Thursday, April 15, 2010

Is it a Business If You Don't Make Money?

Tax time has rolled around, and for the second year in a row, I owe money. Just great. As if watching all my hard-earned cash go to bills, in particular that @#$% student loan, rent and writing expenses last year weren't enough. But, hang on there; what about those writing expenses?

It's taken me years to learn what several writers have already figured out; if you're almost neurotic about keeping receipts for your writing expenses, you can claim the items and services as tax deductions. So, that writing conference I took last year? So noted on my 1040. As was my payment to the freelance editor, and the yearly cost of my website hosting. Keeping my fingers crossed that I filled everything out correctly on Schedule C, otherwise I'm sure some nice, friendly person at the IRS will tell me. (cringing)

Yet, part of me still wonders, can I legitimately call my writing a business if it hasn't made me lots of money? The IRS says I can, which is great. The fact that I take it seriously, and have committed myself to querying, conference attendances and networking says this is far from a hobby. But it certainly hasn't been a lucrative business. Thank God I'm not in it for the money. Although a little of that coming into my pockets rather than out of my bank account would be nice. 


N. Gemini Sasson said...

This year I'm keeping track of my writing expenses (although I'm really dreading how to fill out those forms). But for years we claimed our dog breeding kennel as a business. I'd say we made money about 1 in every 4 or 5 years. Must have looked legit, because we were never audited - and I'm hugely thankful for that!

Sheila Lamb said...

Its a business. At least there is some write off for the conferences. I hadn't even thought about that, so I'm going to start scrounging for receipts for next year (conference, website, postage stamps!).

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