Taking extra lessons of any kind can become a costly exercise. When it comes to music lessons, you’re looking for the playback and not the payback. Week by week, however, these lessons can add up, and you want to know you that you’re getting your money’s worth in expertise.
Have you invested a lot in extra music lessons in the past year? Are you looking for a way to reduce your taxable income?
Most taxpayers aren’t able to obtain a deduction on their income taxes. There are, however, some ways that music lessons could be deducted from income taxes. So, when the time for paying taxes comes around each year, how do you know if your music lessons are tax deductible or not?
Education vs Recreation
Voice lessons could be tax deductible if they are considered to be work-related education. If you are currently taking singing lessons, are these enhancing your business skills? Are these skills which you are acquiring necessary to your job or employer?
This musical education needs to aid in maintaining your current salary or position, and serve your employer’s business purpose. You can’t deduct the cost of such lessons if this education is needed to help you meet minimal educational standards as the qualification for your business.
However, if these lessons help to use and advance skills which are mandatory for your current job or employer, or if by law you are required to partake in these lessons, the costs may be tax deductible.
Federal vs State
State income taxes could be deductible whereas federal income taxes may not be. It is possible for tax debts to be lowered through music lessons. A state’s laws frequently change, so you should familiarize yourself with the laws of your particular state.
Click here to find out more about the taxes within the different states.
You too can be relieved of some of your taxes from your child’s extra-curricular activities resulting from the children’s art tax credit, which was introduced federally for the tax year in 2011. A federal non-refundable income tax credit to the maximum of $500 of eligible expenses paid in a tax year can be obtained at the start of the year if your child is under 16 years old.
This credit is, therefore, valued at 15% federally, reaching the maximum of $75.
Therapeutic vs Artistic
Is your child taking music lessons for artistic or cultural reasons at school? Do you have a special needs child? Are music lessons, therefore, therapeutic, and could a behavioral or medical professional prove that these music lessons are aiding your child’s individual health problem?
These payments could be counted as medical expenses, which may be tax deductible if these lessons help to do more than just develop your child’s general state of health. In Minnesota, for example, education-related expenses can be claimed to receive a credit or a reduction in income on your state tax forms. If your child is eligible for the disability tax credit, the federal non-refundable income tax credit can be obtained at the start of the year for a child under 18 years old.
Pleasure vs Profit
Music lessons are widely seen as an activity or hobby and not a business or service. Taxpayers aren’t given the benefit of deductions for these activities or hobbies by the IRS. While some business expenses are considered to be tax deductible, music lessons can be viewed to be taken for "pleasure", and not "profit".
The bottom line is, why do you take these music lessons? Do you earn income from your singing? If you performed singing recitals or charged an audience an admission fee for coming to listen to you perform, you could make up for the cost of your music lessons with ticket prices. In this way, as a taxpayer, you are deducting "hobby" expenses from what you have earned on singing.
For more information about paying your taxes, click here.
About the Author: Brian Collins
I am a classically trained singer who believes that every instrument requires maintenance - including the voice! I started my professional music studies at the age of 8 and competed in and won several local and state piano competitions. I graduated with honors and earned my Bachelor of Music Education in 2003, and since then I have studied with famous musicians and teachers around the world. I have also completed hundreds and hundreds of voice lessons, exploring various methods, and attended countless seminars on voice coaching for all ages.