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.
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.