Adults who deliver newspapers with a personal automobile can take certain tax write-offs. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires newspaper carriers and distributors to report their earnings on Schedule C of their tax returns, and allows them to deduct certain business expenditures when filing.
The IRS considers newspaper carriers to be direct sellers. Your pay must substantially be derived from this work and you must have signed a contract stating that you are not an employee of the publication for federal tax purposes. No minimum amount of income must be guaranteed by the supplier of the newspapers, nor does it matter whether you receive credit from the supplier for papers not sold by you. You must file Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business, to show your earnings.
Schedule C does not require newspaper carriers to pay taxes on every dollar earned. The form includes a section to record income as shown on a W-2 or 1099 form received from the newspaper publisher. The carrier working as an independent contractor can also show a credit for returns and allowances, subtracting the cost of goods sold before expenses are also subtracted.
Newspaper carriers can deduct a number of expenses, offsetting income and reducing their overall tax burden. These include the cost of rubber bands or bags purchased to deliver newspapers, mileage expended in the course of deliveries, other business supplies including pads, pencils and ordering books, office expense, contract labor if you had someone help you, and advertising costs including business cards and flyers. You may also be able to write off a portion of your car insurance, phone service and the cost of hiring someone to file your taxes. Parts II and III of Schedule C cover these expenses and costs.
You are considered by the IRS to be a small business operator, entitled to take a number of deductions. Other write offs may include bank service charges, online computer services related to your business, new equipment including a laptop used to track your customer accounts, bad debts including uncollectables for customers who did not pay you for deliveries, and credit bureau fees.
Matt Keegan has worked as an editor since 1992. He has edited technical manuals, newsletters and articles for several aviation and automotive companies and is currently the editor and publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine." Matt earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Ramapo College of New Jersey.