Can You Claim Photography Equipment on Taxes?
Can you claim photography equipment on taxes? The answer is yes. In an industry where most people are freelance and work for themselves, claiming equipment and other work-related expenses on your taxes is a huge benefit. Sometimes you spend more money on job related expenses than you owe in taxes and that would entitle you to a refund.
Step 1: Get a Receipt
The most important rule in writing off equipment for your taxes is SAVE EVERY RECEIPT. This will help track every expense in your business and is essential to good bookkeeping. Even more important, if you get audited then you have to back up your write offs or risk being accused of tax evasion.
Step 2: Make Sure You Qualify for Write-Offs
The next most important rule is that you must be in a position to be qualified to do this. If you're hired by a client and put on their payroll, where your check gets deductions, then you probably can't write off your equipment. But if you're hired as an independent contractor (aka 1099), then you can write off all the equipment you had to buy for that job. Even if the equipment costs more than you made on the gig, you can write it off under the argument that you needed to spend that money to make money. Keep in mind that you can only write it off once.
Step 3: Understand What You Can Write Off
Equipment is not the only stuff you can write off. Computer programs, like Photoshop, can be written off if you used it for work. The gas you spent going to work can be written off, along with the money you spent on your breakfast and lunch for the day. You can even write off books you bought about photography as research.
Being a 1099 employee is like being your own business, without forming your own business. But, it can also be limiting too. You can only write off items that were directly used on the jobs you worked. If you want to broaden your business and write offs, then maybe you should incorporate yourself.
Step 4: Hire an Expert During Tax Season
Accountants can be expensive to keep going to all year. But, you
should definitely spend the extra money to hire one to do your taxes.
Filing your taxes by yourself might seem simple, but accountants are
professionals. Taxes are their business and they know all the rules and
tricks to writing off as much as you can. The money they can save you
might be twice as much as their fees. Not many investments can give you