I’m preparing my taxes right now. (Side note: I hate math.) I don’t actually “prepare” my taxes. An accountant does that. I simply go through a year’s worth of Starbucks and Jack in the Box receipts and try to figure out what I can claim as a write-off.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua: Tax Season

Gas. Do I get to write off gas? PAs drive A LOT. Granted, I’m re-imbursed pretty generously (50 tax-free cents per mile). But do I get to include it on my taxes? A coordinator I’ve worked for saves all of his call sheets and has his accountant assume that he goes to and from set once each day. That’s a pretty sweet gig, although I try to avoid outright lying to the federal government. I want tax breaks as much as the next guy, but if the government can create (and then hide) a time machine, then I figure that they’ll be able to catch me in an audit.

Rent. This one I’ve used successfully. After all, in between jobs, I use my “home office” to find my next job. My “home office” consists of a computer, printer, and $74 Ikea desk… oh, and a mug full of pens.

Movies, DVDs, and Netflix. My roommate is an actor, and he writes all this stuff off as “research.” I want to do the same, because – you know – watching movies will make me better able to photocopy scripts or fax in the daily lunch order.

Years ago, my accountant told me that when I started earning income from writing, she could really get creative with my taxes. Well, in 2011, I made $1 from my wordsmithing. I’m hoping that qualifies me for some serious cheddar.

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7 Responses

  1. Can you recommend any great accountants in New York City? If not, what should I look for in an accountant? Or how can I go about finding one I can trust and who won’t cost an extreme amount of money?

  2. fyi, subscriptions for netflix , magazines, membership (for job sites) fees, tolls, clothing purchases (for work), supplies, copies (office max, kinko’s etc) meals

    1. Are you saying that you can write off equipment? Because I bought my own earpiece for walkies and I want to get a utility belt, my own gaff tape, and some black clothes for work, so will I be able to deduct those? I’m new to the PA business and I’ve been having trouble finding information, hope you can help!

      1. Check with a tax professional, but I’m pretty sure you can write off any purchases that relate to your job.

  3. Seeing as this is my first year where I’m getting W-2s from working as a PA, when did you decide that it was worth paying an accountant to do your taxes, versus doing them yourself?

    1. I started using an accountant after my roommate, who’s an actor, recommended his so highly. She had saved him a bunch of dough, and I was looking for the same benefits. She’s battened down the hatches in the last few years with regards to questionable write-offs. (My suspicion is that one of her clients was audited.) But I still enjoy the convenience.

  4. Hey just a warning, (obviously talk to your accountant and don’t just take my word for it) but writing off your rent as a home office is a really good way to get audited. The IRS heavily frowns on this practice and is on the look out for it. They only allow you to take the home office tax deduction if you have a portion of your home specifically dedicated to this purpose and then usually you are only allowed to deduct a percentage of rent that is comparable to the percentage of your home that your home office takes up. See & more details

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