Tax Tips for Speaking Pros




We’ve just finished another tax year and hopefully you kept a careful record of your business dealings in the last year. As you look to the coming year of 2017 now is the time to start analyzing ways to track your speaking engagement expenses.

While I am not a tax professional, I do advise clients on finances, their credit scores and small business lending and I see a lot of people who don’t make the most of their deductions at tax time. I encourage you to talk to your own tax preparer and let them know how you are building your speaking business.

Just as you track for your business, you can also claim expenses related to your professional speaking business, such as education and training, member dues, home office, and website are just a few of the expenses.


Let’s start with education and training. As you attend live trainings, webinars, or do online learning, the costs are deductible if it applies to growing your speaking business. Member dues, to organizations such as the National Speakers Association are also deductible. This allows you to grow professionally while without straight out-of-pocket spending.

Office expenses or even office rent and the costs in setting up a website are also deductible expenses as a speaker. If you work with an agent, or pay subscriptions on websites, or commissions to a speakers bureau, those expenses are deductible as well.


Finally day-to-day expenses such as travel mileage and business meals are easy to overlook but add up quickly. Keeping a daily journal or mileage book or using an app such as Mile IQ keeps you on top of expenses both for tax purposes and managing your business in general.

Even if you are just getting a few speaking engagements right now, start these habits of documenting and itemizing your expenses. It will not only benefit you at tax time, it helps you see how your business is growing.

Again, as you document your expenses you’ll need to discuss this with your tax preparer. For those who earn the bulk of their income from speaking are able to claim the “qualified performing artist” deduction to get an even bigger tax break. A qualified performing artist can claim a deduction on all job-related expenses without being subject to the 2% floor. Speakers are considered to be performing artists in most cases. All the more reason to grow your speaking business.

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Terrell Sarver is an author, speaker and founder of BeMen Inc. BeMen Inc. encourages men to follow the new testament blue print for life success through mentorship, encouragement, accountability and community. The mission: Empower men to love God, to be a leader in their homes, communities, local churches, careers and businesses while being strong, courageous, and living a life pleasing to God. BeMen offers spiritual, financial, emotional and physical resources for those seeking to live as true MEN.