Guest post by Sarah Rexman
Tax deadlines are quickly approaching. If you haven’t already filed, you still have time to take advantage of some deductions available to freelancers to lower your overall tax burden. If you have already filed, you can consider amending your return if you missed some key deductions, or you can consider how to better report the following deductions that you can take as a freelance writer when you file next year:
If you work from home, there are many deductions you can take for your “home office,” including a portion of your rent, utilities, Internet bill, and more. You must have a dedicated space in your home that you use for writing and for nothing else. Then you can calculate what percentage of your home the space uses, and apply that percentage to your total household bills. For example, if your office takes up 20 percent of your home (by square footage), you can deduct 20 percent of your mortgage, 20 percent of your light bill, and so on.
Every business requires equipment to run it, and freelance writing is no different. Computers, printers, printer ink, paper, pens, sticky notes, and more can all be deducted if they are used for your freelance writing. Computers and other durable equipment may either be deducted in whole the year they were purchased, or a depreciation value can be deducted each year.
Most freelance writers use their phones as a primary means of doing business. You call clients, you conduct interviews, and you schedule advertising. You can deduct all or a portion of your cell phone, depending on how it is used.
If you have to interview experts or other sources for your articles, you can deduct the cost of any expenses for that interview. This can include the coffee or lunch you bought for your interview, the mileage you used to drive to your interview, or any fees you had to pay for the interview.
If you attend professional conferences or have to travel out of the area to interview a source, you can deduct these expenses. Mileage, airfare, train fare, lodging and meals can all be deducted when they are purchased in relation to travel for your business.
Books and Periodicals
Do you subscribe to industry publications, like Writer’s Digest? Or did you buy some books this year about how to improve your writing or how to market your work? The cost of these publications is deductible as part of your continuing training.
If you belong to a professional organization that is related to your work as a freelance writer, you can deduct the cost of membership. You need not attend meetings or serve on any committees in order to apply the deduction.
At times, you may have to call on the services of other professionals in order to conduct your business. Fees for accountants, personal assistants, and even other freelancers can all be deducted from your taxes. Bank fees and Paypal fees can also be deducted.
Do you run a Web site or online portfolio for your work? do you purchase advertising in magazines or on Web sites? These expenses and any others you incur while promoting your services can all be deducted from your taxes.
When you work for yourself, you have to provide your own “benefits.” If you pay for your own health insurance, you can deduct the premiums from your tax burden. Ditto for life insurance or disability insurance.
There may be many other deductions you can claim depending on the type of freelance business you run and the expenses you incur. Typically, any expenses you incur as a result of doing business will be able to be deducted at the end of the year. Be sure to keep receipts and to maintain mileage logs, and always consult with a qualified tax professional to get expert advice about what deductions are allowable.
Sarah Rexman is the main researcher and writer for www.bedbugs.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Florida State, with a master’s degree in environmental science. Her main focus for the site involves researching ideas for people who need bed bug help.