NOTE: Getting to write off your next day of sport shooting might sound great, but if your goal is to outright cheat the government then you should probably think twice. Getting audited or accused, let alone convicted, of tax fraud just isn’t worth it.
Starting Your Business
Getting your business started can be tricky at first. But once you get the tax structure out of the way it will be smooth sailing. Also, be sure to make a spreadsheet or keep very detailed notes on your expenses and, of course, save those receipts.
- You will need a computer to enter your tax information, so go out and buy one and you can write that off this year. You do not need to depreciate it, just write off the $3,000 you spend now. But you should be aware that the computer must be used for business. If the kids have games installed on it the deduction will not survive an audit. You may then only be able write off 1/3 or 1/2 of it.
- You need Quicken or Quickbooks accounting programs so you write that off too.
- Need a new competition-grade shotgun? Go buy it and write it off!
- Do you need a new shooting vest, ear phone protectors, shooting shoes, shirt, hat, pants? Write it off.
- What else do you feel you need that is customary and required of most trap shooters? Deduct it.
- Club dues, shells, components, practice fees, fuel and meals are all deductible.
- Need to attend a competition shoot out of town? Write-off the trip’s expenses.
Can you bring your wife and kids to a shoot and write off the expenses? No, only the expenses directly related to your shooting activity. However, fuel or mileage to get to the shoot, even though the family is with you is deductible. Motel room for you (and if your wife still agrees to sleep with you after all these years) the motel stay is deductible. Meals can only be deducted for the shooter in most cases. Same with air fare.
If you win an event you have to declare any money winnings as income and rightfully so. For most shooters, more money will be spent on expenses than will be earned in income, at least for a few years. A good year here and there will require you pay tax on your profits after your expenses are deducted, but you are still way ahead, financially. The more money you do make the more expenses you will likely acquire and be able to write off. Believe it or not, you can make more money doing it legally than trying to hide money from the IRS. By not writing off your expenses and pocketing money and not declaring it to the IRS can get you a serious fraud rap! It’s better to start operating your shooting as a business and do it legally.