While the scope of work can vary from project to project, below are general expenses all designers should keep track of throughout the year.
It doesn't matter if it's the monthly service fee, ATM withdrawal fee, or credit card renewal fee. If you're paying a fee to the bank to operate your business, you can write it off.
You can write off all commercial insurance premiums that protect your business from claims (e.g. business liability insurance) plus any insurance for building and equipment used for your business.
Commissions and affiliate fees
You can deduct all commissions paid to non-employees for sales and marketing purposes. This includes payments to affiliate partners and platforms like Gumroad.
Employees and subcontractors
Whether you hired a team member full-time or work with a subcontractor on an as-needed basis, their salary and fees are tax deductible.
Gear and equipment
Upgraded to the Shure SM7B or got the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro for your business? All of these count towards your deductions.
Legal and professional services
You can deduct all costs associated with hiring professionals for your business. This includes accountants, lawyers, financial advisors, marketing agencies, production logistics, etc.
License and permits
All business licenses, certifications and regulatory fees related directly to your business are deductible. This can include business registration fees and any business permits required by your municipality.
If you took a loan to start (or grow) your business, you can deduct the interest paid for the loan. This also includes interest paid on credit cards and line of credits to cover business expenses.
Marketing and promotion
Website hosting, domain names, promotional swag, digital ads, and listing fees are some of the business marketing expenses that you can write off.
Materials and supplies
You can claim the cost of any material used in the course of operating your business. This can include film rolls, design templates, and lens cleaning spray.
Mobile phone bill
Discovery calls, responding to comments, and posting on social are examples of how you might be using your phone for work. If that's the case, deduct a portion of your phone bill.
Office rent and lease
Prefer working from a studio or a coworking space? You can deduct all your office-related costs if you're not claiming your home-related expenses.
You can deduct all items used in the general operation of your business. This includes sharpies, post-it notes, smoke sticks, printer ink, and staples.
Payment processing fees
Invoiced a sponsor for ad placement? If they paid you with a credit card, you likely paid 2.9% + 30 cents processing fee. You can claim any such fees paid.
Enrolling in courses, joining mastermind groups, and listening to audiobooks are some examples of how you can grow as a creator—all of which you can write off.
Shipping and postage
Whether you're shipping merch or mailing a thank you gift, you can deduct all shipping and postage expenses.
Software and apps
Canva, Notion, Calendly, Simplecast, and Adobe Creative Cloud. These are just some of the tools and services you can write off as a business expense.
Trade events and seminars
Attending an in-person conference or tuning into an online webinar for work? If so, you can expense the event tickets.