Tax write-offs for yoga teachers you need to know

April 12, 2023 0 Comments

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As a yoga teacher, you likely rely on intention and perhaps even intuition to guide your students through the practice. But these talents, while valuable, definitely won’t help you when it comes time to pay your taxes.

Determining what yoga teacher tax write-offs you can (legally) deduct on your return can be… tricky. If you meet the self-employed criteria, you can usually deduct “ordinary expenses” that support your ability to run and manage the business, says Lisa Green-Lewis, CPA, a TurboTax expert. If you have a stack of 1099s declaring your income from yoga studios, or a stream of payments from students through Venmo, Zelle, or other payment apps, you’re self-employed.

But what is “normal” when it comes to spending? The government has several unexpected conditions. Below are the expenses that yoga teachers can legally report on the IRS tax form known as Schedule C. The list is not exhaustive and does not apply to each individual’s individual situation. You may want to check with your accountant about your deductions.

What yoga teacher tax deductions CAN you deduct


This comprehensive category covers any expenses that help you promote your business. This includes your website domain fee as well as your subscription to a website builder (like Wix). It also includes any photo editing or graphic design software or platforms (such as Canva). If you opt for paid social media promotions or use a scheduler, those costs are also deductible, as are any costs associated with email marketing. The same applies to the costs of printing posters or business cards. Think about it in terms of any costs associated with someone potentially learning about your teaching.

Expenses for car and truck transport

If you drive to class, you have a choice: you can take a standard mileage deduction for each mile, or you can track and calculate all of your car-related expenses, including gas, oil changes, repairs, licenses and registration, parking, and depreciation.

Calculating standard mileage is much simpler. For mileage from January 1 to June 30, 2022, it is 58.5 cents per mile; from July 1 until the end of 2022, it is 62.5 cents per mile. You can deduct travel miles, as well as miles you drive from one studio to another or to and from private yoga classes. But you can’t count the mileage to and from your home to your primary yoga studio. (See “What yoga teachers CANNOT write off” below.)

Contract work

This category refers to the costs of professional services directly related to your business. If you hired a photographer for a shoot, hired a graphic designer to update your website, or asked another yoga teacher to help you run a workshop, retreat, or yoga teacher training, you can deduct these expenses.

Rent or lease

This applies to the cost of renting or leasing your studio and primarily applies to studio owners. But if you rent the space for a class, seminar or training, this cost is a deduction.


Liability insurance premium is deductible.

Legal and professional services

Have you consulted a lawyer about work-related issues? Or perhaps paid an accountant or tax software? All this is subject to deduction.

Office expenses

If you teach in a designated space in your home or have a room that you use exclusively as your home office, you can deduct interest from your rent or mortgage, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and utilities. The exact percentage is based on the area of ​​the home office compared to the total area of ​​the home. According to TurboTax software, the allowable space for a home office cannot exceed 300 feet.

Note. According to the IRS, any room that is used for other purposes is not considered a “business use of the home.” So, no, you can’t count the corner of your bedroom where you do yoga.


Anything you buy that is related to your studies is considered a supply. This includes yoga mats, blocks, blankets, rollers, essential oils and sound instruments. “I’ve been told you can even write off the scent,” says J. Brown, a yoga teacher, studio owner and podcast host in Easton, Pennsylvania. .)

This category includes the adapter you purchased to make your phone compatible with your studio audio system. It also covers purchases related to online learning from home, such as a ring camera, microphone, cords or any technical equipment.

Travel expenses

Have you traveled to an event related to any aspect of your work? If so, you can deduct hotel, meal and transportation expenses, says Mark Steber, principal of Jackson-Hewitt Tax Services. This applies to how you get there (by plane, train or car) and how you get around (metro, taxi, special trips).

If you use your own vehicle, you can write off the mileage, he says. You can also write off half the cost (including tax and tip) of any restaurant meal (dinner or takeout) during your trip.

Utilities (including Wi-Fi and phone usage)

Technically, you only have to pay the work-related percentage of your internet and cell phone bills. “Keep track of the number of calls you make to work and divide it by the total number of calls made for the year. That’s a percentage of your phone business,” Steber says. The same approach applies to your Wi-Fi costs as well.

This would mean serious fatigue when calculating taxes. If the refund doesn’t seem like it’s worth the trouble, you can keep things simple. The Keeper Tax program recommends that people write off no more than 40 percent of your internet bill per month.


This catch-all category covers everything else that qualifies as “ordinary” expenses associated with running your yoga teaching business. This includes subscriptions or memberships to music streaming services that you use during class (such as Spotify), hosting online meetings (such as Zoom), yoga or meditation apps (as long as you consider them to be educational and related to your teaching), online seminars or trainings and studio memberships. You can also deduct the fee for taking a mandatory CPR course or choosing to enroll in Yoga Alliance.

A common self-employment deduction often overlooked by yoga teachers is your bank’s monthly service fee on your account. But this is only a debit if you have a business bank account.

What yoga teacher tax deductions you CANNOT deduct

Your first yoga teacher course

No, your first YTT does not qualify as a deductible expense. But any training you do after that, including seminars, courses, and additional yoga teacher training, counts as a deduction.

According to the IRS, this initial training qualifies you for your job and, as such, is not a write-off. However, it can be used as an education loan, Steber says. Any further education is an allowable expense. “The cost of maintaining a license or continuing education to stay up-to-date with the guidelines is deductible as ‘other’ expenses,” he says.

Run to and from your main studio

You cannot deduct mileage to and from your home or to the studio where you most often teach, as this is considered your primary place of work. However, you can deduct studio-to-studio miles, as well as any distance you travel to and from private yoga classes.

Yoga clothes

Unfortunately, yoga wear is not tax deductible. “The government’s specifications for work clothes or uniforms are clear: training clothes are not deductible. It’s considered the same as wearing normal clothes to work,” says Green-Lewis.

Volunteer hours

The hours you spend on volunteer training are not deductible, Green-Lewis says. But any incidentals you buy for your volunteer work, as well as your mileage to and from those activities count as deductions. So, if you volunteer at a local after-school program and buy rugs or blocks at a thrift store, you can deduct those expenses. In 2022, the deduction from the mileage rate is calculated at the level of 14 cents per mile.

Also, to clearly define “volunteering”, if you’ve taken a YTT and occasionally teach yoga with friends and family but don’t charge a fee, that’s considered different from actually using your time and talents for charitable purposes (although you may disagree ). If this is your situation, you should not try to write off your yoga expenses.

What else yoga teachers should know about taxes

If you earn even a small income from teaching yoga, it is considered self-employment for tax purposes. However, if you declare more deductions than tuition income year after year, chances are that the audit will not look favorably on it. “My understanding is that people are caught when they don’t report enough income and they write off more,” says Brown, who was audited in the 1990s while teaching in Brooklyn.

Of course, yoga teachers don’t make a lot of money, so you might worry about charging too much. There is probably no need to worry. Keep records of your expenses, report your income accurately, and consult an accountant if you have questions.

“Here’s the thing,” says Brown. “Yoga teachers tend to be a very honest and conscientious bunch. They’re not the kind of people who like to game the system, and with taxes and write-offs, it can seem like you’re doing that.” At the end of the day, you’re trying to do the right thing, even if it seems confusing and overwhelming and like you’re actually gaming the system. Perhaps these intentions are not so useless.

About our contributor

Carrie Havranek is a food and wellness writer, yoga practitioner, and Reiki master living in eastern Pennsylvania.

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