You can deduct business-related expenses, even if you have no income. The business would, of course, show a loss for the year. From what I've been told, the IRS may begin to "pay close attention" if you're consistently showing a loss every year, especially if you have little or no income every year. In this case, they will be suspicious that it's really just a hobby or something that you're trying to use to deduct expenses for, rather than a business. You would use a Schedule C to enter expenses for the business.