Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Tax advice please - disclosure of a writer's earnings.

Imagine putting on your tax return under profession: WRITER.

I submitted a story to a money-paying magazine for the first time yesterday.  Two cents a word.  The story is 2918 words, so if it gets published, I get a cheque for $58.36.  Woo hoo.

Will I have to declare the income and pay tax?  Of course, there are significant expenses to negatively gear.  Late fees on library books not finished within the allotted time; cups of tea purchased on breaks at TAFE; journals purchased and never opened.  Legitimate expenses incurred in the development of my writing career!

What’s that you ask?  If they pay two cents a word why not write more?  Good question.  The limit is 5,000 words but the payment is capped at $75.  A fortune was never going to be made.  Better to let the story happen in the best amount of words.

No doubt the magazine receives many submissions...the odds of selection are slim.  If, in a few weeks, it doesn’t get published, you’re welcome to ask for a copy.  No charge, because it wasn’t even worth $58.36.
But the tax advice is still relevant, because if this one doesn't get published, another one will.


  1. Of course you declare it as tax!
    But then the good part starts....
    You get the income you take the expenses...

    First up that classic Olympia typewriter and all those ribbons. A beaten up desk in a beach house in the sand dunes. Several hundred reams of paper (mostly screwed up and hurled in the bin). 14 bottles of scotch (a week), one trip to Spain to find yourself and observe bull fighting for inspiration (the Spanish Civil War being long over). Six months in hospital after being gored at the running of the bulls.
    I could go on, the expenses sure do mount up.

    $58.36 declared on the tax is a small price to pay for opening the doors to such opportunities.

  2. Anthony, too funny. Sounds a little like Hemingway...

  3. My two cents worth... use short words.

    1. Spot the sales rep - looking for maximum return for least effort...

  4. consider it already spent by his wife.