How Does a Blogger Do Taxes?

How Does a Blogger Do Taxes?

I love affiliate marketing. I was on cloud 9, just moved cross country and was about to do my taxes. Bam. I had killed my day job before the move. But the damn tax man came along with his radiation from outer space and revived the son of a bitch. Along with paying the IRS monthly for the taxes the year before, I had to go back into the work force.

The internet is full of ads claiming "You can work on the beach with your laptop". For one thing, you will need a Toughbook to keep all the sand out of the stupid thing and the battery will run down in about an hour because you will have to turn the brightness up to the max to fight the glare from the sun. For another, you will have to sell the thing by April to pay taxes.

Okay, okay, I know. Be prepared. It was all my fault. Planning started this year. My plan up to that was to work as much as possible and shove all the money into the bank. For a while, we had excess. I could run faster than the spending. In fact, we saved most of the money for the down payment on our house in about eight months. In the same time, we paid cash for a used car and flew my parents down to Phoenix for our wedding.

This doesn't work any more. You eventually realize you need things like life insurance and other things a single man sees as not necessary suddenly become so with kids and a family. So now I have A Schwab checking account that I put our savings in. It's connected to a trading account and everything is free. And the interest rate is higher than my regular savings account. And I have the debit card connected to the account in the freezer and I write the check to Schwab before I cash my affiliate checks.

But I want to take a chunk out of taxes this year and I don't want to really play the my home office is 5% of my house game. Anyway that can bite you in the ass if you go and sell your house, because you lose part of the tax break. So I know some things. I just don't know enough. So I went looking.

Now John Chow lives in Canada, so some of these posts may not apply in the USA, but they are brilliant and will get you thinking about what you can do with your own taxes:

John Chow's Income Tax Tips

Here is some from Darren Rowse:

46 Tax Deductions that Bloggers Often Overlook

7 Things Every Blogger Should Know About Taxes

Joel Comm has this book out with all the basic stuff you probably already know:

MLM and Home-Based Business Tax Benefits

But I am looking for the meaty John Chow stuff that applies in the USA. I know if I save a receipt for $1000 it will save me about $300 in taxes at the end of the year, but I only have so many receipts. I am pretty Spartan when it comes down to it. When everyone had computers with processors in the gigahertz, I was still working in megs.

My current idea: I can put a Wordpress installation up and do a custom design pretty quick. Designers charge a lot for this. I've recently been approached by a not-for-profit to do a site. They said I could bill top-dollar on paper and get a tax receipt. That got me thinking. Churn out enough of these and I could potentially write off all my income with on paper donations if I hustle and a still a big percentage if I take them as they come. Not sure of the legality of doing enough of these to equal my actual income, but I will be investigating.

So if any of you have experience with this, please link to or write your experiences in the comments and help me and a few other bloggers and affiliate marketers out.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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