Tax Deductions for Professional Painters


Professional painters provide an important service to their clients and community. Similar to other tradesmen, painters can expect to receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement from the person with whom they are employed. If a painter runs their own business, or does work on the side, they are considered self-employed. Self-employed individuals receive a Form 1099-MISC instead of a W-2, from clients they provided services to. Even without a 1099-MISC, you have to report your income to the IRS. Self-employed painters use a Schedule C, Profit and Loss from Business to report income, and you may need to make estimated tax payments to cover the amount reported.

You may be able to lessen the amount of taxes you owe by deducting any job-related expenses you incurred. If you're an employee, you can deduct expenses on a Schedule A, as miscellaneous itemized deductions, while self-employed painters claim deductions on their Schedule C. Examples of deductible expenses include:

  • Trade publication subscription fees
  • Liability and wrongful acts insurance premiums
  • Equipment replaceable within a year
  • Personal protective and safety equipment
  • Cost and cleaning of required uniforms, as long as they aren't suitable for everyday wear.
  • Licensing and operational fees, outside of those required for initial certification

If you've spent time job searching, you may be eligible to deduct any applicable expenses, if you have searched for a job as a painter. Additionally, work-related educational expenses can be deducted if they meet specific qualifications. Refresher courses, vocational classes, and classes on new developments typically qualify. The classes can't help you achieve the minimum skills for your job, or qualify you for a new career entirely.

If you're self-employed, you have additional deductions to claim on your Schedule C, including:

  • Bad business debts
  • Transportation expenses for getting from job site to job site
  • Legal or professional fees
  • Rental fees for property used by the business
  • Advertising costs
  • Tools, equipment and repair maintenance
  • Excise or personal property taxes related to your business