Growth Group | Accounting for Musicians

Stolen Music Gear = Tax Relief

stolen-music-equipment-tax-deduction

Only 7 minutes after you emerged from the backdoor of the club, the glass of your rear window is shattered on the pavement, glistening like a disco ball in the sun. The criminals have stolen your guitar, drums, keyboard, laptop, and gear. Music is your livelihood and your instruments have been stolen. Or maybe your recording studio was robbed overnight and thousands of dollars in recording equipment was stolen.

Regardless of what was taken from you, your first stop should be the local police. There’s a buttload of useful information about tracking your gear down if it has been stolen at GearTrack.com. But, today let’s chat about relief from instrument and gear theft on your taxes, hoping you never have to use this information, but here goes:


How much money can be deducted for taxes if music gear is stolen?

If what was stolen from you helps you earn income from your music business, and is completely destroyed or stolen you can deduct like this:

Music equipment cost – Depreciation – Insurance $ received = Tax deduction for stolen gear.

Pro Tip

Keep a music equipment worksheet, like this one, so you’ll know the details about your gear and can give details to police, your insurance company, and then your accountant (in that order). Wait, you do have equipment insurance, right?

Where on the tax return do I claim the theft of my music gear?

Schedule A, line 28 (for business-use, otherwise use line 20), but… I’m pretty sure you’ll want to leave this up to music tax pros.

What can you NOT deduct if your instruments are stolen?

  • Amounts covered by your insurance company, be it car, homeowners’, or instrument. No double dipping.
  • Stuff you lost, it wasn’t stolen, you misplaced it (or someone you put in-charge of your music gear misplaced it).

If your gear is stolen, let’s hope it turns up like this stolen $5 million Stradivarius violin in Milwaukee.

Have you ever had your music gear stolen or known another music friend who did? How was it handled?


Photo: “Red ONE car above shattered glass” by torbakhopper

 


  • I have been a victim of this!! Doing DIY shows can put you at so much risk! Who would of know there was an app to track your equip etc. My story, at the end of a successful night it can be tiresome to take everything from the car into the house, biggest mistake I made, leaving my items in the car overnight. I went out to my car the next morning, All windows were smashed and everything, I mean everything was stolen. I called the police and they mentioned that I should call my insurance, at the time I had an older used vehicle, So I didn’t have full coverage just liability, which only covers the vehicle and passengers. That’s when I learned about comprehensive insurance. If I’d had comprehensive insurance I would have received payment for my things. Food for thought…forewarned is forearmed. Get insured.

    • Hey Miss Brown,

      Thank you for telling your story. The more people who tell theirs, the more awareness we can bring to artists everywhere about protecting the ass(ets).

      I hate that your learned the hard way (through experience). Getting your gear stolen sucks and can cost thousands, but I’m glad you’re covered now in case it ever happens again.