Blogging is fairly new as a profession, but you can use existing tax laws for guidance on what you can and cannot claim. These guidelines are generally meant for bloggers, and if you have a corporate blog, you'll likely have to claim expenses differently.
While lifestyle blogging is growing in popularity, there's really not much in the way of guidance from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on how to file your taxes. Here are some areas where you can probably make a claim, as well as some you're out of luck on.
According to the ATO, you can claim the tax-deductible portion of the cost of your internet connection, as well as the hosting fees for your blog, domain name, registration fees, and even fees for images or music you used for your blog. However, it's worth noting that the ATO has started to crack down on homeworkers wrongly claiming internet costs as well as related software like office suites and apps.
The ATO advises that you are able to claim internet usage if you use it more than 50 per cent of the time for work purposes. If you use it more than 50 per cent of the time for private use, you can't make a claim. And if you don't use it at all, you can claim it if it is needed to do your job.
Assuming you're a self-employed blogger, the ATO allows you to claim the cost of your computer, including software and peripherals. You can claim the cost of repairs or replacements as well. If you use it for work and private purposes, you can only claim the proportion you use for business purposes. If it's not used for work, you can't claim it at all. However, you can't claim the cost of a computer you use for work and private use.
The ATO allows self-employed bloggers to claim their car expenses, including travel costs, fuel and parking. If you drive for work and private use, you can only claim for the proportion you use for business purposes. Also, you can't claim the cost of your car if it is used for work and private use.
Like other self-employed people, bloggers are able to claim the cost of items and services used in the office, such as printers, scanners and office furniture. Also, the ATO allows self-employed bloggers to claim for a home office if you have a separate room or area dedicated to work and if your usage is more than 50 per cent for your job. You can deduct the running costs of your office, such as lighting and heating, as well as a proportion of the cost of your home if you have a separate area for the office. If it is not used for work and private use, the ATO rules state that you can claim whatever proportion you use it for work.
Advertising, Promotion and Design Costs
Blogs are now a part of and necessary for marketing campaigns, and if you're working with a company on a collaboration, you can claim the cost of planning and organising the campaign. This includes the cost of any time spent on the campaign, such as developing strategy and planning with the client and other parties involved. You can also claim the cost of any materials used to create any promotional work and the cost of any materials used during the campaign. If a company is paying you to advertise their product or service, you can claim the amount of payment as a professional service payment.
While there is still a lot of uncertainty around how to file taxes on a lifestyle blog, the ATO's overall message is that they want you to make sure you're not over-claiming. The easiest thing you can do to ensure you're within the ATO's guidelines is to get a business accountant to look over your finances and tax return, and they'll be able to advise you on whether you are eligible to claim items.
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