Busy Parent Writer: Keep an Eye Out for Tax Deductions

Sharon Cindrich and kidsBy Sharon Miller Cindrich

When I think of spring, I think of two things: jelly beans and taxes. Whether you make $400 or $40,000 writing, you’ll most likely be filing taxes to document your income and earnings.

Keeping receipts is key for the parent writer–you never know when you may find yourself writing about a fun picnic at your local state park (write off the picnic, mileage and parking) or review a local performance of “A Christmas Carol” (write off tickets, mileage and parking) or sell a story on how to make the most of a road trip (write off food, lodging, videos, crafts and, of course, mileage.) If you’ve held on to your receipts, you can deduct these costs from your annual earnings.

While tax laws vary from state to state, consider the following when filing your taxes-and more importantly, when planning this year’s expenses.

Gas it up. Trips to the beach, a forest preserve or even an amusement park can be deducted for mileage – this year 48.4 cents a mile – if you can connect them to your writing job.

Toys, snacks and bicycles, oh my. Toys, recreational equipment or even snacks that you’re using as a component of a story can be deducted as an expense.

Bucks for babysitters. Check your state requirements to see if you can deduct childcare expenses based on your writing projects.

Renew your subscription to Parents. Subscriptions to magazines, newsletters or newspapers that you use for research or write for can also be deducted.

Do you do the zoo? If you write about local attractions in your area, you can deduct memberships and admission to organizations like the zoo, the conservatory or a community pool. Consider pitching stories about local theater, museums or family-friendly sports events.

Understanding deductions can help you make the most of your family activities, ignite ideas for fun pitches and manage your bottom line.

Sharon Miller Cindrich is the mom of two, a columnist and author of E-Parenting: Keeping Up With Your Tech-Savvy Kids (Random House, 2007). Her next book debuts in the fall of 2009. Learn more at www.sharonmillercindrich.com.

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