Robert Pesce, Partner-in-Charge of the Firm's New York City Accounting Services Department, Featured in Publishers Weekly Article "Tax Strategy 101 for Indie Authors"
By Allison Schiff
Books aren’t the only thing self-published writers can write. Everything from printer paper to paper clips is a potential tax write-off. The trick is staying on top of expenses and knowing where to draw the line.
But before getting excited about potential deductions, the first thing indie authors need to do is get organized.
“Authors have to think of themselves as a business — you’re a creative artist, but you also need to remember that you’re in a business,” says Robert Pesce, a CPA and partner at Marcum, LLP in New York. “It’s essential to keep good records so you can get your taxes done efficiently and hopefully get the best possible result.”
While indie authors need to keep track of what they’re spending as it relates to their writing, record-keeping doesn’t have to be onerous.
“There are some easy strategies to accomplish this without going from being a book writer to a bookkeeper,” Pesce says.
First off, keep receipts. Whether indie authors stash them away in a shoebox at the back of a closet or store them digitally with a tool like Quicken doesn’t matter — just don’t toss anything away prematurely.
“My general rule of thumb is that if you think an expense has something to do with your business and you think you might have some way to deduct it, then keep track of it and ask your accountant about it later,” says Pesce, who makes biennial presentations on tax tips for the Authors Guild and the Association of Textbook Writers. “If you decide on your own that something’s not going to work and you don’t keep a record, then there’s no opportunity to have that discussion later on.”