Monday, December 22, 2008


To "carry on" is to continue doing, pursuing, or operating, according to my Merriam Webster dictionary. That is the way it is used in the phrase "carrying on a trade or business." As writers and artisans, if we want the grace that allows us to deduct our expenses relative to such activity, even if they result in a loss, we must make certain that we are carrying on our writing or our artistry.

"Carrying on" can also have a negative connotation. When I used to work for the government it wasn't unusual for those I worked with to be "carrying on" about this or that. They were complaining, usually. I haven't been above and beyond "carrying on" in that vein myself.

For the purposes of writers and artisans and others who do freelancing, with respect to coming within the terms of the grace that allows you to deduct business expenses, to meet the "carrying on" test not a great deal is expected. Activity is the key. Sustained activity. If you travel to Las Vegas once or twice a year hoping to make money gambling, that won't meet the "carrying on" criteria --- for a number of reasons, one of which is that you are not carrying on the activity in a sustained manner. You are not continuing to do, pursue, or operate.

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