Taking Care of Your Taxes—a few pointers that will help take the pain out of filing your taxes

$45.00 members / $75.00 nonmembers     3.0 CE credits

Purchase Already purchased? Sign in to take this course »

Whether you are a new massage therapist or have had a practice of your own for many years, the need for a complete, timely record keeping system is mandatory. Learn the benefits of such an accounting system, including preparation of accurate income tax returns and managing information to more successfully run your massage therapy business.

This course covers the basics. For additional information, take advantage of the resources at irs.gov. Specific references for a number of topics are included at the end of this course.

Note: For purposes of this article, it is assumed that the practitioner is a Sole Proprietor or Single Member LLC filing on IRS Form 1040, Schedule C. In most cases, unless otherwise noted, the information provided would also apply to other entities (i.e., S Corporations) but the form to file and the line numbers would be different. See Lesson 2 for more on this topic.

This course has not been approved in the state of Mississippi.

This course was updated in 2017 and is meant to provide a general overview of taxes for massage therapists. It does not offer personalized tax, legal, or other business or professional advice.

Always consult a tax professional to determine your situation and if the new 2018 tax law changes impact you. For additional tax information, take advantage of the resources at irs.gov.


Too often businesses fail because they don’t know their financial picture and cannot make adjustments before a crisis hits or taxes are due. This course provides information to ensure massage therapists have a timely and accurate system of record keeping. When you finish this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the value of record keeping for a variety of business organizations.
  • Explain different ways of organizing as a business entity
  • Explain how the Internal Revenue Service determines who to audit.
  • Define basic terms: accounting journal, general ledger, balance sheet, statement of income and expense, estimated quarterly taxes, depreciation, cash vs. accrual accounting, credit, tax home and draws.
  • Describe how accounting and tax preparation software can be used to document and define discounts, traded services, travel, meal, gift and home office expenses.
  • Define exclusive and regular use of a home office.
  • Explain the difference between 1099 contractors and employees and how to calculate payroll and quarterly taxes.
  • Describe two kinds of retirement plans for your employees. 
  • List 10 deductions found in this course that are reasonable for a massage practice.


This course contains information that is proprietary. None of the material contained within this course may be used without the express written permission of AMTA unless otherwise indicated in the course. As a reminder, before practicing any new modalities or techniques, check with your state’s massage therapy regulatory authority to ensure they are within the state’s defined scope of practice for massage therapy.

About the author(s)

Margo Bowman has been a practicing accountant for over 50 years, specializing in small business taxation and Record Keeping. She is a licensed tax consultant (LTC) in Oregon and has earned the enrolled agent (EA) designation which allows her to practice before the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of her client base.

In addition to taxation and accounting credentials, Margo is also a licensed massage therapist (LMT) in Oregon, giving her a unique insight into the needs of the massage therapy profession. She has been asked to speak nationally on small business taxation and the record keeping requirements it imposes. 

Margo graduated from Oregon School of Massage in 1990 and has taught a tax/record keeping class there each year since. Her massage practice has been on a volunteer basis with services provided to hospice, MS and injury patients at no charge. She studied massage in Russia in 1992 and frequently returns to that country as part of a university project.

Course approval codes


Course expiration

Please note that you must complete each AMTA online learning course and pass the exam one year from the date of purchase. If you do not complete the course and pass the exam within one year, you will be required to re-purchase the course.


Online courses are non-refundable. AMTA will not cover fees incurred from duplicate payments, insufficient funds, stopped payments or credit/debit cards over credit limits.

"As a professional member of AMTA, I have found comfort in knowing that all the effort I put into obtaining my massage certification is recognized and protected. AMTA standards validate the profession."

Kim K., AMTA member since 2003