Five tax tips for bloggers, influencers and Instagram stars
It seems everyone is an influencer these days; just go to your local cafe and witness everyone excitedly photographing their food.
Blogging is often perceived as an appealing job to have, and with most boasting about the appeals of working from the comfort of their own home, tea in hand wrapped in their favourite pyjamas, it's no wonder more people than ever are jumping on the influencer bandwagon.
Despite this appeal, working from wherever and whenever you please isn't the only drawcard - there are some surprising things you can claim on your tax.
As we edge closer to EOFY, here are five tips for influencers to help you determine what the ATO could consider leisure and business expenses, as sometimes, the lines can be blurred.
1. Understand the differences between your hobbies and your business as an influencer
Fitness, beauty, fashion, food and travel: these are five of the top blogging genres and they can without a doubt be mistaken for leisure activities.
Most of these general meal, travel and clothing expenses can't really be claimed unless you can absolutely prove that you're earning an income from brand opportunities, as there's a difference between having a small side hustle that's years away from earning cash, and businesses that require assistance and staff to help with your blogging.
2. Be clear and concise about your business expenses
If you're just starting out in your blogging or influencing career, this might be new to you.
One of the simplest ways to separate your business and personal expenses is to create a different bank account specifically for business purposes only.
Once it gets to tax time, it'll then be easier for your accountant to go through your statements, expenses and earnings to determine what can and can't be deducted, as opposed to having to sift through complicated and confusing personal statements.
If you work out of your own home, a few basic expenses you may be able to claim through your tax is home office equipment (including computer expenses - less than $30,000, internet and phone) and sometimes even part of your rent or mortgage.
3. Document contra opportunities such as gifts and press trips
One big appeal of being an influencer is receiving gifts, freebies and being whisked away on press trips.
With this, however, can come some scrutiny by the ATO which might have difficulty identifying what is part of business or pleasure.
It's usually not required to declare small gifts but it if they happen to be of substantial value the ATO will usually expect them to be included on your return. If you're unsure whether to declare a particular item, ask an expert who will be able to help.
4. Remember what you can claim
Prominent blogger or influencers can claim a range of expenses and if you're one of them, despite the ATO's scare tactics (which happen every year), you should be fine to generally claim any deduction that is related to your income.
In addition to home office expenses mentioned before, influencers can also claim on advertising, promotion and design (such as outsourced blog and logo design, prize giveaways and search optimisation services), and sometimes even travel expenses such as food, transport and accommodation. The latter will need to be kept via a thorough and clear record with carefully filed receipts.
5. Don't get too confident, though!
While there are a number of claimable expenses, it's important to not give in to the temptation to claim everything unless you're 100% sure it is related to your income.
Even though blogging has its benefits this is something only recently acknowledged by the ATO, so if you're unsure of what you can and can't claim, always seek the advice of a tax agent.