Swinging for Savings: Tax Deductions for Golfers

Uncle Sam golf
The IRS and Uncle Sam allow certain tax deductions for golfers and golf instructors.
The IRS and Uncle Sam allow certain tax deductions for golfers and golf instructors.

From bogies to birdies, millions of people enjoy spending time on the links playing golf each year. If you roll out your golf cart and clubs on a regular basis, you probably know full well how expensive hitting the greens can be. But don’t fret. The IRS actually offers some money-saving tax deductions for golfers in certain circumstances.

Deducting Golf as a Business Entertainment Expense

The meals and entertainment deduction is a popular write-off for formally-crowned small business owners and 1099 independent contractors alike. The IRS allows these individuals to deduct 50% of business-related meals and entertainment activities when filing with Uncle Sam. In this case, golf expenses can be lumped into the entertainment category for the tax deduction. This means you can write off golf-related expenses on your tax return. The caveat here is that you must discuss some type of business either before or after playing your 18 holes, such as if you enjoy a meal at the country club afterward. The IRS is picky about allowing actual course fees to be deducted as an entertainment expense. For instance, you might play golf with a business partner, potential client, or potential investor. During your time together, you should talk about things like a new project, the idea of hiring a new employe, or how an investor would benefit from financially supporting your small business. Don’t forget to keep a record of all business entertainment expenses. Record the names of all involved and what business was conducted on any receipts you get.

Teaching Golf Lessons as a Small Business

If you are a golf instructor and teach students how to play golf or how to improve their game on the course, you can write off many golf-related expenses you face in this case, even if you don’t have a formally-registered small business entity like an LLC or corporation. You can typically write off items or services you purchase to operate your instruction business, even if you only help one or two students who pay you for your instruction. Deductible items may include:

  • Golf clubs (even if your student does not use your clubs, you may need to use them to demonstrate techniques or practice yourself to keep up your game)
  • Golf balls
  • Golf tees
  • Golf bags
  • Course fees
  • Golf cart expenses (no matter if you rent or own the cart)
  • Golf apparel, i.e. hats, gloves, etc.
  • Travel expenses to golf courses
  • Business marketing costs, i.e. business cards, flyers, a website, social media ads, or even video equipment to record instructional YouTube videos

Deducting Charitable Contributions

If you’ve played golf for a long time and have a bunch of old golf clubs sitting in your garage, consider donating them to a qualifying charity. There are many needy children and even adults who could benefit from such a donation, especially if your clubs are still in a decent condition. Not only can you put a smile on someone’s face, but also you can claim a tax deduction on such a charitable contribution. Just remember to obtain proper documentation from the charity that proves your donation to use when including it with your tax return for the IRS.

Get more tax deductions for golfers and members of other professions by partnering with the small business accounting experts at 1-800Accountant. Call 1-800-222-6868 today, or check out www.1-800Accountant.

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