Is a headshot tax deductible?

March 2, 2020 Published by . Leave your thoughts

Learn the situations where you can write off photography on your tax return

Professional headshots are an important part of your career, whether you’re searching for a job, starting out or promoting yourself as an established freelancer, or putting together marketing materials for your business. But when are headshots a business expense? Being able to deduct expenses on your taxes is a great perk for some situations, and an absolute must for others.

So we asked Illinois and Indiana licensed CPA Michael Tunney everything you need to know about deducting the cost of headshots and photography services, and man did we learn a lot! Check out his answers to our burning tax questions:

Is my headshot for LinkedIn tax deductible if I am searching for a new job?

Not anymore. In December of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law. This new tax law completely eliminated the Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses deduction for 2018 through 2025. This deduction was included as part of the Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions section of the 1040, and job search related costs were recorded on this schedule. However, there are a handful of states that still include this break, including Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New York.

If my employer asks for a headshot but does not pay for it, can I deduct my headshot on my income tax return?

Just like the above scenario, no.  If a taxpayer is an employee the Unreimbursed Employee Business Expense section of the 1040 has been eliminated and is only included on certain states income tax returns.

Is a headshot or any marketing photos I have taken of me tax deductible if I am a self-employed freelancer and do not have an LLC or Corporation?

Yes! If a tax payer is self-employed and not an LLC, LLP, Partnership or Corporation, the individual would complete a Schedule C Form-Profit or Loss from Business (Sole Proprietorship).  On this form, the taxpayer would be able to include headshots (photographers fees and duplication costs) and marketing photos on the “Other Expenses” section of the Schedule C of the 1040 form.

Is a makeup artist or a haircut tax deductible for my headshot session?

Yes, if the taxpayer is self-employed and not an employee of a company.  Expenses directly related to the headshot session, such as makeup and a haircut are deductible as a business expense.  If clothing is purchased or rented for a special shoot, a tax payer can also deduct those “props” as a business expense.

I own a business– can my business deduct the cost of a photographer’s services?

Yes, if a tax payer is a partner of a partnership or a shareholder/owner of a corporation and the photographer’s services are used by the business for marketing purposes, headshots (photographer’s fees and duplication costs) can be deducted as a business expense.

Book your Chicago headshot session with Organic Headshots here, or reach out to Michael Tunney’s office for your tax questions!

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