Off THEIR Minds: Could Superheroes' Costumes be Tax Deductible?

We ask James Asmus, Kyle Higgins, J.T. Krul, Jimmy Palmiotti, James Tynion IV, Scott Lobdell and Brian Buccellato the question.

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Off THEIR Minds: Could Superheroes' Costumes be Tax Deductible?

We ask James Asmus, Kyle Higgins, J.T. Krul, Jimmy Palmiotti, James Tynion IV, Scott Lobdell and Brian Buccellato the question.

As it now tax season, you have to wonder what superheroes do about their taxes? For many, their primary profession is being a superhero. There are some that may make an income from using their superpowers. (This is actually a question asked at Emerald City Comicon).

Besides their power, a big part of being a superhero is their costume. Because they often throw themselves into extremely dangerous situations against powerful villains, these costumes can get damaged or torn.

Not all heroes have the luxury of an organization providing new costumes for them. The cost for repairs or replacement would come out of their own pocket. So the question is, could they write off this cost on their taxes?

We asked ames Asmus, Kyle Higgins, J.T. Krul, Jimmy Palmiotti, James Tynion IV, Scott Lobdell and Brian Buccellato what they thought about this at WonderCon 2013 in Anaheim, CA.

20 Comments
Edited by Cap10nate

As a CPA, I can say that work uniforms are only deductible if they are not practical for use outside of work and are required by their profession. Therefore, most costumes would be tax deductible. However, they are only tax deductible if you are part of a business that requires them. So, they would have to be employees of a crime fighting organization (Avengers) that files as business or incorporate their own business for their crime fighting purposes.

If their costumes are not extravagant and/or could be used as street clothes, then they could not be deducted. i.e. jeans and leather jacket or something similar. Anything with a cape should be fine.

Posted by Kal'smahboi

Funny to see how few comic creators are familiar with tax law haha. They could only deduct from their taxes if they were drawing income, and therefore paying income taxes, from the job. No taxes means no deductions.

Right, @cap10nate?

Edited by Cap10nate

Funny to see how few comic creators are familiar with tax law haha. They could only deduct from their taxes if they were drawing income, and therefore paying income taxes, from the job. No taxes means no deductions.

Right, @cap10nate?

Correct. They have to be working for someone who requires them to wear the costume. If they incorporated themselves and created their own company which required all crime fighting employees (themselves included) to wear a costume, they could deduct the it. However, like you said, they need to be drawing an income from that profession to be able to deduct. That is why I mentioned the Avengers who I believe are paid (in some of their iterations). Members of the Avengers could deduct if they received payment and were W-2 receiving employees.

Posted by QuantomMan

Kyle Higgins: "that's why Batman started Batman Inc,....FOR those tex deductions"

Lol, that hilarious

Tony, you certainly went to town on ideas and interviews for WonderCon, thanks so much man. This makes work an enjoyable event.

Edited by Overlander

I love this question so much I itemized it.

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Posted by neillius

I'm a CPA as well and @cap10nate hit it dead on. One thing I'd add is even if they incorporate, how are they generating money? It seems most superheroes do this for no pay, so there'd be no taxes.

Posted by Cap10nate

@neillius said:

I'm a CPA as well and @cap10nate hit it dead on. One thing I'd add is even if they incorporate, how are they generating money? It seems most superheroes do this for no pay, so there'd be no taxes.

Yea. They'd have to go the Heroes for Hire route. . . Unfortunately, Luke Cage's outfit wouldn't be tax deductible due to the versatility of his clothes for everyday use.

Edited by judasnixon

Talking about tax deduction and comics, back when I was in Art School we had two guest teacher whom were professional comic artist at the time that I will not name..... all they did was talk about how awesome the tax deduction are as an artist. Movies, Video Games, Comics, Magazines, anything visual you can write off.... One off the Artist was telling us how he wrote off his porno collection, and how he pick up dropped movie tickets just to turn them in as a tax write off.....

Posted by NightFang

@judasnixon said:

Talking about tax deduction and comics, back when I was in Art School we had two guest teacher whom were professional comic artist at the time that I will not name..... all they did was talk about how awesome the tax deduction are as an artist. Movies, Video Games, Comics, Magazines, anything visual you can write off.... One off the Artist was telling us how he wrote off his porno collection, and how he pick up dropped movie tickets just to turn them in as a tax write off.....

Those clever bastards.

Edited by Solomonwreath

@cap10nate: So what your saying is that someone like iron man could qualify for tax deductibility? on another note would batman incorporated be a business?

Posted by theTimeStreamer

i dont think either side would go for it. superheroes wont go for it because the gov will surely want their real names and the gov is too cheap.

Edited by BlueLantern1995

Don't know its a interesting question.

Edited by feargalr

This continues to be my favorite feature on comic vine!

Posted by Jean199999

Absolutely not. Let's not encourage vigilantism.

Posted by Cap10nate

@cap10nate: So what your saying is that someone like iron man could qualify for tax deductibility? on another note would batman incorporated be a business?

Iron Man is a tricky one. As a part of Stark Industries, being Iron Man is not necessary for part of the job so I don't think it could be deducted as a personal deduction for Tony Stark. However, the cost of manufacturing Iron Man armors could be a Stark industries business deduction.

Batman Incorporated would be a business if they registered with the state and filed taxes as a business. The problem is that they all have secret identities. In order to claim a deduction as a result of a business, you have to file a W-2 with that business so they would have to acknowledge that they are a part of Batman Incorporated.

The main issue with most of these heroes is that they don't collect an income in being a hero or have a secret identity which they would have to divulge. The funny thing about the IRS is that it is the only time in the USA where you are guilty until proven innocent. If you claim a deduction, you have to prove why you should get it instead of them proving why you should not.

@neillius: Please correct me if I'm wrong on any of that. I really hate taxes and try not to think about them. ha.

Edited by RedheadedAtrocitus

Asmus hit it on the head people....tax write-offs for one's costume would be a dead giveaway to revealing one's identity. Furthermore, its like he said...you have to be making an actual salary to await taxes, and last time I checked the superhero business was cash only or just simply doing it in the name of truth and justice. A whole other reason why for me the entire concept of Batman, Incorporated was just a ridiculous thing to begin with.

Posted by Queso6p4

Brian Buccellato's response made me laugh. This question also touches on something-collateral damage. If superheroes got tax write offs for their costumes it stands to reason they could also start being held responsible for some of the damages done during their heroics.

Edited by VioletPhoenix

but..why..