This article is part two of series on tax deductible trap shooting. Read part one by clicking here.
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.
Generally you can deduct expenses on a hobby but these deductions are limited to the amount of income the hobby produces. Not a good way to go. If you operate your shooting as a business your expenses can exceed your income! The IRS, if you are audited some day, will challenge your trap shooting as being a hobby and not a business and disallow your prior year’s deductions. But do not fear this. If your expenses show that you are writing-off to attend registered shoot competitions the IRS can’t make its case and will have to allow you the business deductions.
You can write off all your practice sessions and the mileage to attend each weekend too at your local club, but if you only shoot at one registered shoot per year your shooting will be deemed a hobby. So, you have to attend a reasonable amount of registered shoots to prove you are shooting in a businesslike manner. How many shoots? Nobody knows, but I would say at least 6 per year, especially the major state and grand events should be included if you can attend. Small shoots are okay as long as they are “registered” shoots. Turkey and fun shoots don’t qualify.
The IRS is concerned with only one fact…”a business is an activity engaged in for profit.” However, there is no law that says, “You must actually make a profit.” The only “rule” is that you “intend” to make a profit. Now, if you can show a profit just once in three years or so, you should be okay in any audit situation. Again, even if you don’t make a profit for 5-years you will prevail if your intention is to make a profit and not just shooting for pure fun or enjoyment. Making money must be your motive, and you practice and attend shoots with the intent to earn money. That is why registered shooting can be a huge benefit to you for tax reasons.
If you feel uncomfortable about writing off all your expenses such as all of your practice fees and shell costs at the local club, you can just deduct all of the expenses to attend registered shoots. The IRS wouldn’t stand a chance to deny them.