Reeling in the Savings: Tax Deductions for Fishing

Reeling in tax deductions for a fishing business is much easier than reeling in a big catch.

Reeling in tax deductions for a fishing business is much easier than reeling in a big catch.

It’s National Fishing Week! Fishing is a hobby many amateur anglers enjoy in their free time. But it’s also a big industry. Many entrepreneurs out there run fishing charters, give fishing tours and lessons, and are active on the water in a variety of capacities.

The IRS generally allows self-employed individuals in the fishing trade or those who own a fishing-based business to reel in some savings by claiming the following ordinary and necessary fishing expenses as tax deductions when using Schedule C of Form 1040:


  • You can depreciate the cost of your fishing boat for a trade or business using the 7-year property depreciation approach. You can depreciate traps, nets, pots, and other such items using this model as well, unless you determine that you will only be using them for less than one year. In this case, you can claim their initial cost as a deduction.
  • For any repairs or improvements to property like fishing boats that increase their value, make them more useful, and lengthen their life, you must depreciate the money you spend to make these modifications. Otherwise, you can claim these expenses as a write-off.


Transportation Expenses

  • You can typically write off the fuel you buy for your fishing boat. (NOTE: You may be eligible to claim a fuel tax credit as well.) Consider maintaining a mileage log with data on the distances you travel on your boat for business purposes.
  • You can only deduct transportation if it is for business purposes. For instance, if you report to an office complex where you house the administrative side of your business and then drive to a dock where your charter is housed, you can write off this trip behind the wheel using mileage or actual expenses.

Fishing Tools & Equipment

  • Fishing reels, tackle boxes, storage bins, coolers, life jackets, GPS systems and other common tools and supplies needed for fishing trips are considered deductible business expenses.

Meals & Entertainment Expenses

  • Meals are deductible for fishing professionals if you’re away from your ordinary “tax home” doing business and your trips are overnight or long enough to require a time of rest for you to perform your trade. Fishermen often spend many hours using their reels throughout a workweek, making it common for them to need to reenergize with food they bring on their boats. That’s why this deduction can be a nice perk to save on taxes.
  • If you conduct business activities during a meal or entertainment event, you can write off 50% of these expenses.

Marketing Expenses

  • Any expenses you incur to spread the word about your fishing business are deductible, including business cards, a website and web hosting, social media marketing, etc.

Home Office Expenses

  • If you operate your fishing business out of your home office when you’re not on the water, you can deduct a portion of your residence via the home office deduction. This may include phone and Internet access, electricity, and other expenses. Take a percentage of your home bills based on how much is spent on business activities, and then you can write off this amount on your tax return. You may also use the flat-rate home office deduction method by claiming $5 per square foot of home office space for up to 300 square feet with a maximum deduction of $1,500.

Get more tax deductions for fishing and ways to save money through IRS business deductions by working with the accounting pros at 1-800Accountant. Call 1-800-222-6868 or visit

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