15 Makeup Artist Tax Deductions You Should Know
As a makeup artist, you can save hundreds (even thousands!) of dollars at tax time by deducting business expenses. That’s because every time you write off an expense, you lower your taxable income – putting the money you spend on your business back in your pocket.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
When it comes to deducting business expenses, there are certain regulations you need to follow:
Business expenses must be both ordinary (commonly accepted in your trade) and necessary (helpful and appropriate for your business). The expenses we list below fall into this category.
The IRS requires documentation of any business expense you deduct. That’s why it’s so important to track your expenses during the year. If you didn’t track your expenses last year, don’t worry; our guide shows you how to retroactively find deductible expenses.
Because there’s always a chance you may be audited, save your business receipts for at least three years after you file your taxes.
Makeup Artist Tax Deductions
Here are the 15 makeup artist tax deductions you should keep track of throughout the year:
1. Mileage: Keep track of all your business-related trips! While there are many ways to do this (like taking odometer readings before and after trips), the easiest method is to use an app like Stride Tax that records mileage while you drive:
Between your home office and an appointment, as long as you are not commuting to a permanent place of work
Between appointments or from your last appointment back to your home office
On work-related errands, like picking up work supplies, or attending a master class or beauty trade show
If you choose to take the standard mileage deduction, keep in mind that you cannot deduct individual vehicle expenses like gas, oil changes, car repairs, and car insurance.
2. Home Office: The IRS keeps a close eye on this deduction, so make sure you only write off your office if it’s a dedicated home workspace used solely and regularly for your makeup business.
Have a home office? You can write it off with either:
The simplified option: Multiply the square footage of your office (up to 300 square feet) by the standard rate of $5.
The actual expense method: Add up the expenditures related to your home office, including:
Direct expenses, such as supplies for and repairs to your office. You can deduct these in full.
Indirect expenses, like your mortgage, insurance, and utilities. You’ll divide the total cost of these expenses by the percentage of your home that’s used for business.
3. Professional Development: Be sure to track and write off any education you pay for to better your business. This includes:
Online makeup classes
4. Pro Card Discounts: To help you build your beauty supply arsenal, many makeup brands offer “pro” discounts on their products. Some of these discount programs require membership fees. If you pay annually for any of your pro cards, keep the receipt – you can write it off as professional “dues and subscriptions.”
5. Makeup Kit Supplies: All of the makeup you buy for your professional kit is tax deductible. This even includes brushes, disposable applicators, and makeup wipes. Remember: you are not allowed to write off makeup you buy for personal use!
6. Cell Phone Bills: Do you use your phone exclusively for business? You can fully deduct related expenses (including the phone purchase and monthly bills). If you also use your phone for personal reasons, you should only deduct the portion used for business. The best way to do this is to calculate what percentage of your calls were work-related and then claim that percentage of your bill.
7. Business Cards: Designing and printing business cards is a deductible marketing expense.
8. Printing and Copying: Keep your receipt anytime you print or copy work-related materials like marketing flyers, brochures, and office records. Print jobs are deductible!
9. Office Supplies: Items that you buy for everyday office use, like pens, paper, postage, and notepads, are all deductible. Good news: you can still write these off even if you take the simplified home office deduction!
10. Advertising: When you invest in promoting your business, keep track of how much you spend! Online ads, signs, print ads, radio ads, postcards, and more are all deductible.
11. Promotional Goodies: Do you give away goodies like makeup brushes to promote your business? You can deduct these, too!
12. Parking: Anytime you have to pay for parking while you’re working, save your receipts; these expenses are deductible. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to parking tickets or traffic violations, so drive safely!
13. Tolls: Any toll fees you pay while working are tax deductible as long as they’re not already being reimbursed.
14. Licenses: Fees for licenses that help you do your job (like your esthetics and cosmetology licenses) are deductible. Don’t forget to include license renewal fees, too!
15. Health Insurance: As long as you don’t get health insurance via a spouse or employer, you can deduct 100 percent of your monthly premiums. Keep in mind that if you receive a government subsidy, you can only write off the amount you pay each month (not the original price of your plan). Note: your health insurance premiums are taken as a personal deduction on Form 1040, NOT deducted as a business expense.
Some Common Expenses You Can’t Deduct
The IRS deems some common expenses as non-deductible. These include:
Personal hygiene expenses, like haircuts, clothing that can be reasonably worn outside of work, and dry cleaning (unless it’s for a uniform)
Legal violation fees, like parking tickets or court fees
Commuting mileage if you work at a permanent office away from home
Life insurance premiums when you are the beneficiary, even if you take the policy out to secure a business loan
An Easy Way to Track Your Expenses
Have you tried our free expense tracker? Stride Tax is an app that makes it simpler than ever to find deductible expenses, take pictures of receipts, and automatically record business mileage.