What can you expense as a freelancer? The “Musician” Edition 🎹
We know tax deduction is music to your ears. So let the music play! 🥁
Before the entire freelancing community started using it, the word “gig” originally referred to a live performance by musicians. Gig is short for the word “engagement” and was originally coined in the ’20s by jazz musicians. So, musician friends, you gave us the word gig, in return we give you the word deduction!
Instruments and hardware
Guitars, amplifiers, microphone, USB MIDI Keyboard Controller, Piano Tuning...
Everything and anything you buy to make sound can be deducted from your taxes.
Music Books, Leadsheets, Books, Publications & Technical Literature... Whether it’s a subscription to a tablature website or the songbook from your favorite artist, everything and anything you buy to learn how to play new songs for your next engagement is part of your work expenses.
Transportation, lodging, meals, wardrobe (exclusive stage wear only), booking commissions... Everything and any costs associated with gig nights (or multi-city tours) can be deducted from your taxes.
Computer Software and Hardware
Computer Interface, Monitor, Headphones
Subscription to services (Google, SoundCloud…),
Subscription or purchase of software (Pro Tools, Cubase…)
Cell phone bill and data usage,
Everything and anything you use to keep your business afloat.
Everything you spend online to market your music is tax-deductible.
Rehearsal hall, studio and office rentals, pens and pencils, paper and envelopes, staplers... If you still do things the old way, all your office supplies are still tax-deductible.
Jamming from Home Expenses
If you use a part of your garage (or your bedroom) exclusively for rehearsals or other business matters, you can deduct the percentage of that space on your rent and/or mortgage,
Desk, furniture and decor,
Portion of your utility bills (water, electricity, internet)
Portion of your property/renter’s insurance...
If you meet potential clients face-to-face, the cost of the food and drinks on the table between you is tax-deductible. Also if you bring them a gift (max $25 / person / year), that gift is deductible.
No matter the type of vehicle you used to go meet that client, whatever you spent to get on that vehicle or make that vehicle move is a work expense (tickets, gas, parking & Tolls, maintenance...).
Classes and Training
Did you take a class to learn how to use Adobe Creative Cloud or any other new skill that can make you more efficient or expand your offerings? These expenses are tax-deductible.
Subscription and dues
Legal fees, accounting fees, business bank & credit card fees, agent/manager commissions...
Whatever you spend to keep your business in good standing and stay up to date with entertainment, fashion or music trends (like a subscription to Rolling Stone Magazine or your favorite music streaming service) is part of your work expenses.
Equipment and business insurance and health insurance. You gotta be protected and in good health to play live! All your health expenses (premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, dental, vision…) are tax-deductible EXCEPT if you’re covered under a spouse or a relative’s plan.
If you participate in a business conference or walk around at a music festival looking for inspiration, the cost of your trips (conference pass, tickets, 50% of your meals, hotels) is deductible.
For more details and information, please refer to this IRS article regarding business expenses.