If you’re making money as a Creator or an Influencer, you are technically making taxable income according to the US government and you need to learn content creator tax write offs to help your bank account when tax season comes around. Making money as a Creator means that you have to treat yourself like a business, including during tax season! It’s important that you learn about tax write offs for content Creators so you can both do the right thing and also get the deductions that you need.
At Sidewalker Daily, we help Creators grow their businesses and we also work with brands on their Influencer campaigns. Basically, we work on both sides of the Influencer industry so we know how important it is for Creators to focus not just on being creative, but also on the business side of things as well. We do have to tell you that this article is not financial advice and you should always speak to an accountant about your tax situation and what you can write off for your specific business. In this article we are covering some common tax write offs for content Creators in the United States to get you prepared for tax season!
Why Pay Taxes As A Creator?
Even if you’re doing content creation as a side hustle, the income you are making through your work is taxable income so you’ll have to pay taxes on it too. We often work with Creators who have full-time jobs and also work as a Creator on the side, so it’s kind of a shocking realization for them when they realize that doing brand partnerships and getting paid for their “side-hustle” is taxable as well.
Even more often, Creators don’t realize that because they are running a business, they are entitled to make certain deductions from that taxable income which could help them pay less taxes to the government in the end. If you don’t already know, a write off is a certain expense that was made for your business that you can deduct from your taxable income at the end of the tax year. Essentially, because a qualified payment you made was required to run your business, it can be deducted from your taxable income.
Knowing how these deductions work and which purchases you count as content Creator business expenses ensures that you are able to lower the percentage of your yearly income that needs to be taxed. In most situations, this can make a huge difference for your final income as a Creator, so it’s so important to learn! It doesn’t matter what you do—there are tax write offs for Influencers, bloggers, and social media users alike.
That was a very simplified version of tax write offs. There are varying levels of write offs based many factors (which your accountant can help clarify for you), but the concept remains the same. Since tax laws vary by country and sometimes states, it’s always important to research and address these questions with an accountant.
Common Creator Write Offs
You might be surprised to find out what counts as tax write offs for Influencers. Understanding how tax write offs work for bloggers, Creators, and Influencers will protect you from making mistakes on your taxes, but it will also help your business run better so that you can grow as a Creator (and make more money).
What is a tax write off that are common for Creators? Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones so you can start to understand how this works and get ready for tax season!
Yes, you can write off office supplies as a Creator! We’re talking about anything that you use to create your content. If you purchased a computer, a new Adobe program, bought a membership for a photo app…these are all tools that you are using directly to create your content as an Influencer.
It’s easy for some of these purchases to fall through the cracks, especially if you’re not working as a full time Creator. But it costs a lot to create content and there are so many pieces that go into it. Keep track of these purchases throughout the year so you can easily look back at them come tax season.
Some other office supplies that count towards your deductions:
- A camera for photoshoots
- Writing and editing software
- Lighting tools for your photography and videography
If you have a website as a Creator, you know that there’s a lot going into it! Much of this can actually count towards your Creator tax write offs because it directly impacts the functioning of your business. If you pay for…
- A yearly domain
- A hosting service/platform
- Website maintenance
- Work by a website developer
…you can write this off. Your website is like a major hub for your business, so anything that involves maintaining the health of your website can count towards your deductions.
Many people in the Influencer industry have to travel for their job. It’s not uncommon for a brand partnership to require some sort of travel—near or far—to get the right location for a photo. Since this travel is directly related to the job, it potentially can be written off on taxes.
Some things from the trip that may be considered for Influencer tax write offs:
Keep in mind that this doesn’t include family trips or for anything on a trip unrelated to getting the job done. In some cases, the write off may be just a portion of the mileage.
At Sidewalker Daily, we always tell Creators that it’s important to invest in yourself if you want to grow! Sometimes this means taking classes or courses that help you run your business and create better content.
