Promotional models promote products, services and brands on behalf of a company and typically work as independent contractors at trade shows and promotional events. Since they typically do not work as employees, these models can write-off most of the expenses associated with the businesses for which they perform work, but they cannot take a tax deduction for amounts for which they receive reimbursement, such as a meal or parking fees, according to the IRS.
Promotional models typically have to distribute audition tapes and videos, business cards, portfolios and resumes in order to find work. They can deduct 100 percent of their expenses for postage costs and any type of media used to find or maintain a job, such as mailing supplies, copies, film and photo developing costs on line 8 of IRS Form 1040, Schedule C, according to Eliot H. Lebenhart, CPA.
Most promotional models have to make sacrifices in order to find and obtain work, traveling long distances in order to reach trade shows and expositions. They can deduct 51 cents per mile driven to their jobs or they can take a full write-off for their actual vehicle expenses, including maintenance, fluids, parts, tolls and parking fees, on line 9 of Schedule C if they use their vehicle solely for business as of 2011, according to the IRS.
In addition to writing-off expenses on a business vehicle, promotional agents can write off 100 percent of the costs of travel by airplane, bus, taxi, rental car or train. Since they usually have to wear a particular wardrobe, they can deduct all of their expenses for dry cleaning and laundry services. Models who pay for lodging due to long distance travel can deduct their hotel and motel expenses. They can only deduct 50 percent of their meal costs on line 24 of Schedule C.
Since promotional models must present a professional image when promoting products and services, they typically have expenses for manicures, cosmetics and wigs. They can take a full deduction for all of these personal care products if they solely purchase them for business purposes on line 24 of Schedule C. If models utilize these products for personal and business use, they can only take a deduction for the portion of their expenses used for business purposes.
While some promotional agents submit resumes and scout out work themselves, others will hire agents who have connections and will help them find work. An agent may charge a flat fee every month or charge a promo agent a set commission when he finds her a job, which she can deduct on line 10 of Form 1040, Schedule C.