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Can Authors Expense Publishing Fees On Taxes?

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

KWE Publishing Newsletter - 02/16/23

As we continue into 2023, we're getting closer to (almost) every adult's least favorite time of year: tax time.

Many authors are considered to be self-employed by the IRS. As an author (or soon-to-be author), you might be wondering what expenses you're allowed to write off on your taxes. We'll give you a brief rundown on what can and can't be expensed.

Two quick caveats:

1) When we're talking about taxes, this only applies to residents of the U.S., as other countries have different tax regulations.

2) At KWE Publishing, we're experts in publishing—not taxes. We always recommend authors do their own research and talk to tax professionals if they have detailed questions. That said, we're happy to share what we know. :)

Here's a list of what authors can expense:

  • Fees related to the publication of your book (purchasing ISBNs, printed proofs, etc.)

  • Costs of paying an illustrator, editor, marketer, publisher, etc. for your book

  • Subscriptions for Microsoft Office, storage on Google Drive, extra data, and other tools used to write your manuscript

  • Reference materials, such as magazines, journals, etc.

  • Phones, laptops, etc., that are required for the creation of your book

  • Promotional material/advertisements for your book

  • Domain names/website fees for hosting your book's website

  • Office-related expenses (as long as the office is used in the creation process of your book)

What authors can't expense:

  • Something that's unrelated to your book, like trips, haircuts, etc.

  • A cell phone, laptop, or space that isn't used for the creation/publication of your book

  • Legal fees

The short version: you can expense anything that is a need related to the creation and publication of your book.

There are a few gray areas when it comes to write-offs. For example, if you have a home office that you use for both the publication/creation of your book and for other uses, expensing this can be a little tricky. In these cases, it's best to consult a CPA to ensure you're making appropriate write-offs.

Throughout the year, make sure you keep important receipts for any purchases, fees, and services that occur as you write, revise, and publish your book. Having these receipts in one place will make it much easier to figure out what you'll expense.

Again, we recommend authors see a CPA, especially if they have any questions about internet service fees, devices, or space that are partially used for business and partially used for personal reasons, etc.

Did you know that you could write off expenses as an author? What tricky topics would you like us to cover next? Let us know; we love hearing from you!

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