February 14, 2011 – Musician’s Taxes

In doing my taxes for the past few years, I have learned a lot about being self employed.

  1. If you have a designated home “studio” or office that you don’t use for any other reason, you can deduct it from you taxes. I find it hard to get anything done but teaching and practicing in my studio area, so I think it’s safe to say that is an area I can write off on my taxes. You calculate the square footage of your home and then measure the room and calculate a percentage of that square footage of living area. The rent and utilities are all things that can be deducted, so save your utility receipts and rent receipts.
  2. Keep track of expenses for training workshops and conferences. Keep airline fare receipts, ground transportation receipts, and food expenses. You can also claim a per diem for out of town trips for meals and incidental expenses.
  3. Keep track of your mileage used on your own personal vehicle to travel to gigs and other events. Mileage rates change from year to year, but keeping track of this expense adds up in the long run if you make many trips out of town.
  4. You can write off the depreciated value of your musical instruments used for playing and teaching. It take seven years to depreciate an instrument. This is wise to do for teaching instruments since cheaply acquired student instruments don’t go up in value through the years.
  5. Keep track of supplies purchase for the office, recitals, and other expenses related to your studio. Since music is consumable (frequently lost or written in), you do not need to depreciate it over a number of years.

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