From Marty Dalton
Posted December 11, 2009 at 10:00 AM
I had a recital last week and the fee for my pianist was a few hundred dollars. This was for a degree recital with is an actual course. Will I be able to claim this as an educational expense for my taxes for this year? Thanks for your help.
Absolutely! Keep all your receipts... even if you had to buy new socks for your performance then those would be tax deductible too.
Awesome! I had to buy a new violin this year as well (my college violin professor made me do it)...I wonder if I could use that as a deduction...
Wow you learned me something! Pianists are "admissible" for income tax reduction when you are at school! Is it the same thing for anyone, lets say a dent that has to buy his equipement, charpenter school and so on??? Even socks??? Here they don't help to pay for our pens, notebooks, school expensive science or literary books. Wish they did!
Marty, your violin is also absolutely deductible, but you'd probably be best off depreciating it over time as a business tool -- no different from buying a computer or a desk for an office. The IRS was forced a few years back in tax court to recognize the depreciation of musicians' instruments.
I suggest you check with an accountant that knows musician issues. The earlier example of socks is NOT a good example to throw out--deductions for performance clothing is already a pretty sketchy area. If you deduct socks, you better make sure they can't be worn for anything else other than performing, and how are you going to prove that you can't also were them to a party? If you can't, then forget it as a deduction--just because they are black won't cut it. Accompanying fees for a class? Check with an accountant. And depreciation for a new instrument? Ask an accountant. If you do depreciate an instrument, you have to consider capital gains when you sell it.
I would recommend using a CPA, the best that you can afford. I do, and she has been a source of great advice that I couldn't get from a store front "Tax-In-The-Box." The peace of mind is worth the fee!
I second Jim Fellows. Get advice from a knowledgeable tax professional before you start deducting things. I hear all kinds of things that people "know" are true about tax deductions, but that I know are not true.
Your return might go through with whatever deductions you put down, but there is always a chance you could be audited, and have penalties and fines put on top of your tax bill.
I wasn't going to deduct socks, but I also bought a new tux this year. I'm assuming that I can deduct for that, since it's only used for work. I think I'll speak to an accountant to see what all I can decuct. Thanks for your great answers!
You can deduct the price of a new instrument, I believe up to 12K or so. However if it is higher than that you have to depreciate it over a number of years. However, if you sell the instrument again you have to declare your profit over its depreciated value. Stuff like music, cd's, recording devices for practicing, subscriptions to musical magazines, etc. are all deductible. Be careful about deducting the use of a room in your house for teaching or practicing in. That one screams out for an audit. Again, it is best to check with a tax professional
Not just as a performer, but as a teacher you can claim instruments as well. The guy I bought my bow and accessories from told me to keep all my receipts to claim... I've kept them all but have yet to claim anything...
My point about the socks was that anything that you buy specifically for performing can be deducted. I do list my concert clothes as deductions. I keep very careful records/receipts. Being an "independent contractor" allows you to make several deductions from transportation, gasoline, tolls, clothing, shoes, violin accessories, instruments, cases, strings, repairs, accompanists, any and every cost is one I am required to make from my own pocket, therefore can be deducted. You think I haven't listed pantyhose as concert apparrel? Performing is the only reason I buy them and I hate them to boot.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the above the line deduction for "qualifying tuition and related expenses" does not include socks, fees paid to the pianist, or even the piano. Further, the amount is limited to $4,000 per year.
I think some of you are confusing business expenses with educational expenses, and they are very different. Also, just so you know, socks are never deductible.
While I write this, I am sitting here at my desk waiting for a client to arrive for his year-end tax planning. I am a CPA.
With this government spending you better try to get a tax break every where you can because eventually there will only be one way to support the entitlement programs Obama is ushering in at the speed of light--a HUGE increase in taxes, oh and his redistribution of wealth (read Robin Hood type of immoral, at sword point stealing!).
So my advice is do all you can to keep your money from the state.
Violinist.com Editor Laurie Niles is in New York to cover the biennial event at The Juilliard School, including classes by Brian Lewis and Sarah Chang.
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