By B. Eric Rhoads
If you haven’t done your taxes, you should be doing them now (unless you’ve filed for an extension). In either case, there are art-related expenses you may be able to deduct, and I want you to be aware of them.
(Please note that you MUST check with an expert tax attorney or accountant, and know that in order to make certain deductions, there are particular qualifications. Since being an artist is often considered a hobby business, there are specific guidelines you must follow.)
Here is a list of potential deductions to consider (again, check with your experts):
Magazine Subscriptions for Professional Enhancement
Yes, your subscription to PleinAir and/or Fine Art Connoisseur or other publications could be tax-deductible.
Professional Development and Travel
When you invest in training to make you or your art business stronger, you can typically deduct it if its legitimate. That means your attendance at our Plein Air Convention and other development events, including workshops, can potentially be deducted, including your travel costs, mileage, hotel, meals, and registration fees. Also, art-related travel — for meetings with galleries or clients or to other events related to your business — could be deductible as well.
Advertising and Marketing
If you’re advertising in Fine Art Connoisseur or PleinAir, in our PleinAir Today, American Watercolor, Realism Today, Inside Art and Fine Art Today newsletters, or on our websites like OutdoorPainter.com or FineArtConnoisseur.com, you should be able to deduct that expense. And you should also check into deducting the cost of your website and its hosting and maintenance.
Training Materials: Videos, Streams and Books
If you’re buying marketing videos, such as my Art Marketing Boot Camp series, or if you’re buying videos on how to be a better painter, such as those we create at Streamline’s PaintTube, or even our virtual conferences like PleinAir Live, Pastel Live, Realism LiveorWatercolor Live, those too should be tax-deductible, whether you’re using streams, DVDs or downloads. Training books are also usually deductible.
Entry into Art Competitions
You’re entering contests to get noticed, so it’s a marketing expense. Your fees to enter events like our PleinAir Salon may be deductible. (Note that if you win the $15,000 prize, or other cash prizes for your art, you will have to pay taxes on that income.)
Your Studio and Materials
Anything related to your art business, such as a dedicated office or studio space in your home should be deductible — though be careful to make sure the area is dedicated to business, and know that this can be a red flag for audits. You may also be able to deduct supplies, such as brushes, paint, canvas, easels, frames, lighting, etc. You’ll need to check on large items like furniture or printers, which are considered capital expenditures and are often handled with a depreciation schedule.
Note: A special law that applies to 2022 taxes allows you to depreciate 100% of many expenditures in this year’s taxes. This is designed for big equipment, vehicles for your business, and even furniture. It does not apply to buildings or real estate.
Dues, Memberships, and Legal
I deduct my membership fees for the National Arts Club, Salmagundi Club, Oil Painters of America, and the California Art Club, and for other professional memberships. You should be able to as well. You may also be able to deduct fees for copyrights, legal fees, etc.
You can also possibly deduct membership to things like mastermind or coaching groups or major training events.
I cannot advise you on the exact nature of what you can deduct, but these are some things to consider as you do your taxes. Again, there are professionals who specialize in taxes, and even taxes for artists. But you should look into all the deductions you may be able to take; it will be well worth your time. A professional will cost you (and you can deduct that cost) but can often find you deductions you’re not aware of.