What Can You Expense as a Freelancer? The Social Influencers Edition

By Lili • May 6, 2021

Unlike what most people believe, running a social media channel, whether it’s on Youtube or Instagram, is a full-time endeavor. Creating content, interacting with your audience, looking for partnerships… It is not the life of leisure and casual posting some people think it is – it is truly like running a small business. So like any other freelancers, you are entitled to deduct your business expenses from your taxable income. Now here’s the catch though: of course, not everyone who posts on Instagram can call it a business and use it as an excuse to deduct their trips to the Caribbean! You have to earn money directly from your social media activity, from partnerships or ad revenues.

Computer Software and Hardware

  • Phone, computer, tablet, Smartpad, digital pen, printer, mouse, keyboard…
  • Subscription to software (Adobe Creative, Microsoft…),
  • Subscription to services (Google, Vimeo…),
  • Cell phone bill and data usage,

Everything and anything you use when your screens are on.

Gear and Equipment

  • Camera,
  • Lights,
  • Tripods,
  • Drones…

Everything and anything you use to take pictures or make videos!

Production Cost

Every expense (big and small) you spend on the production of a photo or a video is deductible.

  • If you’re baking a cake for a video, all the ingredients are deductible.
  • If you’re taking a photo of a look, clothes and make up are deductible.
  • If you’re producing a vlog from your trip in Portugal, your trip expenses are deductible.

Online Presence

  • Domain registration,
  • Social Ads,
  • Website hosting,
  • Themes and plugins,
  • Fonts and stock visuals…

Online is your place of business, so everything you spend there is tax deductible.

Office Expense

  • Pens and Pencils,
  • Papers,
  • Envelopes,
  • Sketch pads,
  • Staplers…

If you still do things the old way, all your office supplies are still tax-deductible.

Work from Home Expenses

If you turned part of your home into a little studio and it is used exclusively for that purpose (meaning your bed doesn’t count!), you can deduct the percentage of that space on your rent and/or mortgage. Note that the IRS also offers a simplified option for this: $5 per square ft, capped at 300sq/ft.

  • Desk, furniture and decor,
  • Portion of your utility bills (water, electricity, internet),
  • Portion of your property/renter’s insurance…

If you run an office from home, so some of your home expenses count as work expenses.

Client Meeting

If you meet clients face to face, 50% the cost of the food and drinks on the table between you is tax-deductible.


No matter the vehicle you used to go meet that client or go to that shoot location, whatever you spent to get on that vehicle or make that vehicle move is a work expense: train or plane tickets, gas… If you use your own car, track your mileage and check how much you can deduct per mile for the current year.

Classes and Training

Did you learn new skills to be more efficient or expand your offerings? These expenses are tax-deductible.

Subscription and dues

  • Legal and accounting fees
  • Business bank & credit card fees
  • Agent/manager commissions
  • Magazine subscriptions,
  • Streaming service subscription…

Whatever you spend to keep your business in good standing and stay up to date with trends in your industry is part of your work expenses.

Health Insurance

Gotta be protected and in good health to do good food! Some of your health expenses (premiums and a portion of your out of pockets…) are tax deductible EXCEPT if you’re covered under a spouse or a relative’s plan.

Conferences and Festivals

If you participate in a business conference or take a seat in sessions at a content festival, the cost of your trips (conference pass, 50% of meals, hotels) is deductible.

Business Trip

If you go meet a client or shoot a video more than 100 miles away from your home, the trip counts as a business trip, therefore all the expenses engaged are tax-deductible: hotel nights, 50% of your meals, transportation…

This list isn’t exhaustive. For more details and information, please refer to this IRS article regarding business expenses.

Click here for the Designers edition.
Click here for the Foodie edition.
Click here for the Beauty Artist edition
Click here for the Driver’s edition.
Click here for the Musician edition. 

Written by
Team Lili

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