In the April '08 print issue of The Writer, Holly A. Johnson has an article on some general ways writers can save money at tax time. If you're mystified by qualifying deductions, loss years, whether the IRS considers your writing a hobby or a profession etc., it's worth a read.
So much of being a writer is not covered under general business deductions that I think we need to create some new ones. Such as:
Agent Angst Allowance: deduct $200.00 for every day a writer waits to hear from an agent; +100.00 if the agent is considering a query; +$500.00 if the agent is collecting money from a publisher for the writer; +$1000.00 if the agent is waiting for the Times list to come out to see if the writer's latest release is on it; +$5000.00 if the agent is meeting with a publisher about the writer's debut novel submission.
Booksigning Abuse Rate: deduct $100.00 for every time a writer is asked "do you work here?" by a customer at the book store; $500.00 for every time a reader grabs and hugs a writer at a booksigning (add $100.00 if this occurs in the book store rest room); $1000.00 for each time a reader who spits when they talk leans over the booksigning table; $20000.00 for each time a reader lays in wait for the writer in the parking lot "just so I can talk to you privately about how much I hated the ending of your last book!"
Check is in the Mail Depreciation: deduct $1000.00 per day a writer has to wait for a publisher to issue a payment; $1500.00 per phone call writer makes to the editor asking where the payment is; add an additional $2000.00 per lie the publisher tells and $10000.00 if at any time the editor uses the words "forgot" or "lost" in regard to a missing check.
Frantic Phone Calls Credit: deduct $100.00 plus costs for every call the writer makes to crit partners or very good friends at two a.m. to ask, "Tell me the truth -- everything I write is complete crap, isn't it?"
Rejection Rebound Expense: deduct $500.00 for each rejection a writer receives within a one-year period (special note: deduct an additional $1000.00 if the rejection is particularly crass or $5000.00 if the rejection is scribbled in pink ink in the margin of the writer's query letter.)
Review Recovery Consideration: deduct $10000.00 for each unpleasant mental and physical side effect endured from reading inappropriate, unfair, crass, revenge-driven or otherwise bogus reviews of their work (qualifying tantrums, facial twitches, benders, weeping sessions, consumption of inordinant amounts of chocolate, cookies, tranquilizers etc. to be listed on return as Symptom, Post Traumatic Hatchet Job Disorder.) An additional $2000.00 deduction is permitted if the writer's editor e-mails the review in question to him/her.
Title Change Exemption: deduct $1000.00 for each time the writer's story title is deemed "unmarketable" and the writer is told it must be changed; +5000.00 if the editor demands a new title within 24 hours; +10000.00 if the editor suggests a new title with the word "kissing" or "ravishing" in it.
Troll Handling Charges: deduct $500.00 for each time a blogging writer must delete an offensive comment posted by an anonymous troll; +$1000.00 for each subsequent hate-mail the writer receives from said troll; +5000.00 for each 1-star Amazon.com review the troll posts for the writer's latest release within 48 hours of being blocked from commenting.
All right, you writers out there, what are some of your fantasy tax deductions? Post them in comments.