SmartMoney Blogs

Ask SmartMoney
Your personal finance questions, answered.

A Writer’s Vacation Deduction?

Question: I plan on taking an extended vacation that I intend to write a book about. Can I deduct my trip expenses on my tax return?

– Craig Majka, Clyde Park, Mont.

Answer: Nice work if you can get it. But here’s how the IRS sees it: If your writing endeavors fail to yield a profit in three out of five years, it’s considered a “hobby” and you can deduct only as much as you earned in income — not all the expenses. In the meantime, says Abe Schneier, senior technical manager for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, document everything you can to show it’s a professional venture. So draw up a business plan, demonstrate prior experience or skills, keep a daily diary of activities, and save receipts. Best proof for a writer: a contract or other formal agreement from a publisher


We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 7)

View all Comments »
    • The properties leaes, what that


    • Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post hepled me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.

    • “The small federal gremonvent idea kind of went out the window with the Civil War.”nonsense. you are confusing the primacy of states rights with small gremonvent.i agree that Lincoln did a great deal to harm states rights and erode the protections they had been deliberately afforded, but 70 years later the federal gremonvent under coolidge was still only 2% of gdp. it rarely interfered in private commerce (with perhaps the notable exception of eminent domain for railroads) and was not in the wealth redistribution nor social welfare business. that all came later. calling 2% of gdp “big gremonvent” seems a pretty severe stretch.fwiw, i agree with you about the electoral college, and outdated and deeply harmful system.i do not think one has to choose between notions of living according to one’s ideals and taking care you one’s own comforts and financial security. it saddens me to learn that you believe such is the case, though perhaps the view is different from an industry so mired in union power politics for the extraction of wealth from my mind, support of individual rights and the use of them to engage in consensual commerce is precisely how to become wealthy and secure.i despise groups like noted VC keiener perkins who, having been massively successful due to such ideals now seek to rent seek by lobbying gremonvent and buying political favoritism thereby pulling up the drawbridge behind them and not letting anyone else have the benefit they’s just horrific, blatant hypocrisy, worse even than divorcing the wife who paid your way through business school by working once you get rich and want a trophy on your arm.i fear it is precisely your sort of thinking that makes this acquiesce to the system and seek to turn political corruption/power/patronage to your advantage out of “pragmatism” despite your many ways, this resembles the classic game theory example of the “prisoners dilemma” whereby we get consistently sub optimal outcomes because the incentive to be the first to defect if you fear that others will is too great.the likelihood of such a “low equilibrium” increased dramatically with the number of players in the long as gremonvent has the power it does, there is really no way to avoid such an outcome, thus the only way to win is to take the power away from worked for 150 years.but once you let the genie out of the bottle, getting it back is is very difficult.but that makes it all the more important not to give up the fight.

    • *******

      It’s a Little off Topic but Anyone Looking for a Job Should Check Out this Website!

      They are Hiring People to Work from Home for $67/hour

      This Job Program has saved Our Whole Family from the Recession!

      And I Can Work from Home with my Kids !


    • The rule seem to be misstated here. Per the IRS website, there is a presumption that an activity is a business if it produced income in 3 of the last 5 tax years.,,id=186056,00.html

      Thus, the rule provides a presumption in the taxpayer’s favor,, not a presumption against the taxpayer as asserted in the article. If the taxpayer doesn’t have a profit in 3 of the last 5 tax years, that doesn’t mean the taxpayer’s activity automatically constitutes a hobby. It just means the taxpayer may be called on to prove that the activity constitutes a business. Many small businesses fail without ever seeing a profit. Large companies operate in bankruptcy and at a loss for several years in a row, but that does not make their activities a hobby.

About Ask SmartMoney

  • Ask SmartMoney has a single, simple mission: Answer your questions. Answers are written by the staff of and SmartMoney magazine, with the help of outside experts. Topics cover investing, spending, retirement planning, saving for college, insurance, taxes and more. Submit your question in the form below, or email