Courses that provide education related to your business and help grow your skills as a Creator or business owner are just as work-related as making purchases of tools that help you get the job done. For those in our Creator community that go through our signature Pitching to Brands Mastercourse, to teach them how to land paid brand deals, they can write off the course on their taxes. So if you’ve joined our Pitching To Brands Mastercourse, don’t forget to write it off if you haven’t yet!
People who are self-employed or run a business out of their home may be able to write off a portion of their home office expenses on their taxes. As a content Creator, your “place of business” is more often than not right in your own home.
It’s important to note that it is not a free-for-all to write off the rent or mortgage of your entire apartment or house. We would recommend that you talk to your accountant about your specifics, but in general, the write off for your home office is limited to actual office space. As a very simplified example, consider this:
You live in a 4 bedroom house and one of the bedrooms is used for your home office. In theory, 25% of your entire home’s rent, utilities, wifi, etc can be deducted from your taxes as a home office if you qualify for this content creator tax write off.
This is meant to be a simplified example, not actual tax advice, so make sure you learn more about how to actually write off your home office as you do your taxes.
We just wanted you to be aware that you have these options!
This is a big one! It may get overlooked by Creators and Influencers as something that they can write off on their taxes.
But if you are spending money on ads—Facebook ads, for example—to get new business, then this is very much a content creator business expense.
We see Creators and Influencers trying to do things themselves—the DIY approach—for many aspects of their businesses. There’s a general fear of paying for professional services, especially since they can sometimes get pretty expensive!
However, paying for professional services is often just another way to invest in yourself. Spending money on these things upfront can save you a lot of headaches in the future, which might end up saving you money too. To help offset some of that fear, we had to mention that these professional services, like legal advice for your business, can be tax write offs.
The same goes for doing taxes! Having someone to help you out during tax season to figure all of this out will be a good investment in the long run and help your write off as much as possible. The fee to pay them to help you can also be written off on your taxes.
Creators and Influencers rely on their cell phones a lot! Obviously, your job as a content Creator wouldn’t be possible without your cell phone. That’s how your phone becomes a content creator business expense. If you have a business phone or a phone that is really designated to work, you’re going to want to see if you can write this off (or at least a portion of your cell phone) on your taxes.
We’ve talked about how easy it is to run into burnout as a Creator. One of the big reasons that this is happening is that Creators and Influencers are usually juggling a ton of tasks all at once! That’s why we always suggest finding subcontractors to help Creators with work if they are overwhelmed, or if their business has too much work for one person to handle it all. It allows them to focus on the parts of being a Creator and the business that they’re good at, while someone else assists with other things.
Of course, this is another expense for Creators that they usually want to shy away from. But paying for someone to help you out can actually help you make more money, plus it’s another opportunity for a write off!
Here are some common jobs that Influencers hire out for that can be counted as tax write offs:
- Virtual assistants
- Photography services
- Video editors
- Blog editors
The payments you make to these people are considered content creator business expenses, so make sure you keep track of them and write them off!
Preparing For Tax Season
Landing paid brand deals and making money is an exciting part of being a Creator! But you can’t forget that making money, even as a side hustle, means that you are making taxable income. This is one of the things that many Creators don’t think about when they first start out, so we really hope that this post got you thinking about what you need to do to run your business the right way.
Here’s a quick list of the common Creator write offs we went over:
- Office supplies
- Website management
- Home office
- Professional services
- Cell phone
To become a successful Influencer or Creator, you have to start thinking about your content and your brand like a business owner would. Paying your taxes is a critical part of making sure that you’re doing that. If you’re serious about being an Influencer and are looking for more advice about making money as a Creator and growing your business, set up a one-on-one coaching session with one of our experts. We’re here for you every step of the way, starting with building a personalized strategy to take your business to the next level.
If you found this article helpful, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below if you’re getting ready for tax season or you have a tip to share with the rest of the Sidewalker Daily Creator community!