress plug-ins
  5. Cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google, or OneDrive

And if you're filing for 2020 and paid for Zoom, then be sure and add that to the list, too!

Cell Phone

Do you use your cell phone for author-related conversations? If you answered yes, then determine what percentage of the calls make up that portion and add it to your list of write-offs.

Marketing & Promotions

Do you have business cards? How about fun reader gifts branded with your logo? Copies of paperbacks that never made it to book signings? Add them to the list along with any other marketing or promotional items including, but not limited to LitRing promotions.

Subscriptions and Memberships

If you subscribe to an industry magazine like Writers Digest or carry membership in an author-centric organization such as RWA, SFWA, or MWA, then you can write off any related fees. In the case of the latter, you can also write off the cost to attend in-person meetings and events.

3 Bonus Tax-Time Tips for Savvy Authors

Here are three things we recommend you do to prevent next year's tax-time freak-out.

  1. Keep digital copies of your receipts and upload them to cloud storage.
  2. Pick a designated day each month to look back over the previous one and write down any deductions. Check your bank and credit card statements as well as your cell phone bill.
  3. If possible, have a designated card that you use for your author-related expenses.

No matter what time of year it is when you're reading this, it's never too early to start planning ahead. Your tax person will thank you—especially if you are your own tax person!

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