10 Tax Write-Offs for Doulas

As a doula, you know firsthand the importance of providing compassionate and essential support to expectant mothers during one of the most transformative experiences in their lives.

But as a business owner, it’s also crucial to understand the financial aspects of your doula practice. One key aspect that can significantly impact your bottom line is tax write-offs.

Tax write-offs are expenses that can be deducted from your income, reducing the tax burdens.

For doulas in the US, knowing which expenses are tax-deductible can result in substantial savings come tax season. These deductions can offset the cost of running your doula business and maximize your savings.

One significant benefit for doulas regarding tax write-offs is that they have two options for filing their taxes: as a self-employed individual or through a business entity as an LLC.

In this blog post, we will explore the top 10 tax write-offs specifically for doulas.

Say goodbye to leaving money on the table and hello to taking advantage of all the deductions available to you. 

Whichever option you choose, specific expenses may be eligible for deduction.

Let’s dive in and start saving!

Understanding Tax Write-Offs

As a doula in the US, you may be eligible for two tax write-offs: standard and itemized. Standard deductions are set amounts the government determines based on your filing status (single, married, filing jointly, etc.)

On the other hand, itemized deductions allow you to deduct specific expenses you have incurred throughout the year. 

As a self-employed doula, you likely itemize your deductions since it gives you more control over which expenses to deduct.

However, keeping detailed records of all your business expenses throughout the year is important to accurately claim them on your taxes. 

This includes keeping receipts, invoices, and any other relevant documentation.

By taking advantage of these deductions, doulas can save money, invest in their businesses, and continue providing quality care to their clients.

10 Tax Write-Offs Doulas Need to Know

10 Tax Write-Offs Doulas Need to Know

💰 1. Training and Certification Expenses

As a doula, investing in your training and certification is essential for building a successful career. It enhances your skills and knowledge in the field and demonstrates to clients and potential employers that you are committed to providing high-quality services.

The good news is that these expenses can be tax-deductible, allowing you to maximize your savings at tax time.

Becoming certified as a doula adds credibility to your practice and opens up opportunities for higher-paying jobs. The fees associated with obtaining or renewing your certification are fully deductible on your taxes.

This includes the initial application fee, exam fees, annual renewal fees, and additional costs such as study materials or review courses.

You can also claim a tax write-off for the cost of attending workshops, seminars, conferences, and other training programs related to your work as a doula. This includes any registration fees, travel expenses (airfare, lodging, meals), and materials required for the training.

It’s important to note that the training must directly relate to your job responsibilities as a doula to be considered deductible.

In addition to initial training and certification costs, ongoing education related to maintaining or improving your skills as a doula can also be claimed as a tax write-off.

This includes attending classes or workshops on new techniques or procedures within the birth industry, taking prenatal or postpartum care courses, or pursuing specialized certifications such as lactation consulting or childbirth education.

When claiming these expenses on your taxes, it’s important to keep detailed records of all transactions related to training and certification.

For certification fees paid through an organization like DONA International or CAPPA (Childbirth And Postpartum Professional Association), ensure you have copies of all receipts showing proof of payment.

Be sure to consult with a tax professional if you have any questions about which expenses are deductible.

💰 2. Membership Fees to Professional Organizations

Membership fees to professional organizations are necessary for doulas, as they provide valuable resources and support for your career.

These organizations offer networking opportunities and provide access to education and training, updates on industry trends and regulations, and advocacy efforts for the doula profession.

The good news is that membership fees to professional organizations are tax deductible for doulas in the US.

This means you can claim them as business expenses on your tax return, reducing your taxable income and potentially increasing your refund or decreasing the amount you owe in taxes.

Various professional organizations are available to doulas in the US, each with its own membership fee structure. Some popular options include DONA International, Birth Arts International, and CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association).

It is important to research different organizations before choosing one that best fits your needs and budget.

Remember a few key things when claiming these membership fees on your taxes. First, make sure that the organization you are joining is a legitimate professional organization related to your occupation as a doula.

You cannot deduct membership fees for social or recreational clubs.

Remember that there may be limits or restrictions on how much you can deduct from these fees. Generally, any expenses related to business activities can be deducted up to 50% of your adjusted gross income.

However, if you have an S-corporation or partnership status as a doula, this limit may not apply.

💰 3. Travel Expenses for Clients or Training

As a doula, you may frequently travel to attend client births or participate in trainings and conferences. Luckily, these travel expenses can be tax deductible. By keeping track of your travel expenses, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your taxes.

Firstly, it’s important to understand what qualifies as a deductible travel expense. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), any transportation costs incurred for business purposes are considered deductible.

This includes airfare, train tickets, car rental fees, and gas for personal vehicles.

When traveling for client births or training, it’s also common to incur lodging expenses. These include hotel stays or rental properties.

