Once again, tax season is upon us. As a blogger, taxes can be very stressful. It is hard to know how to approach them since it is still a relatively new profession and you are technically self-employed. The taxes for blogging are different than if you have filed them as a traditional employee, so I definitely recommend hiring someone to help you the first time you are doing taxes as a blogger.
Here are a few tax tips for the first time or veteran blogger:
Keep track of your income
First things first, make sure you keep a record of all your income. This does not just include cash deposited into your account, but also products received from brands or giveaways, sponsored content, travel sponsorships, affiliate commission, and more. I like to use different programs such as Gusto to keep track of bookeeping. Keeping track of all of these things throughout the year and holding onto receipts will make your life so much easier come tax time.
Report your income even if you don’t receive the forms
The difference between being a traditional employee and a blogger is the forms; employees get a W-2, non-employees get a 1099. As a blogger, your taxes will be reported on a 1099 form. You should receive these forms from companies you work with, as long as your income met the $600 threshold. However, even if you don’t receive a form from a brand, because someone forgot or because the amount paid from that specific company was less than $600, it still needs to be reported on your end.
Hire someone to help you
Like I previously stated, it is important to look to a professional for help with taxes, even if you aren’t a new blogger. However, if this is your first tax season and don’t have the opportunity to hire a professional, look into doing your taxes online with something like Turbo Tax.
Plan for taxes
Until you get more established as an influencer or blogger, it is important to budget correctly for taxes. As a traditional employee, your employer witholds taxes for you so you do not really need to think about it. But, if you are a freelance or self-employed, you will need to plan for paying those out of pocket. I recommend estimating how much you will need to pay and setting that aside each time you get paid. It is better to overestimate than underestimate. A common practice that can help you, in the long run, is filing quarterly taxes.
Send the right forms to others
If you provide a service to clients or earn affiliate income, you are someone else’s independent contractor. However, if you hire someone else, such as a designer or affiliates for your business, you should also issue them a 1099. This is easy to do, but something that can easily be overlooked during tax season as a blogger!
Pay attention to your write-offs
Since we work online, our job requires a wide variety of expenses, such as computers/tablets/smartphones, home office supplies, travel, mileage (for meetings, business travel), emailing service, and so on. As long as these expenses are necessary for your job as a blogger, they will be tax-deductible.
If you are still up and coming, however, your blog may still be considered as a hobby in the eyes of the IRS, so then your taxes would not be deductible. A good article to read if you are unsure if you have made business status yet is linked here.