Whether you’re gigging part time or trying to make music a full time career, your music is your business and you need to treat it like one. Many small business owners, especially artists, find the financial logistics of running their business daunting and at times confusing, however it isn’t nearly as stressful as it may seem. Once you have established your business with the state, you’ll be able to write off certain expenses come tax season. [what is a tax write off ] A professional tax preparer can guide you through this process and we highly recommend you get one! Meanwhile, start saving those receipts because here’s a list of items you can write off for your music business that you may not have known.
Recording Costs. Recording your songs and getting them out on streaming channels is hugely important for getting your name out there. Many artists stress the costs of paying for professional recording, but what you may not have realized is that not only do we have some highly professional and affordable recording studios in this state, your cost for recording that new single is also a write off! So while it is money out of your pocket up front, it’s also reduces your tax bill later!
Merch. Whether it’s t-shirts, stickers, vinyls or cassette tapes, the money you spend on merch for your fans is also a business expense and therefore a write off on your tax return. As always, be sure to save the receipts for your purchases so you can accurately log your expenditure.
Musical instruments. This one may come as a surprise and thrill to you! Yep, if you need a shiny new guitar for your recording session or stage performances, that’s a write off! Here’s to just one more reason to lean in to your guitar shopping addiction!
Mileage. This one will add up more than you may realize! The miles you put on your vehicle driving all over the mountain state and beyond for gigging can take it’s toll. Fortunately, writing off miles is a great way to offset the wear and tear. Alternatively, you can write off your cost of gas, but writing off miles is usually the better option. (note: you cannot write off both). This is why finding a professional tax preparer will come in handy as they know the ins and outs of what and how to write off your mileage and more.
Apps. Here’s another one you may not have realized. If you are using Canva pro or any other graphic design apps for your concert flyers or if you are paying for Spotify or Apple and use those as tools for inspiration, sharing your music, etc. These expenses could be writes off as well.
Food. Last, but certainly not least! The food you spend on the road when touring? Also a write off! Yep, hitting the drive thru before a gig? Write off. Getting your coffee fix in time for soundcheck? Write off. Post gig meal? Write off!
Now before you go out on a shopping spree for whiskey, leather jackets and cigarettes on your way to a show thinking you can just write them off, remember there are limitations! We recommended calling a tax office like Liberty or HR Block for professional guidance on your business finances.