If the trip is directly related to your doula work and not primarily for personal reasons, these lodging expenses can also be written off on your taxes.

Meals and entertainment costs while traveling can also be deducted at 50% of the total cost. This includes meals with clients or colleagues during business trips.

However, extravagant meal expenses may raise red flags with the IRS and should be kept reasonable. Other miscellaneous travel expenses such as baggage fees, parking fees, tolls, and tips can also be recorded as deductions from your taxes.

Keeping detailed records of all business-related travel expenses is crucial to taking advantage of these tax write-offs. Additionally, when filing taxes, accurately report the dates of your trips and provide evidence that they were solely for business purposes.

A separate credit card solely for business-related purchases is recommended to track them easily during tax season.

💰 4. Supplies and Equipment Purchases

Supplies and Equipment Purchases can be a significant expense for doulas, but fortunately, they are also considered tax-deductible.

But first, it is important to understand the difference between supplies and equipment. 

Supplies are items used up or consumed while providing doula services. These may include massage oils, disposable gloves, tissues, and other consumable items. Equipment refers to larger items with more than one year of useful life.

Examples of doula equipment might include a breast pump or a birth pool.

For supplies, you can either deduct the actual cost of the items or use the simplified method of claiming $5 per client visit (up to a maximum of $500).

If you opt for the simplified method, you don’t need to keep receipts for individual purchases; however, if you choose to deduct actual expenses, keep all receipts as proof in case of an audit.

When it comes to equipment purchases, different rules depend on whether they are used exclusively for your doula business or if they have personal use as well. If an item is solely used for your business, it can be fully deducted in the year it was purchased.

For example, if you buy a new breast pump specifically for use with clients during labor support sessions, you can deduct its full cost from your taxable income.

On the other hand, if an item has both business and personal use (e.g., using your phone for both personal calls and client communication), then only the percentage used for business purposes can be deducted.

In this case, keeping careful records of the percentage of business use to support your deduction claim is essential.

For equipment purchases over $2,500, you may need to depreciate the cost over several years instead of deducting it all at once.

This is a more complex process and may require the assistance of a tax professional.

💰 5. Office Space Rental or Home

Many doulas struggle with deciding whether to rent an office space or work from home.

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, but when it comes to tax write-offs, there are some key differences that you need to consider.

This includes both office space rental and home expenses. However, the rules and limitations for each type of expense differ significantly.

If you rent an office space, you can deduct the entire rent paid as a business expense on your taxes. If you pay $1,000 monthly for your office space, you can deduct $12,000 from your annual taxable income.

Any utilities or other costs related to the rental space, such as internet or phone bills, can also be deducted.

On the other hand, if you decide to work from home instead of renting an office space, things get more complicated. To claim deductions for using part of your home for business purposes, you must meet certain criteria set by the IRS.

The most important requirement is that the area used for your business must be used exclusively and regularly for business activities. 

Assuming you meet all requirements set by the IRS, there are two ways to calculate your deduction: the simplified and regular methods.

The simplified method allows individuals who work from home to deduct $5 per square foot up to 300 square feet ($1,500 maximum) without having to keep detailed records of actual expenses incurred while working from home. 

However, you choose to use the regular method. In that case, you can deduct a percentage of your expenses, such as mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, and property taxes, based on the square footage used for business purposes.

So, whether you rent an office space or work from home, consult a tax professional or CPA for personalized advice based on your situation.

💰 6. Business meals

Business meals are an important aspect of being a doula, as they allow you to network and build relationships with potential clients and other professionals in the birth community.

Luckily, the cost of business meals can be written off on your taxes, helping you to maximize your savings.

To qualify for a tax write-off, business meals must meet certain criteria. First, the meal must be directly related to your doula business, which should involve discussing or promoting your services as a doula.

This could include meeting prospective clients to discuss birth plans or networking with other birth professionals at a conference or event.

In addition, the meal must have a clear business purpose. This could include discussing strategies for growing your doula business, sharing resources with colleagues, or brainstorming new ideas for improving client care.

It is important to keep detailed records of these discussions and any receipts from the meal to support your claim for a tax deduction.

When calculating the amount you can deduct for business meals, there are two options: actual costs or standard rates. With actual costs, you would track all expenses related to the meal, including food and drinks (not including alcohol), tips, and taxes.

With the standard rate, you would use a predetermined daily rate set by the IRS based on location – this option may be easier if you have multiple business meals throughout the year.

It is also important to note that while 50% of eligible business meal expenses can be claimed as a tax write-off in most cases, there are some exceptions where 100% can be deducted.

For example, provide meals during childbirth education classes or breastfeeding support groups open to anyone (including non-clients) without charging an additional fee.

Those expenses may qualify as 100% deductible.

