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Expense Categories overview
Expense Categories overview

Not sure how to categorize your expenses? Take a look at this short guide.

Katie Carey avatar
Written by Katie Carey
Updated over a week ago

Get an accurate picture of your art business by staying on top of your income and expenses with Artwork Archive. 

Not sure how to categorize your expenses? 

Take a look at the following categories used on Artwork Archive and commonly used on tax forms to get a breakdown of where your expenses are going. 

Once they are recorded in Artwork Archive, you can easily export them to Quickbooks or any other accounting software.

Business Insurance: Just what it sounds like. If you pay for business insurance, keep track of your payments and write them off come tax time. 

Commission & Fees: Paying a gallery to bring in clients and giving them a percentage of sales? Expense that. Also track any fees related to call-for-entry, applications, legal advice, outsourced bookkeeping, business consulting as well as model or contractor fees.

Payment processing fees are also included in this section. If you take payment online through a platform like Paypal, Square, Stripe or Intuit you can expense the processing fees.

Framing: Keep track of any framing expenses so that you can separate out costs and charge clients accordingly.

Legal & professional service: Our recommendation? Get a professional to help you with your tax preparation—you can write off their fee!

Marketing: Anything you spend money on promoting your work. Advertising expenses include print ads, business cards, fliers, sponsorships, Facebook and digital ads, as well as your website hosting and creation costs.

Meals & Entertainment: Keep your receipts, snap a picture and upload them into Artwork Archive and make note of the purpose of the meal. If you have coffee with a client, take a collaborator out for lunch, or have a dinner with a business partner—these can all be expensed at 50% as long as the purpose of the meal or event is to talk business.

Membership Dues: Are you a member of any artist organizations? Track your dues with this expense line item.

No Category: Sometimes an expense is so specific to you and your work that it will defy categorization. Use this category for situations when your expense doesn't fit within other categories!

Office Expenses: Printer paper, coffee beans, and a phone line, oh my! Keep track of your office expenses so that you can expense these costs.

Office supplies: Any supplies for your home office. Paper, pens, staplers, paper clips, folders, art for the walls, a mouse for your computer, you get the point. Online services such as your web hosting, Artwork Archive subscription, and anything else necessary to keep your online presence and career running can also be recorded.

Online Services: This is where you can include any online subscription services (like Artwork Archive), online social tools, website domain fees, etc.

Other Business Expenses: Other business expenses might include rented equipment, contracted labor, or renting a vehicle to move your art. Make sure to keep track of how various costs are factoring into your art career.

Professional Development: Professional memberships or any type of dues you pay to art organization can and should be expensed. Online courses, conferences, workshops, or residency fees—anything that can be used to enhance your career can all be expensed!

Rent & Lease: Pretty straightforward. If you lease office space, studio space or even a storage space, that monthly fee can be expensed along with any utilities you have to pay along with it. If you use your home office, these expenses will be calculated at the time of filing your taxes.

Repairs & Maintenance: Need a major repair to your equipment? Keep track of the repair costs and fees.

Shipping: Use this category to keep tracking of shipping costs. Costs for shipping vary depending on the type of service you are using. Check in with your buyers and know their preferences and budget for this cost!

Supplies: Brushes, clay, canvases, easels, glaze, tools … anything you use to make your artwork should be recorded as an expense. Large Equipment counts as a depreciable asset and is anything that you will use for your art business or studio for more than one year. Think computers, kilns, cameras and any larger expenses that are used over multiple years. You can write this off all in one or over many years.

These are substantial expenses. For these larger items, you can report the asset’s depreciation as a deductible expense or you can claim a larger deduction in the first year.

Taxes & Licenses: Business licenses are often required by the state. You can expense that.

Travel Costs: Going out of town to install a show? Traveling to a conference? Using a ride-sharing app to get to a gallery? Track and expense that. You can also expense $.58 per mile anytime you drive to a meeting, pick up supplies, go to an art fair etc.

Utilities: If studio utilities are a separate cost, use this category to detail them!

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