Amy Northard is a Certified Public Accountant for creative small business owners who has a passion for making the tax and accounting side of owning a business less stressful. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband but gets the pleasure of working with clients all over the US. This episode is all about bookkeeping for travel bloggers.

Amy Northard, CPA

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The Finer Details of Episode 82:  Bookkeeping for Travel Bloggers with Amy Northard

In today’s episode, Amy Northard and I dive deep into bookkeeping and tax questions for travel bloggers. Below find all the questions Amy answers today. Click here to listen to the full interview and all of Amy’s answers and advice focused on Bookkeeping for Travel Bloggers!


Brandon with asked What’s the best way to find a local CPA?

Brian Cicioni from said, I’m interested in what travel bloggers who are self employed do for health insurance. Any suggestions?

Cristal Dyer from asked when is a blog viewed as a business versus a hobby for tax purposes so we can start thinking about claiming tax deductions?

Katherine Belarmino from hit me up with a ton of good questions.

  • Her first question is similar to Cristal’s which is  What are the differences between claiming a blog as a hobby versus a business?
  • When do you have to switch from one to another.
  • If you claim a blog as a business, what do you have to do (separate bank account, credit card, etc.).
  • Katherine also asked a few questions about claiming perks as income.
  • For a comped hotel room, how do you determine the value to claim.
  • For a comped meal, how do you determine the value to claim.
  • If you pay for a meal on a trip, how much can you claim as expense. (My CPA only lets us deduct a percentage of meals as expenses, but we pay taxes on the full amount of a comped meal which for some reason doesn’t feel right.)
  • What has to be claimed, what doesn’t?

Questions about claiming items as income:

Jaynie Anderson Wall of Do I need to claim products I have received from sponsorship? Do I technically need to file taxes under my business name as a blogger bringing in no income? Thanks Alexa, I love your podcast and have learned so much.

Noreen Kompanik from followed this up with saying this question is similar to Jaynie’s, but do we have to claim the fair market value for products we received to review and write an unpaid review on? The products are ours to keep.

Tami Zehrung Wilcox with asked What if I receive a comped ticket for admission to something? Do I count that as income? Would it be the full price of purchasing that ticket, or if there were discounts available to the general public, can I count the discounted ticket price as my income?

Noreen Kompanik also has a question about claiming expenses and asked “Can you claim expense for a hotel stay or flight if these are booked in points, not dollars? Curious, as I only pay expenses now with $$, not points”.

Alexandra Heidler from said I would really like to know what expenses we can keep track of to qualify for breaks as related to the self employed tax. Like is paying for internet, rent, camera equipment ect. items that qualify?

Sarah Schmitt from the said Hi Alexa, I am sure that I recall on an early podcast you said as a travel blogger you could still claim travel expenses even though you did not earn money. Is that correct or am I hearing things? I cannot remember which one it was sorry.

Legal Travels ‏@legaltravels  asked “When can Internet and phone bills be listed as business expenses”?

Michele Herrmann from has a great question and asked what counts as receipts/proof of business expenses.

Charles McCool from asked a similar question about expenses and income which is  What should be claimed as income or expenses? Press/sponsored/media trips? Which parts (meals, gifts)? Is there anything regarding expenses and income for a blogger we didn’t cover?

Questions focused on incorporating:

Carlie Dayle asked if you have to incorporate or create an LLC to claim anything.

Louise Cottrell Louise from @travelpinners asks: how do I handle income reporting when I spent half the year as a sole proprietor freelancer and the other half as a single member LLC with a biz bank account?!

Stacy Jessee said she’d read that becoming an LLC won’t actually protect my personal assets if I don’t keep my personal finances and blogging finances completely separate. Is this true? Do I need entirely different bank accounts? And if I separate my finances properly do I actually benefit from becoming an LLC (my current blogging income is less than $10k/year)?

Paige Conner Totaro from All Over the Map asks: if I receive income from freelance writing, travel planning, and advertising, can they all be considered income to my single-member LLC? And what is the best way to report comped travel, if at all?

For all answers and full the episode >> Listen to Episode 82 Now!

Episode Resources

Business of Blogging Facebook Group
Aspiring Travel Writer’s Facebook Group
Travel Bloggers Network Facebook Group
MileIQ App

Connect With Amy
Amy Northard on Facebook
Amy Northard on Twitter
Amy Northard on Linkedin

Connect with Alexa, Break Into Travel Writing & My Travel Blog
The Aspiring Travel Writer, the Facebook group


Hope you enjoyed this episode with Amy focused on Bookkeeping for Travel Bloggers. Please join me in thanking them for sharing such awesome information and actionable tips! Interested in hearing the full podcast? Click here to listen now!

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