Can I Write Off Guitars on Taxes IF......?!

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Aztex, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. Aztex

    Aztex Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    210
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Location:
    Vaudeville
    Howdy,

    This crazy thought popped into my head and my "accountant" (more a simple tax guy) said I CAN....

    But can one write off their gear, guitars amps strings straps etc if you use them to make money?

    I mean I could be a $1,000,000 year musician who needs a barn full for sessions work OR a hack who gives $10/hr lessons and plays a gig at the coffee shop.

    Just like my real business I can't operate without some basics. So my music business requires gear to operate.

    I guess I'd just have to show receipts or other expenses associated with like a business account and name. Maybe a few receipts from clients.

    Sounds like it could be worth a small effort to become "pro"...

    I wonder....

    Thanks,

    Az Tex
     
  2. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,130
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    clinton, ia
    You'd have to claim your income. And you can't have a loss for too many years in row. I think the gear gear I bought last year adds up to more than I made last year in gigs. Might work for some folks though.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  3. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    25,993
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2008
    Location:
    Port Moody, BC
    When I was playing for a living in the early '80s, we got to deduct all kinds of things, including cost of equipment. We also deducted anything we had to purchase while on the road: meals, gas, new clothes, toiletries. We even deducted the depreciation on our vehicles.

    However, that was my only source of income. I don't know if the same rules apply if it's not your main job.
     
    thegreatshocka, Jakedog and dr_tom like this.
  4. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,783
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2017
    Location:
    York PA
    i get to, band is set up through my main corporation(separate checking accts and set up as a division of main corp). when i am hired they get my ein#,so each gig can be a mini "accounting project" , Pay minus expenses(gas,food ,tolls,ect)...then the agreed upon payment to all involved then anything left over can be a profit or if not a loss(which is sometimes ok to offset taxes). Equipment is just like my tools for work..they even can be depreciated if need be. We do profit as a band
     
    djh22 and nojazzhere like this.
  5. PumpJockey

    PumpJockey Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    2,484
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Location:
    New Joisey
    Be verrrry careful, my friend. The IRS does a close examination of a number of things, including charity contributions, home offices and people who try and claim a hobby as a business. Unless your music income is quite a bit larger than your claimed expenses you are looking for trouble. The only guy I know who does it is a full-time musician who's sole sources of income are music-related: gigs and lessons. And he has a 40-year track record as such.

    EDIT: btffender's advice is spot on.
     
    djh22 and bftfender like this.
  6. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    10,403
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Location:
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    If you want pursue this, your next step would be to consult a tax professional. You will need proper records to defend yourself if the IRS challenges your return.
     
    djh22 and nojazzhere like this.
  7. Aztex

    Aztex Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    210
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Location:
    Vaudeville
    Thanks!

    Interesting!

    Lemme see.... I spent $9000 on gear made $100.....:D

    I'm probably not a candidate at this point. I'm crafting a lesson teaching "business" but so far just on paper.

    My idea could pop! In this age of electronic publishing coupled with my idea I imagine a few $1000/yr based on feed back but I don't imagine that for a couple years at best.

    A
     
  8. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    70
    Posts:
    3,057
    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    This can get trickier than you imagine. You need to consult with a certified public accountant. The person who prepares tax forms January thru April will not be good enough. If you operate as a business, consumables like picks, strings, and repairs come off the top. Anything that may qualify as a capital expenditure may have to be depreciated over time. A CPA will know the rules. A good general guideline is that if you don't already have an accountant preparing your business taxes, the IRS will call you a hobbyist and will not allow the deduction.
     
    Ricky D. and nojazzhere like this.
  9. bsman

    bsman Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,940
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Clara
    If I buy a Gibson at Guitar Center, can I claim it as a charitable expense; helping prop up two failing businesses? :D
     
    joe_cpwe, beyer160, RedTele58 and 3 others like this.
  10. Tallthinman

    Tallthinman Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    101
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Location:
    Niagara Region, Canada
    I am going to chime in with the others saying - be careful about that. You will have to show valid expenses, and claim the income. If you declare annual losses for multiple years and then close the 'business' they may require you to liquidate the company's assets, i.e. sell your guitars, and that is never a good idea :)
     
  11. HolyTele Tube

    HolyTele Tube TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    98
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    Location:
    Prosperity, Sc
    I use a guitar as part of my paying job but I am not a professional musician. I was told I could write off one guitar per year. Now that the tax code and deductions have changed I would hesitate to do so.
     
  12. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,605
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Location:
    Nueces Strip
    I did file my guitar business one year. Showed a small profit.

    My tax guy (gal) said the IRS kind of expects a loss for the first number of years (3 or 5?), but after that you can no longer take deductions but are still responsible for the income.
    Now you'd have a profitable hobby.
     
  13. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,459
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2017
    Location:
    UK
    I saw quite a few people get cheeky twisty with tax forms get CRUCIFIED

    choose carefully. Written advice is fine but most advisors I see caveat all advice
     
  14. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,086
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    Location:
    Very Deep South
    I once sawan interview with Chuck Berry where he said he claimed them on taxes. They were the required tools of the trade. It was in a documentary i saw years ago.
     
  15. stratman54

    stratman54 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    252
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2016
    Location:
    US
    When I was playing in a working band I absolutely wrote off the cost of equipment, strings, travel cost and anything else to do with business costs.

    Some equipment had to be depreciated depending on the cost. I showed a loss of business income for several years and never got audited. But keep meticulous records just in case.
     
  16. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    17,502
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    The North Coast
    I write off everything gig related. My gear, strings, mileage, meals on the job, tolls, all of it.

    I still owe at the end of the year.

    Be careful with clothes. They're only deductible if they're exclusively stage wear. You can't write off a pair of jeans as stage clothes if you wear them everywhere else, too.

    And yes, my vehicle, and my gear get depreciated.
     
  17. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,442
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Location:
    SATX
    I think this particular combination is probably what holds back a number of “prosumer” musicians...
     
  18. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,521
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Location:
    Near Athens GA USA
    I've been running side businesses for several years. I've had good years and bad, making up to $30k and as low as $1200. Record your business expenses so that you can have accurate data when you file. Make sure they're clearly business expenses.

    As for auditing, it's not that likely unless you get silly with it. For example, claiming $10k+ of expenses on about $100 of revenue year after year will raise red flags.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.