Piano Studio Business Claims: Things that spark joy can be claimed at tax time

Not sure what to write on your Christmas wish list? If you’re like me, you may already have mostly everything you want. But as a piano teacher, you might be able to think of many things you still want for your studio!

Christmas confession: I mix business and pleasure. I actually ask for Christmas presents that are really for my piano studio (i.e. myself). And then save the receipts and claim them as tax write-offs.

Would this make you a Grinch? A Scrooge? Or a shrewd business woman who knows how to get all the fun things you want for your studio at a time when people want to give you things anyway?

Here’s how it works:

  • Ask for very specific things that you need or want for your studio.
  • Keep the requests and spending within your household. If your partner buys something for your studio, that’s the same as purchasing it for your business, yourself.
  • If you have a studio business credit card, ask the purchaser to use it to pay for such purchases. Save the receipt and mark it “Studio” to make sure that you remember to claim the purchase at tax time.
  • The gift is then saved away and wrapped for Christmas, and placed under your tree or in your stocking.
  • When you open it, it’ll be exactly what you want, what you can use and can spark joy in your studio.
  • At tax time, claim the expense as a tax write-off, which lowers the income tax you’ll owe.

How this works ethically: When my students pay me, I deposit tuition into my personal bank account (I’ve looked into a business account and it’s exorbitantly expensive and my bank recommended against it). When my husband buys me my piano studio wish list, we make purchases on my studio Mastercard but pay that off with money from our personal account with money which I’ve earned teaching piano lessons. So, we call it a gift between us, but really the money comes from my business. This wouldn’t work with gifts outside our personal financial set-up.

Gift ideas that spark joy in piano studios:

1. Stickers

Gift idea for a piano teacher: Stickers.

Stickers. For $10 or less, someone can give you a package of stickers. Stickers reward effort for our youngest students and make lessons more fun!

Personally, I can never have too many stickers! Through the winter months it gives me great joy to choose which ones to give to my students each week.

2. Calendar and Agenda

Gift idea for a piano teacher: Calendar or agenda.

Calendar and agenda. I love displaying a beautiful new calendar on my studio wall each year. It’s artistically enriching for my students to see fresh art on my wall each month, and also puts us in tune with the passing seasons.

I also love having a high-quality agenda to keep my life straight, including my lesson schedule and to-do list. I ask for both each year and receive them as gifts, but claim them as business expenses.

3. Pens and Pencils

Gift ideas for a piano teacher: Pens and Pencils.

Pens and pencils. I always love getting seasonal or beautiful pencils. Office supplies can be claimed as a business expense!

This year I’ve asked for a refillable pen. I’ve finally gotten tired of throwing away disposable plastic pens. Pictured above is the pen I want, which can be refilled and re-used. It’s under $10.

4. Instruments, etc.

Gift ideas for a piano teacher: Instruments and music-related story books.

Instruments, music story books and manipulatives. It’s fun to stock your instrument and book libraries with extras that enrich the teaching and learning environment in your studio. Your local music store is brimming with affordable gift ideas that make lessons more joyful and educational. These may range in price from $5-$30.

5. Print Music and eSheets

Gift idea for a piano teacher: Piano Books.

Music books or sheet music. If you’ve had your eye on music books but have delayed buying them for yourself, it’s fun to get them gift wrapped under the tree! And you can still claim them at tax time! Music books typically run between $10-$20.

If you prefer studio-licensed eSheets, these are also a great gift idea. Right now my 2022 MaxMusic eSheet Club is on sale. Only $12 USD ($15 CAD) for twelve studio-licensed eSheets, delivered on the first day of each month throughout the 2022 year. It’s a great value!

6. Tech Gear

Gift idea for a piano teacher: Hercules Tablet Holder.

Tech gear. Are you looking to upgrade the technology you use in your studio? Perhaps you need new headphones for online teaching or an iPad stand. These items can be requested for Christmas and be claimed at tax time! The iPad holder featured in the following images runs in the $45-$60 range.

Several years ago I asked for and got the Hercules Tablet Holder under the tree. (Stand not included). For the stand, I use the base of my music stand.

Gift idea for a piano teacher: Hercules Tablet Holder.

It’s versatile. I turn it one way and use the iPad’s back camera to film in-person piano lessons. With the screen facing away from students, they’re able to focus without the distraction of seeing themselves on a screen.

Gift idea for a piano teacher: Hercules Tablet Holder.

I turn the tablet holder the other way for online lessons, for the close-up view of my hands and piano keys. The front camera is used because the screen is a useful reference for knowing what the student is seeing.

7. Big Ticket Items

Gift idea for a piano teacher: Pedal extender.

Pedal extender. I’m now in the market for a top-notch pedal extender that would allow my youngest students to reach the pedals. This gift is going to have to wait because I’m want the one Irina Gorin has designed, and it’s only being manufactured now. This will be on my list next Christmas. Pedal extenders run at about $280.

Merry and Bright Idea

It’s actually very practical to ask for gifts that you can use every day in your professional life.

The idea is to ask for gifts that will spark joy in your studio. And, even though they’re wrapped and under your tree, if the gifts are purchased in your household and the receipts are saved, you’ll be able to claim the purchases when you do your income tax.

The business woman in you will have a merrier Christmas knowing that the gifts under the tree tagged with your name will lower your year’s income tax! That’s what I call a Happy New Year!

Can you think of gifts that would make your day-to-day job easier or more fun, that could be wrapped under your tree? If so, leave a comment!


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I appreciate shares, comments and likes. Happy teaching! ❤

Rebekah Maxner, composer, blogger, piano teacher. Follow my blog for great tips!

Video of the Week

Jolly Pachelbel (Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and Pachelbel’s Canon). It’s a special arrangement in which the melody of the well-known children’s Christmas classic is matched with the equally famous and loved Pachelbel’s Canon. Beginner students shine with pride as their child-like, jolly little piece transforms into a truly special musical experience. It’s a Christmas memory that will last. Available as a the Jolly Pachelbel Print book with two student sheet inserts (for practicing), and as the Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and Pachelbel’s Canon studio-licensed eBook.

Listen to Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and Pachelbel’s Canon!
Listen to a sound sample of Red Line!

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