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45 Tax Deductions for Freelance Writers

written by: Nicky LaMarco•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/5/2011

The top tax deductions for freelance writers and how to write them off.

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    If you're a freelance writer you know tax season is here. You have probably already received some 1099 forms in the mail for the work you have completed throughout the year. Taxes are always daunting, but deductions help lower the amount you owe or get a tax return.

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    45 Freelance Writing Tax Deductions

    1. Books bought for research or education
    2. Office Furniture
    3. Business Phone Line
    4. Stamps and Envelopes
    5. Business Banking Fees
    6. Advertising
    7. Website Hosting and Domains
    8. Printer
    9. Computer
    10. Internet Connection
    11. Magazines
    12. Business Trip Costs
    13. Business Meals
    14. Health Care
    15. Professional Organization Membership Fees
    16. Gas Mileage for Business Trips
    17. Software for Freelance Writing
    18. Home Office
    19. Cost of an Office
    20. Fax Machine
    21. Scanner
    22. Printer Ink
    23. Paper
    24. Pens
    25. Notebooks
    26. Camera for Article Photos
    27. Online Subscriptions for Freelance Writing
    28. Accounting and Tax Filing Fees
    29. Writing Conferences
    30. Writing Retreats
    31. Networking Group
    32. Babysitting or Daycare Costs
    33. Business Clothing
    34. Agent Fees
    35. Copyright Fees
    36. Business License
    37. Business Registration
    38. Writing Contest Fees
    39. 401K Contributions
    40. Subcontracting Fees
    41. Brochures
    42. Press Releases
    43. Business Cards
    44. Flyers
    45. Promotional Products

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    Filing Your Deductions

    The Schedule C 1040 form is the self-employment tax form. You will see that in part 2 of Schedule C is where you need to list out your freelance writing tax deductions. There are categories for your deductions, so it is a good idea to prepare for that throughout the year. In your ledger or on the receipt note what kind of expense it is so you won’t have to go back and categorize them all at tax time.

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    Self-Employment Tax Rate

    Self-Employment taxes is 15.3% of your income. For example, if you made $1,000 last year (writing’s my specialty, not math) you would owe $150 in self-employment taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To calculate your approximate owed taxes multiply your income by 0.15. The sum is about what you owe.

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    Pay Freelance Writing Taxes Quarterly

    It is recommended that you save this percentage of your freelance writing income and pay it on a quarterly basis. When tax time rolls around you won’t owe that much and (depending on how much you make and what you qualify for) you should get a tax return.You need to use Form 1040-ES to file quarterly estimated taxes.

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    Keep Good Records

    Save all of your receipts for business expenses. If you buy something online print out a receipt and put it away. Keep records of your income and expenses in a ledger so when tax time comes around you will be prepared. Use a small file box for your freelance writing taxes to file and save all of your tax records. That way you will have everything in one place. In your ledger keep sums of your gross income, expenses, and net income for the month, quarter and year. Make it a habit to brush up your ledger on a regular basis so when tax time comes around you are not completely overwhelmed.