Taxes and authors: What you should know in 2021

In his TAA webinar presentation, “Taxes & Authors: What You Should Know in 2021“, Robert Pesce, a partner with Marcum LLP, provided guidance on when it is beneficial for authors to form a business entity, strategies for managing business income and expenses, and how the qualified business income deduction (QBI) applies to authors.

As soon as your authoring efforts produce income in excess of $400, you are officially running a business – whether you define a business entity or not. According to Pesce, any income in excess of $400 must be reported on a Schedule C filed with your tax return and is subject to self-employment tax.

Authors may be eligible for proposed IRS regulation on 20% deduction for income from pass-through businesses

Based on proposed regulations issued by the IRS and Treasury that would add a new provision of the Internal Revenue Code allowing owners of sole proprietorships, S corporations, LLCs, or partnerships a deduction of up to 20% of the income earned by the business, writers will be eligible for the deduction, said Robert Pesce, an accountant with Marcum LLP.

“I read the 184-page Proposed Regulations,” said Pesce. “There is nothing in the regs that excludes authors from the deduction or indicates an author is a SSTB [Specified Service Trade or Business category, which is excluded from the deduction]. 

Proposed IRS regulations issued providing guidance on new 20% deduction for flow-through entities

The IRS and Treasury issued proposed regulations providing interim guidance on the new Section 199A 20% deduction on Qualified Business Income (QBI) introduced under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The law contains a series of complex provisions, definitions and computations, many of which are addressed by the Service. The preamble to the regulations provides that taxpayers can rely on this guidance until such time that final regulations are issued.

This new provision of the Internal Revenue Code allows owners of sole proprietorships, S corporations, LLCs, or partnerships a deduction of up to 20% of the income earned by the business.

How reporting royalty income affects taxes for authors

It is well established that an author who is engaged in the business of writing for income should report royalty income on Schedule C, not Schedule E. But what about a retired author who no longer is writing but still receives royalties from previous work? Should retired authors report royalty income on Schedule C or E? Or, should a sole-proprietor S corporation that reports royalty income as corporation profits and author wages be used? Each reporting method has tax consequences and legal issues.

Tax tips for writers

With tax season approaching, I thought it would be a good opportunity to compile five posts from the archives containing tax saving strategies for writers. The first, LLC or S-Corporation? has also been one of our most popular posts, so it seems many are looking for advice as they begin to prepare for filing their taxes.

In the following five posts, Robert M. Pesce, a Partner at Marcum LLP, shares several strategies that writers can employ to save money on their business expenses: