Tax time tips for influencers

20 June, 2018

This article was originally posted on spoonfulofsarah.com and has been reposted with permission. Read the full post here.

Spoonful Of Sarah

I don’t know whether it’s because I’m fast approaching the 30th birthday milestone or because the prospect of getting married has made me realise I can no longer deny being a real adult, but lately I’ve started to think more about future planning and getting the most out of my finances. I’ve always been an excellent saver and I perform some spectacular financial gymnastics in our businesses in terms of cash flow and budget, but anything further ahead than a few weeks or months has generally been pushed to the back of my brain as “too dull”, “too numbersy” (yes, I’m sure it’s a word) or just “not urgent enough” in our busy schedule.

That started to change, though, earlier this year when it struck me that our businesses have grown bigger than we ever planned for and that they might be around further into our future lives than we had expected. I realised I don’t have the first clue about how to sensibly invest anything we eventually take out of them, how to manage the tax implications most effectively, or how to make the benefits most sustainable. After asking a few friends I consider financially savvy, I realised I’m quite late to the financial planning party that many of them have been raging at for quite some time now to set themselves up best for the future. And as if the universe heard the cogs in my brain ticking away, it conspired for me to meet the lovely Victoria of Zella Wealth at Vogue Codes the other day.

Victoria And Sarah

Turns out that Zella Wealth is a boutique financial planning firm founded to make financial wellbeing and future strategy more accessible to millennials so that we can make smarter decisions earlier on rather than in retirement, when it can be too late to make a difference. What had once seemed boring to me was suddenly absolutely fascinating as Victoria ran me through the many factors at play when planning your financial future. I’m still grappling with a lot of it so can’t share much in depth without butchering it completely, but since tax time is upon us I thought I’d share a few of the higher level interesting tips she has passed on so far. Particularly for influencers and bloggers, there is so much I wasn’t aware of, so here’s a few that might be relevant:

  • As an influencer/blogger, you can claim anything on tax that you need for your business such as internet-related expenses, computers, accountant fees etc.
  • The specifics of these claims though are a grey area as the world of influencers is quite new and the ATO is cracking down
  • One change coming in next financial year is that influencers can no longer access lower tax rates by invoicing through a company structure (through licensing their images to the company)
  • If they do, high profile individuals may be subject to a “fame tax” to ensure they’re not avoiding tax on their income
  • We tend to think that “freebies” or “contra” are quarantined from the ATO, but that could in fact be counted as your payment for services which should be declared as part of your earnings!!!
  • Only claim on things you’ve actually spent – it’s a common misconception that you can claim up to $300 without receipts but if you do get audited you have to prove you’ve spent that money
  • Make sure you match your claims to your lifestyle – if you’re splashing out on lavish adventures but earning the minimum wage, the ATO’s data matching technology may pick you up and your return may be reviewed
  • Get advice if you’re in doubt!

Can’t wait to see what other pearls of wisdom Zella have up their sleeve, stay tuned!

If you want to follow along, you can find them at their website or on Instagram.