26 Tax Write-Offs for Independent Musicians

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Listen, we get it — just because you’re used to counting time, that doesn’t mean you’re a math whiz. Taxes in particular can easily trip people up, with their complex rules and rapidly changing tempo.

Luckily, there’s an easy trick all independent musicians can use to save money on their taxes. By writing off all the ordinary business expenses you run up every day, you can easily lower your tax bill several octaves. Talk about music to your ears!

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Audio editing software
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 18

Adobe, Audacity, GarageBand are necessary for the job and therefore tax-deductible.

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Recording equipment
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 22

PA systems, cables, mics, and other hardware used to record or project music is tax-deductible.

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Website & hosting fees
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 8

Squarespace, Wix, GoDaddy, and other website service fees are fully tax-deductible.

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Seminars & workshops
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 27a

Coaching, seminars, or workshops used to maintain your work-related skills can be written off.

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Instruments & accessories
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 27a

Instruments, cases, bows, music stands, even your music library are tax-deductible expenses.

Music streaming services
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 27a

Spotify, Pandora, and other services help you keep up with industry trends and do research for your own work.

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Advertising
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 8

Print and online advertising costs for your business are considered write-offs.

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Creative assistance
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 11

If you need to hire an editor, designer, photographer, or other creative pro, write off what you pay them.

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Phone, laptop, accessories
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 27a

If buy a phone or laptop and use it for work, it's partially deductible.

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Equipment depreciation
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 13

The depreciation on your machinery and equipment is considered tax-deductible.

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If you drive for work ...

It might be music to your ears to find out that you can deduct car expenses if you drive for work, like to get to a gig or band practice.

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Parking
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 27a

Parking for a meeting downtown, or any other work trip, is tax-deductible!

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Tolls
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 27a

A toll while driving to or from a work destination is tax-deductible!

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Car purchase & depreciation
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 13

If you buy a new car, you can write off part of the cost every year for five years.

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Vehicle tool kit
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 22

Flashlights, tire iron, duct tape, and other tools you may need in your vehicle are deductible.

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Car insurance & registration
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 15

Car insurance monthly fees, registration, even roadside assistance are partially deductible.

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Car maintenance
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 9

Oil changes, repairs, and regular checkups are all tax-deductible if you drive for work.

If you discuss work at a restaurant ...

If you go out to eat or grab a drink with a venue owner, promoter, producer, or agent to promote your music, it counts as a business expense and can be written off your taxes.Similarly, getting food or drinks with fellow musicians to talk about trends in the music industry also counts!

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Business meals
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 24b

If you discuss work with a coworker, mentor, client, or prospective client, it's a write-off!

If you leave town for work ...

If you're playing at an out-of-town gig, you can write off the associated travel expenses, like renting a van or booking accommodations.

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Transportation
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 24a

Planes, trains, and car rentals are all work-related travel costs that can be written off.

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Travel lodging
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 24a

When you travel for work, lodging expenses such as hotel rooms or Airbnb are write offs.

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Meals while traveling
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 24a

When you're traveling for work, all meals are tax-deductible. Even takeout!

If you work from home ...

If you have a home studio or just a dedicated workspace to research and compose music, you can write off some of your home office expenses.

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Home office furniture
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 18

A desk, chairs, lamps, and other home office necessities are all tax write-offs.

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Property repairs
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 21

You can write off up to $2,500 for individual repairs to your property.

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Power bill
Write it off using:

Form 8829

Gotta keep the lights on in your home office! A portion of your electricity bill counts.

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Property insurance
Write it off using:

Form 8829

Whether it's rental or homeowners insurance, you can write off a portion through your home office deduction.

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Water bill
Write it off using:

Form 8829

It'd be hard to work in an office without running water, huh? You water bill counts.

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Wi-Fi bill
Write it off using:

Schedule C, Box 25

Your Comcast bill is a tax write-off. You need internet to do your job!