1. TurboTax /
  2. Tax Calculators & Tips /
  3. Tax Tips & Videos /
  4. Jobs and Career /
  5. Top Tax Deductions for Massage Therapists

Top Tax Deductions for Massage Therapists

Updated for Tax Year 2017


OVERVIEW

As a massage therapist, you know how to take care of your clients’ well-being—but you might need some help of your own when it comes to tax time. We’ve got your back! Read on to learn about the top tax deductions you may be eligible for—they just might save some dollars at tax time.


Preparing for Tax Deductions

Massage therapist working on a client in a beach setting

While your massage certification certainly prepares you to help clients, it doesn’t necessarily help you come tax time. That was certainly the case for Nadine Crest, a Baltimore-based Registered Massage Practitioner and owner of Palms to Souls. “When I went to school, they didn’t give much instruction on being an entrepreneur,” says Crest. “I expected it to be easier to find and claim tax write-offs.”

While you can use this list to find potential tax write-offs, make sure you’re backing up each expense with documentation—in the form of receipts, statements or bills. Ideally, you’ll keep both a digital and hard copy of your documentation to ensure that all your deductions stand up to scrutiny, should the IRS ever require proof.

Training, Membership and Certification Costs

Getting the training you need to become a massage therapist doesn’t come cheap, but you may be able to deduct the cost of your education on your tax return using the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. This deduction for higher education can provide a tax credit for up to $2,000, depending on your income level.

You can also deduct certification, licensing, and business association membership costs as business deductions. Because these costs can add up to thousands of dollars a year, they can make a big difference on the amount of tax you'll owe.

Business Startup Costs

Starting your business often comes with hefty equipment costs, especially if you’re going into a solo practice. Expenses include:

  • massage tables, chairs and sheets
  • stones and stone warmers&n
  • towel heaters, and more

These all count as capital expenses—investments that you’ll use for more than a year. You can deduct a portion of these costs each year by using depreciation methods. Alternatively, you might be able to expenses these costs in a single tax year (up to $500,000) instead of spreading out your deductions over several years if you are eligible for the Section 179 deduction.

Ongoing Costs of Doing Business

As a massage therapist, you’ll also be able to deduct a variety of other ongoing costs, including:

  • renting an office, studio, or spa space
  • associated costs with the space, like electricity and water bills
  • cost of supplies like massage oils, lotions, and aromatherapy
  • legal costs, accounting fees, and tax preparation fees
  • oils, lotions, and aromatherapy

Advertising and Marketing Expenses

Have you placed an ad in the local paper? Do you maintain a website for your business? Those expenses count as tax deductions, too. Keep track of ad placement costs, web hosting, and domain registration costs to claim those expenses on your return.

You may also be able to claim a portion of longer-term advertising expenses, like graphic design costs for the website you’ll use for several years, via amortization methods.

Home Office Tax Deductions

If you run your massage practice out of a dedicated home office that is used exclusively for your business, you can likely claim a portion of your home expenses, such as rent, homeowners' insurance, and utilities as business deductions. TurboTax will guide you through a few questions to find out if you’re eligible for these tax deductions.

Other Tax Deductions to Consider

Saving for retirement is especially important if you’re self-employed, so the Internal Revenue Service gives you a generous break on contributions to your traditional Individual Retirement Account, or IRA.

You may also be able to claim your health insurance premiums as a deduction on your income taxes.

If you use your car for work, you can deduct certain expenses as transportation costs, including the cost of gas, as well as capital expenses like vehicle purchases and repairs. Alternatively, you can usually deduct your car expenses based on the standard mileage rate set by the IRS each year.

You may also be able to deduct certain meals and entertainment expenses, provided they’re essential for running your massage business. Be sure to keep documentation for every business expense you claim.

Remember, with TurboTax, we’ll ask you simple questions and fill out the right tax forms for you to maximize your tax deductions.

Perfect for independent contractors
and businesses

Find more tax deductions so you can keep more of the money you earn with TurboTax Self-Employed.

For only $114.99*
Sign In

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return between 4/19/17 and 10/16/17 to receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 10/31/18. Activation by 12/31/17 required. Sign in to QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax; e-mail address used for activation and sign-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not purchase TurboTax Self-Employed by 10/15/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 10/31/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15%) for tax year 2016. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or on-screen); not included with Federal Free Edition (but available for purchase with the Plus bundle). SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. TurboTax experts provide general advice, customer service and product help; tax advice provided only by credentialed CPAs, enrolled agents and tax attorneys. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access, My Docs and My Analysis & Advice features: Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available until you file your 2017 tax return or through 10/31/2018, whichever comes first. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by TopTenReviews.com March 13, 2017.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2016 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies; may require a free Intuit online account. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2016 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2012 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.