💰 7. Travel lodging

According to the IRS, travel lodging is an overnight stay away from your primary residence for business purposes. This can include hotels, motels, Airbnb rentals, and even staying with friends or family if no cost is involved.

It’s essential to keep track of all your expenses related to travel lodging, including receipts and proof of payment.

As a doula, you may have several clients in different locations requiring frequent travel. The good news is that all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred during these trips are fully deductible.

This includes accommodation and transportation expenses such as airfare, car rental fees, and gas mileage if you use your own vehicle.

When it comes to claiming travel lodging as a tax write-off, there are two methods: standard mileage rate and actual expense method.

The standard mileage rate allows doulas to deduct a set amount per mile (currently 56 cents per mile) for each business-related trip made with their personal vehicle. 

💰 8. Advertising & Marketing

Advertising and marketing are essential aspects of running a successful doula business. Not only do they help you attract new clients, but they also allow you to establish your brand and differentiate yourself from other doulas in the market.

As a result, these expenses can be claimed as tax write-offs for doulas in the US.

One of the most common forms of advertising for doulas is through online platforms such as social media and websites.

If you have a dedicated website for your doula services or run advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, these expenses can be written off as business deductions.

This includes any fees paid to website hosting services or fees for running sponsored ads.

In addition to online advertising, traditional methods such as print ads and flyers can also be claimed as tax write-offs. Y

ou can deduct expenses related to designing and printing marketing materials, such as business cards, brochures, or flyers that promote your doula services.

Remember that these materials must directly relate to promoting your business to qualify for a deduction.

Another crucial aspect of advertising and marketing for doulas is creating content that educates potential clients about your services.

This could include blog posts on relevant topics related to pregnancy and birth or producing informative videos on YouTube or other video-sharing platforms.

Any costs incurred while creating this content—including equipment rental, software subscriptions, and editing fees—are considered legitimate business deductions.

💰 9. Software & Subscriptions

As a doula, you may have a lot of expenses related to your business and professional development. The good news is that many of these expenses can be deducted from your taxes as legitimate business write-offs.

One category that is often overlooked but can provide significant tax savings for doulas is software and subscriptions.

One popular software expense among doulas is electronic health record (EHR) systems. EHRs allow you to securely store client information, track their progress throughout pregnancy and postpartum, and communicate with other healthcare providers involved in their care.

As long as the EHR system is used exclusively for your doula practice, it can be fully deductible on your taxes.

Another common expense in this category is subscription fees for online services or publications related to doula work.

This could include memberships to professional organizations like DONA International or Lamaze International, which offer doulas valuable resources and networking opportunities. It could also include online courses or webinars focused on childbirth education or new techniques in doula support.

Subscriptions to industry-specific magazines or journals can also be considered deductions on your taxes.

For example, if you subscribe to “The Doula” magazine or “Journal of Perinatal Education,” these costs can be written off as a business expense.

Consider consulting with a tax professional specializing in small businesses to ensure you accurately claim these deductions.

💰 10. Vehicle-Related Expenses

With the amount of travel involved in doula work, these expenses can quickly add up and significantly impact your overall savings. Luckily, business-related travel can be claimed as a tax deduction.

This means that any personal use of your vehicle cannot be included in your write-offs. 

Most common vehicle-related expenses, such as gas, maintenance, and repairs, can be claimed as deductions if you use your vehicle for doula work.

This could include things like getting an oil change specifically because you have been driving more for clients or replacing tires due to wear and tear from frequent travel.

Another aspect to consider regarding vehicles is parking fees and tolls incurred during business trips. These expenses may seem small, but over time, they can really add up and make a difference in your overall tax burden.

It’s also worth mentioning that you can also claim tax deductions if you choose to rent a car or use public transportation. 

If you purchase or lease a separate vehicle exclusively for your doula work, you can deduct that vehicle’s full cost as a business expense.

However, this is a more complex scenario, and it’s important to consult with a tax professional to ensure you are following all necessary guidelines.

Simplify Tax Time With doola!

When to Choose doola

Running a successful by yourself is a lot of work. Therefore, it’s easy to get bogged down in paperwork and complex tax filings when tax season rolls around.

So, if you’re looking for a solution to simplify your tax filing and unlock even more savings, doola can help!

Get started with doola’s tax package today to handle the complexities of tax filing. It ensures you claim every eligible deduction, saving you more money and allowing you to invest in growth initiatives, expand your services, or reward yourself.

Schedule a free consultation with a doola tax expert to know how much you can save.

doola's website is for general information purposes only and doesn't provide official law or tax advice. For tax or legal advice we are happy to connect you to a professional in our network! Please see our terms and privacy policy. Thank you and please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Start your dream business and keep it 100% compliant

Turn your dream idea into your dream business.