Is My Recording Tax Deductible?

Submitted by adam.borecki on Thu, 12/28/2017 - 11:42

Yes! If you're a musician / composer as your profession, be sure to ask for a receipt for your recording.

If you make money as a musician, keep track of your expenses. Anytime you spend money in order to make money, those are tax deductions.

Recording an audition tape? That's tax deductible.

Recording your student recital? That's tax deductible.

What does "Tax Deductible" mean?

Tax Deductible example: Suppose you made $20,000 from music gigs, but you spent $5,000 on sheet music, car mileage, your instrument, etc. You have to pay taxes as if you made $15,000.

Very useful to lower the amount of money that you owe on taxes. Just remember it's not the same as a credit, so it's still an expense.

Tax Credit example: After deductions, you made $15,000. Suppose you owe the government $1,500, but you bought an electric vehicle which gives you a $300 tax credit. This means you owe the government $1,200.

Way better than tax deductible. But you don't usually have many tax credits as a musician that I know about.

More info: Watch this helpful video from Khan Academy

Pro Tip: Keep track of all the money you make and spend RIGHT NOW

Don't wait until April. Start a Spreadsheet (for free with Google Docs).

Whenever you make money, write it down.

Whenever you spend money, write it down.

Business Loss & Hobby

If you're paid as an independent contractor, try not to lose money!

Suppose you say you're a musician, so you buy $100,000 of musical instruments and sheet music. But you only make $20,000 year. That's a tax loss, and if you have too many tax losses (I believe maximum 2 of every 5 years) then the government will say "Yo, that's a hobby not a business. Stop deducting those expenses and also pay these fees.

Is there paperwork?

If your recording is less than $600, there is no additional paperwork. Just as for a receipt.

If your recording is $600 or more, we need to give you a W9. Then you need to fill out a 1099 next year. Let us know and we'll be happy to help with this process!

What's the catch?

You have to be making music as a profession, not as a hobby.

Avoid losing money as a musician overall, especially for consecutive years.