Tax Tips for Writers

A high level of excitement filled the room as everyone anxiously awaited the secret to author taxes. Our November meeting was an extremely informative one, for both published and unpublished authors. Gwynn Scheltema provide a scaled down version of her full-day workshop “Taxes for Authors.” She stressed the importance of keeping detailed notes for all expenses, even if you are still in the early stages of writing and haven’t published anything yet.

Something that’s useful to know is you don’t need to be published to file as an author. There are four categories to pick from on the tax form: employed writer, hobby writer, writer/artist, and owner of a writing business. The main criteria to qualify as a writer/artist is the intention to be successful, which is the goal of the majority of us. Gwynn provided a long list of questions to ask to determine if you have a reasonable expectation of profit. The good thing is, you don’t need to check all the boxes. Even checking a few will be sufficient for the tax man.

One of the main areas she reviewed was sources of writing income. You might receive royalties or advances if you are traditionally published. For those who are self-published, you will need to keep a record of all your sales, especially if you sell for cash at personal appearances. If you sell online through Amazon, you can download a receipt from your profile. Big bonus: any monetary prizes you win for your writing don’t need to be reported, and if you receive a grant, as long as you don’t run a writing business, it doesn’t need to be declared either.

Gwynn Scheltema is a professional editor, publisher, poet, and tax expert. She produces and co-hosts the writing industry radio show “Word on the Hills,” and is part of the Writescape team, which runs writing retreats and workshops. Her writing kudos include winning The Timothy Findley Creative Writing Award, and being a runner-up in the Toronto Star Short Story contest.

Upcoming Events:

Freelance Tips and Tricks, with Gail Mercer-Mackay – Sunday, January 12, 2020, 1:00pm to 4:00pm at Ray Twinney Recreation Complex, Newmarket.

Pacing – Bringing All Your Story Elements Together to Become a Master Manipulator with Kim McDougall – FREE Members Only workshop, Thursday, January 20, 2020, 7:00pm to 9:00 pm at Lauft, 17600 Yonge Street, Newmarket.

How to Make Money Writing Novels with Jenny Madore – Sunday, February 9, 2020, 1:00pm to 4:00pm at Ray Twinney Recreation Complex, Newmarket.



Current publications: Detective Hodgins Victorian Mystery Series D.E.M.ON. Tales - Humourous Paranormal Anthology - The Human Condition - One story, Junior CSI

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments