Self Employment Tax Deductions for Makeup Artists

Last updated September 23, 2020

A makeup artist brings joy to their clients and themselves, with a unique profession that can be as varied as a wedding artist to a movie set artist. But as with any freelance business, there are tax obligations that must be documented and filed.

However, there are also benefits to being self-employed, with makeup artist tax deductions that will help you at tax time. By reducing your taxable income, you can pay less tax by using the correct makeup artist tax write-offs.

Here’s the information you need to know before you reach tax time.

Why care about makeup artist tax deductions?

Makeup artists need tools that are particular to the profession, and they are some of the eligible makeup artist tax deductions, along with other more typical freelancer tax deductions. As you track the deductions, they may seem inconsequential on their own, but over time they definitely add up to give you an edge at tax time.

By reducing your taxable income, you’ll be happy when your makeup artist tax deductions result in less taxes paid and more money in your pocket.

Common makeup artist tax deductions

As a makeup artist, you will have costs that are specific to your industry, as well as expenses that are more typical for anyone who is self-employed. By knowing the appropriate makeup artist tax write-offs, you’ll be able to take full advantage of being your own boss. For peace of mind, you can also consult with an expert like an accountant before establishing your system for tracking your makeup artist tax deductions.

💄   Makeup kit supplies
Your professional kit will include a lot of different supplies, all of which are tax deductible. Those items can include brushes, disposable makeup applicators, sanitizer for your brushes, makeup wipes, as well as the makeup itself.
🏢   Office costs
If you rent office space, costs like rent are deductible. And if you have a home office, you’ll be able to deduct a portion of costs like mortgage interest, utilities and home insurance.
🏛   Studio costs
You may also have a studio that’s specific for working on clients, in which case costs like rent, utilities, and insurance are eligible makeup artist tax deductions.
💲   Business expenses
Your business expenses can include hardware like a computer, a phone, a desk, or a makeup desk and mirror, all of which are considered capital expenses.
✏️   Office supplies
Other office supplies are also deductions, like printers and printer paper, pens, and notebooks.
💻   Software expenses
If you need specific software like a client relationship management system, or an email management system, those are considered makeup artist tax deductions.
📜   Memberships, licenses and subscriptions
Your profession may require a special membership or license, and you may need a business license, all of which are deductions.
✈️   Travel expenses
Travel related to work or training can be deductions, including plane or train fare, accommodations and meals while away.
🚗   Vehicle expenses
If you use your vehicle for work, you’re eligible to deduct a portion of costs including mileage, gas, parking, road tolls, repairs, maintenance, and car insurance. You can also deduct public transportation costs like subways or buses.
📈   Promotional costs
The expenses that come with promoting your business are makeup artist tax deductions, such as a website, brochures and business cards, advertising and even giveaways like makeup brushes with your business name on them.
📚   Professional development
Any type of courses and training required to keep you at the top of your profession are considered deductions. That can include conventions and seminars, online makeup classes, and even makeup publications like magazines and books.
📱  Phone and internet
The business portion of your monthly phone bill and Internet costs are makeup artist tax deductions.
👨‍⚖️   Assistants or other contractors
You might hire an assistant to help schedule your engagements, or a photographer to do a shoot for your brochures and website. These are makeup artist tax deductions.
👨‍💻   Business experts
If you hire a professional like an accountant, that expense is a deduction.
🏥   Health insurance
Any health insurance related costs can qualify as eligible tax write-offs for makeup artists.
💵   Commissions & fees
Legal fees, payment processing fees (PayPal, Stripe, and others).
The cost of using an online system to do your record-keeping for taxes, such as Bonsai, is an eligible tax deduction.
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How to qualify if a makeup artist expense is deductible or not?

The expenses that are eligible to be deducted are dictated by the rules of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the federal taxing authority. The guidelines state that an expense must be both ordinary and necessary:

Ordinary being common and accepted as part of your business, like your makeup brushes.

Necessary being helpful and appropriate to your trade, but not indispensable. Ongoing training would be a good example of a necessary expense.

By knowing the freelancer expenses as well as makeup artist tax deductions for which you’re eligible, you can establish a tracking system so that you’re prepared for tax season. 

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What makeup expenses are NOT tax deductible?

There are a lot of eligible expenses, but not every out-of-pocket expense is a tax deduction:

💲   Personal expenses
Even if you practice makeup application on yourself, or you feel it’s important to wear makeup anytime you’re with clients or prospective clients, you can’t write off makeup you buy for personal use.
📊   Mixed personal and business expenses
If you have one phone that is intended for personal and business use, you can’t deduct the entire monthly bill. Instead, you can only deduct those costs that relate to your business. However, if you have a second phone that’s dedicated solely to business use, you can deduct the full cost.
🥯   All your home costs
You have to be careful that your home office or studio is a dedicated space intended for business. Setting up a mirror on your kitchen counter once in a while likely won’t cut it. Instead, a dedicated office space allows you to write off a portion of expenses based on the size of the space.

How can I use these makeup artist tax deductions?

Makeup artist tax deductions are important to track and record. Then you’ll be prepared when tax season rolls around. Here are a few ways you can access makeup artist tax deductions:

   1. Make your life easy with an online accounting tool like the one offered by Bonsai.

   2. Set up your own system to track deductions and file a tax return.

   3. Hire an accountant to do the work for you, although you’ll still have to keep record.

Tax Deductions for Other Self Employed Workers

Not a makeup artist? Find tax deductions for your specific profession below.

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