Growth Group | Accounting for Musicians

100 Things Music Creators Can Deduct on Taxes

Music Tax Deductions


Oh, music taxes. Something every self-employed musician has to pay, but each one despises. Something some music creators (incl. musicians, producers, songwriters) fear and dread every spring. Well, I’ll be honest… I hate tax refunds, but I know others think of them as free gifts from the government. Regardless of your current relationship status with the IRS or your state, tax deductions are something you often think of before making purchases (and also when you’re trying to file at 11:59pm on April 14. I know, no one had to tell me).

Since I’m a music industry tax genius and all (I kid, I kid! No, but seriously I’m schooled in this stuff), musicians, recording studio owners, and indie record label execs ask me about tax deductions a lot. So, today I’ve dumped my brain into this list of tax deductions for music businesses. This list does NOT include everything you can deduct on your taxes for your music endeavors, but it certainly should give you a seriously good starting point.

Use the following list includes tax deductions for musicians, producers, songwriters, bands, recording studios and record labels.

If you:

you could save hundreds if not a few thousand dollars in taxes, for real. Here we go!

P.S. If you want a PDF checklist of the tax deductions, we’ll send it to your e-mail now…

Music Business Tax Deductions

  1. Ads (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
  2. Car Insurance (15 minutes… you know the drill. More info on car insurance.)
  3. Fuel
  4. Tolls
  5. Parking
  6. Mileage
  7. EZPass or other fast pass for tolls
  8. Public transportation (for gigs, rehearsals, and meetings)
  9. Vehicle Repairs & Maintenance (tire patching, fluid flushes, windshield repair, etc.)
  10. Oil changes
  11. Washing and vacuuming your car
  12. Interest on Auto Loan
  13. Car or Truck
  14. Booking and Talent Agency Commissions
  15. Distributor commissions
  16. Band manager fees
  17. Amounts paid to bandmates, backup singers and accompanying musicians (send a 1099)
  18. Legal fees
  19. Music equipment
  20. Equipment insurance (here’s why you need insurance for your music equipment)
  21. Equipment repairs and maintenance
  22. Health, Vision, and Dental Insurance (you’ve got health insurance right?)
  23. Office supplies
  24. Studio or office rental
  25. Property insurance (aka renter’s or homeowner’s insurance)
  26. Real estate taxes
  27. Rental car for gigs, touring, and travel
  28. Instrument rental
  29. Instrument insurance 
  30. Business Licenses
  31. Payroll Taxes
  32. Train tickets
  33. Baggage fees
  34. Plane tickets
  35. Bus Tickets
  36. Travel Insurance (here’s why travel insurance is necessary for touring)
  37. Hotel stays
  38. Cab fare and Uber rides
  39. Meals (while on travel)
  40. Refreshments (for studio guests and clients)
  41. Internet (aka Wi-Fi)
  42. Electricity
  43. Water bill
  44. Gas
  45. Tax preparation costs
  46. Cellphone (here’s some info on iPhone deductions for music)
  47. Phone plan
  48. Cellphone equipment insurance
  49. Apps, on apps, on apps! (there are apps that help manage the business side of music)
  50. Percentage of home (or apartment, condo, etc.)
  51. Paypal or Square fees
  52. Dropbox subscriptions
  53. Gifts to fans or customers
  54. Postage and delivery charges
  55. ATM fees
  56. Overdraft fees
  57. Wire transfer fees
  58. Cost of checks
  59. Merch design (t-shirts, posters, stickers, etc.)
  60. CD Duplication (don’t buy too many CD’s though)
  61. Cost of merch and CDs (after they’re sold or gifted)
  62. Recording costs (only half in the first year, find out more)
  63. Mixing & Mastering
  64. Album graphics
  65. Photoshoot
  66. Music or promo video
  67. Entertainment (like tickets to concerts)
  68. Showcase application fees
  69. Music Conference tickets (A3C, Driven, Future of Music, etc.)
  70. Retirement account contributions (Contributing enough to your after music retirement?)
  71. Student loan interest
  72. Tuition
  73. Value of property or cash given to charities (not services)
  74. Website design
  75. Website maintenance
  76. Website hosting (GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc.)
  77. Online services (Reverbnation, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc.)
  78. Portion of stolen gear, instruments, or equipment
  79. Electronic beats or sounds
  80. Accountant fees
  81. Cloud storage (like Dropbox)
  82. E-mail marketing (like Mailchimp)
  83. Accounting software (like Xero)
  84. Computer
  85. Printer/Scanner/Fax (combo or separately)
  86. Sheet music
  87. Business cards
  88. Studio or office furniture
  89. Union dues
  90. Music industry publications and magazine subscriptions
  91. Sample clearances
  92. E-mail service provider (Google Apps for Work or Outlook)
  93. Construction and renovation (for studio or office)
  94. Artwork (for office or studio)
  95. Salaries paid to assistant or receptionist
  96. Other supplies (like toilet paper, handsoap, and paper towels for the studio or office restroom)
  97. Business registration and annual fees
  98. Returns of CDs or Merch
  99. Cleaning and janitorial services
  100. ISRC registration

That ain’t it, there are more. What are some music business expenses that you’re writing off this year?

Photo by PopTech