Tax Write-Offs For Film Industry Folks

Bkono By Bkono, 19th Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
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Film Industry Write-Offs - Different ways to get your money back that you might not have thought of. Just remember, receipts are your best friend!

Item Purchases

When you are working in the film industry, there are quite a few items that you can write off that most others can't. Be sure to talk to your CPA about any of these deductions to make sure they are right for you!

DVD/Blu-Ray: Any physical media purchases of movies, documentaries or television shows. If these purchases are being made in order to understand the style for directors, DP's, writers, costumers etc. that you are attempting to work with or are currently working with, then these my friends can be deducted. Even if you purchase an old laserdisc of Star Wars for when you go into that interview for the George Lucas' documentary, this too counts as a deduction.

Media Players: You have just purchased that Blu-Ray of Django Unchained and you are up for a job working on a Quentin Tarantino film. Well, you will need something to play it on, so a Blu-Ray player would be a necessary purchase. Deduction!

Television/Projector: Once again, you find yourself with your Django Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray player, but nothing to view it on. Perhaps you are the type to host certain gatherings for these screenings, where you are inviting others in the same industry that are working toward a similar job. Due to the need for a larger screen to accommodate, you purchase a projector and screen. Both of which are write-off's.

Movie Theater Tickets: There is a new movie that came out featuring Emma Stone and your agent just sent you an audition for her upcoming movie. It may be important for you to go see her on the big screen so you can really get to know her acting style and comedic timing. Be sure to save your receipt for that showing as it will be important during tax season!

Equipment: A vast majority of entertainment industry folks have to make purchases throughout the year in order to keep their career growing. This is especially true because this industry evolves every single day and makes huge leaps toward new technology constantly. These purchases can range from smaller items such as batteries and a new lense cap, to much more expensive items like a new camera or your own dailies system. This is a very pricey industry and when you have to deal with this many changes, it is important you are getting deductions you deserve for the career you are in.

Computer & Software: If you purchased a computer this year and are using it for work related needs, then at least a portion of the purchase can be made into a deduction. If you purchased the computer solely for work related reasons, then the entire amount can be written off. Same can be said for any software that is necessary for your work. If you need to provide a logo for an upcoming product, then that Photoshop program is absolutely deductible.

Office: If you are a freelancer, writer or among the lucky few that do the majority of your work from home, then there are a massive amount of deductions that can be taken. Things such as copy paper, a new printer, pens, stamps etc. For these types of deductions, I highly recommend taking a trip to the IRS page so you can make sure everything you paid for makes the list.

Marketing Needs: If you are branding yourself as an industry professional, then you can certainly deduct the cost of physically printing or maintaining your online accounts.

Subscriptions & Monthly Contracts

There are a large number of publications out there specifically aimed for those in the film industry, as well as streaming sites that will always help keep you abreast of the latest and greatest currently released.

Magazines: Physical deliveries such as the Hollywood Reporter and Variety are incredible sources in keeping the industry up to date with upcoming releases, interviews and even job opportunities. Subscriptions to magazines such as these are absolutely tax deductible as they are vital for several industry folks.

Streaming Sites: You've got to love the modern age. We have been given unlimited access to a wide variety of media and a multitude of streaming services to choose from. The majority of these services come with a monthly subscription fee in order to view, so once that sign up occurs, you are in tax deduction heaven. This can be your Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime account just to name a few. Just remember, you have to be able to give a legitimate reason for having these subscriptions.

Cell Phone: I know most of you are already aware of this one, but it's worth mentioning. If you are in a position where your work is reliant on being able to communicate over the phone (and who isn't?), then you will definitely want to hold onto that monthly cell phone bill.

Websites: Almost everything that we do, we do online. This makes it completely necessary for a lot of us to pay for things like a web domain, a developer/designer, our IMDB Pro account, or Dropbox. These are all excellent deductions, just make sure you are keeping a digital receipt of every payment you make.

Meal Expenses

This one can get a bit tricky because it is very important that there be a legitimate business reason for your dining experience. As much as we want to write off every time we go out simply because we are with someone else in the entertainment industry, that's not exactly how it works.

Are you attending a lunch or dinner where the intention is to discuss an upcoming project, or plans on how to expand your network? Are you grabbing a drink with your agent to go over updates for your resume or talk about the best way to approach a particular audition? With expenses such as these, it is best to only write off a portion of the expense and have your explanation handy. If you come up against an audit, you want to be fully prepared.

Industry Gatherings

Unlike most careers, the necessity for networking in this industry is crucial. There are a lot of people trying to break into it and for those that don't network or are unable to show what they can offer, well they usually end up going back home or looking for an alternate career path.

A good path to keeping your name out there, is to host industry gatherings. Invite several people across all walks of the entertainment world for a meet and greet, and any corresponding cost associated becomes a tax write off. This can range from food and drink expenses to the cost of the venue it is held at.

Travel Overhead

This is more of a general tax write off for everyone, but it is just as important!

If there is a conference or trade show that you are attending in order to further your research, be sure to collect all of the expenses incurred. This can be gas money, airfare, taxi rides, hotel stays, conference fees and meals.


Money, Payment, Tax, Taxes, Write Off

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author avatar Bkono
Knocking out life one article at a time

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