By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
We’re approaching income tax time, and we know what that means. It’s time to pull out our files, envelopes, receipts, bank papers and all sorts of other things as we review our income and our outflow.
It’s easy to identify what is income (people pay for our services and goods) but sometimes more difficult to identify what are the business expenses that are deductible. Whatever is legally deductible will reduce your income tax payment. And, as a psychotherapist-educator who offers trainings for psychotherapists, educators and other helping and healing professionals, I’m here to tell you that--
Yes, professional training is deductible!
And so are many other expenses relating to training, such as training materials, books, worksheets, travel, lodging, parking and the like. In addition, therapists are also eligible for what is known as the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, which you may read about here.
Of course, it’s important to notice that although deductions reduce your income tax payment, the amount of deductions also reduces your income – so it’s useful to stay vigilant about unnecessary spending and focus on what you really need for work and what gives value. When in doubt, check with this page from the Internal Revenue Service Publication 334 (2022), Tax Guide for Small Business (For Individuals Who Use Schedule C) or your income tax accountant.
Here are the expenses that are considered deductible for those in the helping and healing professions:
Business cards, brochures, flyers and other printed materials
Business events if you are returning to your office from an event
Business and marketing gifts
Business-related meals and beverages
Books relating to your field
Computer and monitor
Computer supplies (toner, paper, software, etc.)
Continuing education fees
Credit card fees
Donations of gift baskets, etc., to fund raisers and other marketing events
Depreciation of assets
E-mail service for newsletters
Fee for texting services for marketing
Fees for professional license and other credentials
Fees for exhibit tables at fairs, festivals, networking events, seminars, etc., and any giveaway gifts you may be offering to visitors at your table
Food and beverages when providing all-day workshops, network events, open houses, etc.
Home office allowance, including a portion of mortgage or rent, lawn care and landscaping, heat, utilities, etc. The percentage typically is equal to the space dedicated to your office.
Internet web subscriptions (practice management, teleconference, graphic design, billing, video making, etc.)
Insurance for business, rental space, malpractice
Journals related to your field
Late fees for business credit card
Late fees to library for business books
License or other certification or credential fees
Membership dues and fees to professional organizations
Magazines, books and journals relating to work
Mileage to training, conferences, networking meetings and out-of-home office.
Office assistant or employee salary or payment
Office supplies (paper, pens, file folders, etc.)
Office furnishings, including artwork and storage
Office needs (light bulbs, cleaning supplies, tissues, extra keys, soap, toilet paper, etc.)
Office amenities (tea, coffee, creamer, waiting room magazines, etc.)
Office remodeling supplies, such as paint, construction materials, etc.
Parking fees for business, marketing or training events
Payment processing fees (for credit cards and apps like Stripe, Square, Venmo, etc.)
Phone for business
Phone accessories (chargers, cables, stands, etc.)
Phone and social media apps related to work
Photo sessions for professional photographs
Rent for practice space
Rental fee for space for special events, training, etc.
Rental car for business travel
Stationery and greeting cards used for business purposes
Supervision and professional consultation
Tax preparation fees
Teletherapy supplies (ring light, microphone, ear pods, tripod, external camera, etc.)
Therapy supplies (EMDR buzzers, play therapy items, sand tray miniatures, workbooks, art materials, games, flash cards, props, etc.)
Training supplies (subscriptions or purchase of slide deck programs, binding for handout books, printing for training workbooks, etc.)
Travel costs to trainings, professional conferences and business events (train, plane, gas, travel insurance, hotel, tips, etc.)
Tuition for CE and other work-related training
Web domain fee
Website hosting fee
If you have questions about any of these deductions listed, which in some cases have requirements or specific definitions, please consult with your business or tax advisor.
Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is the founder of the Lancaster School of Psychodrama and Experiential Psychotherapies in Lancaster, Pa., which teaches transformational learning in a variety of experiential methods and practices, including psychodrama, sociometry, Family and Systemic Constellations, sand tray, group skills and more. Subscribe to her e-letter for professionals and get first notice of training events, Early Bird discounts, helpful links and inspiring and supportive info. You may subscribe here.
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Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is an author, trainer and psychotherapist who promotes, practices and teaches experiential methods including psychodrama, Family and Systemic Constellations, mindfulness and Tarot imagery.