Are you a master at saving receipts? Every year, we all have to pay taxes to someone, but working as your own business, you may have had to pay for things that were needed in direct correlation with you getting paid for a job. This does call for some creative thinking at times, to propose the idea of ‘what can be a tax deduction’. Before I go into this, PLEASE note I am not an accountant. I have worked as a contractor for most of my career in acting and voice talent work. The following only constitutes possibilities or ideas of deductions.
The best way to find out for sure is to have taxes done with a registered professional. I am going to share below what I have been able to deduct as a voice talent, and also an actor, and why. Here is a link listing odd tax deductions that people have tried before, and as funny as some of them may seem…when cash is tight, we all get very creative!
Out of all the deductions, this is the one voice talent should be careful with:
- A home office that is not separate from other areas of living and entertainment space may not be considered a tax deduction. For example, if you record in a porta-booth in the same room as your television or bedroom.
This is why I state voice talent should seek consultation with a tax accountant, before getting too creative with deductions. The key is that it has to tie directly into your income, meaning that you had to pay for it to do your job to make the income. These are tax deductions I have used in the past that were directly related to my income:
- Haircut – Needed for commercial work
- Headshots – Marketing expense
- Paying for Voice123 – Marketing expense
- Getting demo produced – Marketing expense
- Memory upgrades, flash drives, new computers, subscription services – Equipment
- Studio and equipment rental – Sometimes things break down, and we all have to buy the proper tools to get work.
- Promotional materials – Did you pay someone to do work for you, in order to get work?
- Working from home costs – Internet, cell, electricity and materials directly related to operating costs of your voice over business.
There could be more, but this is why I say, ‘Save receipts, and hire a professional to do your taxes’. They pay attention to changes in tax laws, and updates. It also is not a bad idea to shop around for to do your taxes. The main reason being is that tax accountants may get complacent with handling your taxes, and some accountants may be more aware of new deductions than others. Regardless, make sure it is someone you trust. My tax accountant clears his schedule for me because after years of being with him, he knows I will be giving him a hard time with my collection of receipts.
Note: Even though less than 2% of people paying taxes get audited, you still never want to have it happen to you.