Hey there, it's your favorite tax pro, Cofield here. I specialize in helping creatives maximize their income and minimize their taxes. As makers of today's best entertainment, you might not realize how many things you can write off as business expenses. Don't worry, that's why I'm here to help. I know you worked hard to become a screenwriter, so why not keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible.
Let's face it. The TV and film industry is complicated. You put in a lot of effort to get hired on productions as an independent contractor. Then, you must manage and budget your money. Oh, and don't forget you also have to set aside a portion of your income for Uncle Sam.
Balancing it all can be exhausting. And taxes are one thing you don't want to screw up. That's why this article will explain five additional tax deductions you can claim besides your home office and phone bills.
Stop Paying to Netflix & Chill
Next time you want to binge on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, get your notebook ready and take notes. You are no longer watching a movie for pleasure. You are doing research!
Remember, you need to stay up to date on the latest movie and television trends. So you have to be plugged into television streaming platforms, cable shows, and the movies. Next time you go to the movie theater, keep the receipt and don't forget to write off your streaming subscriptions too. These are two expenses you can deduct thanks to your profession.
Join the Union but Write Off the Dues
Writing a script or a few can be hard enough. However, once you are eligible for membership in a screenwriters guild, you don't want to pass up your opportunity to join. For one, the union can provide you protection and serious rewards.
If you can make it through a guild's application process, then you can qualify for some awesome perks like a minimum salary, credit protection for your work, residual checks, healthcare, a pension, and more.
Just think, these are a few of the big perks. But as you know, membership is not free. Good thing for you, when you get paid, you can write off your guild membership dues too.
Write Off that Writing Retreat
If you need a retreat to spark some writing inspiration, take one. Writing retreats are a great way to relax and let your creative juices flow. The best part is you can also network with other writers and have a little fun. Check out this list of top writers retreats, which include everything from mountain getaways to cruises.
However, if you already have a good mastermind group or accountability partners, consider organizing a retreat of your own. All you need is a group of dedicated travelers, a place to go, and no distractions. How hard could that be? Remember to keep your receipts for lodging, meals, airfare, and more so you can legally write off your business trips.
Also, you can write off your adventures and experiences too. Do you want to write about sailing across the vast seas or jumping from a helicopter in your next movie? Why not experience it first, so your words on the page come alive for the reader. Your experiences are real-time research for your film projects and business expenses too.
Scripts, Postage, and More
Administrative costs associated with getting your work made into movies and shows are also tax-deductible. You can write off postage, parking associated with your pitch meetings, fees for submitting your scripts, and even the cost of your agent, if you have one.
Enjoy a Festival or Two to Celebrate You
If 2020 is your big year, I hope your movie gets viewed at as many film festivals as possible. Film festivals are a great way to network, do more movie research, and see real reactions to your work. Use them as an opportunity to explore different cities, see other films, and to learn what's coming out soon in the film industry. There are plenty of top film festivals worth the money. Maybe your work will get featured at several film festivals. Then, you can end the film festival with a celebration or two.
It's essential to keep track of your expenses all year and to start your tax prep early. The advance start can ensure you and I identify all your tax breaks. Once you have your receipts ready, contact me so I can help you complete your taxes!