The Work of Writing, and What to Claim as an Expense
I have recently been thinking about classic works that have left their mark on me and I’m reminded of The Alchemist, Paul Coelho’s 1988 book that provides some powerful life lessons, in it he says;
“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”
What a luxury to be truly able to follow our hearts? To be different is the simplest and greatest thing we can do and for those of us lucky enough to be doing something we really love such as writing as a form of expression, we have the power to create unique work that can inspire.
Axia Sports & Media specialise in accounting for writers and understand that having chosen to follow your dream, you may have experienced some plot twists and turns. However, as a self-employed author/writer, you may be surprised by how many expenses you can claim against tax (and a few you can’t). Rather than let your tax issues ‘block’ your creativity, read on for some advice.
What expenses can an author/writer claim?
Most tax-deductible expenses fall into one of the following areas:
Working from home is more than likely your ‘office’ as an author/writer, therefore expenses including mortgage or rent, council tax, lighting and heating, repairs, and decorating are all tax-deductible. When using your phone and broadband for research purposes, this can also be claimed. Keep in mind that if you employ someone to help you with research and/or proofreading the salary and NI contributions that you make are tax-deductible. Other key costs that can also be claimed include fees to your agent and publisher and subscriptions to the Society of Authors, Writer’s Guild, etc. Axia Sports & Media can help you to calculate these.
When travelling for research purposes, accommodation and subsistence costs associated with your research are allowable but this is a complex area. For example, you may travel abroad to the place your book is based and may choose to stay a bit longer as a holiday, therefore your accommodation costs would need to exclude the holiday element, (except for any incidental local costs incurred on your book project).
There are various costs associated with traveling for meetings, interviews, or research that can be claimed such as, running costs calculated to include fuel, repairs, servicing, insurance, road tax, financing, or leasing costs. Items such as parking, road tolls, and depreciation (capital allowances) can also be claimed. It’s also possible to claim a business mileage allowance but there is a VAT registration limit in the year the car is purchased. We can guide you through the complexities of these expenses.
This can include items such as postage, stationery, and computer expenses. You could also claim for theatre/cinema/museum tickets, reference books, CDs, journals, or newspapers but only if they’re relevant to your genre. Claims for courses, conferences, and any relevant professional fees are also included.
Personal Appearances & promotional material
Promotion of your latest masterpiece, whether it’s on a book tour, in an interview, or at book signings means you may be able to claim for hairdressing and makeup. Hosting and maintenance of your website, adverts, and promotional photos are also allowable expenses.
Only expenses incurred solely in the pursuit of your business are usually allowable – although a percentage might be allowable if used partly for work. However, many expenses aren’t tax-deductible.
For instance, legal fees can’t usually be claimed against tax. Motoring expenses are only allowed when the travel is purely for business purposes. Reasonable costs of food and drink when on a tour can be tax-deductible, however, you can’t claim for the cost of a meal you might buy for your agent or prospective client. It’s important to remember that the cost of your meals isn’t usually allowable, as these could be classed as necessary for both work and leisure.
We understand that life isn’t always a straight line but we’re also lucky to be doing something we love and we’re experts in the field of VAT and taxes.
To see what savings you could make contact Axia Sports & Media for a free initial consultation on 0203 3842224 in the UK or +1 424 228 9700 in the US or at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll guide you through it all. You can then relax, with peace of mind that you’ll receive as much as possible from what you’ve earned.
“No matter what you do, make sure that you do it because it is what your heart and soul desire.” – Paul Coelho, The Alchemist