Sunday, April 07, 2013

5 Tax Tips for the Freelance Writer

If you are like me, it's tax season and you're sitting on numerous 1099s. Chances are you didn't even receive some of them, so hopefully you kept records of them or an invoice -- because even if they don' t notify you they probably notified the IRS.

I decided to write a few tax tips for the freelance writer because I was a bit overwhelmed with the amount of information when I first started. I am not a tax professional, and you should consult one for better information than I have, but here are some tips that have helped me in the past.

  1. Take a home office deduction. If you're like me, you have a space in your home or apartment where you were and it serves as your office. This square footage is considered your home office and may qualify for a deduction.
  2. Deduct all supplies. If I buy pens, notepads, paper and toner, it will all go on my taxes. I deduct water bottles I buy, plants or anything I've used to furnish my home office and make it a good work station.
  3. Invest in a decent tax software. I use TurboTax, but I will say that you likely do not need the most expensive versions. I buy Home & Business and each time I think I should have just gotten the Deluxe version and been fine. Even so, it makes doing taxes a breeze.
  4. Keep track of receipts. I practically use a shoe box, but if you're very disciplined there's Evernote, a free note-taking app, which lets you take photos of receipts and place them in a notebook. The technology is there for anyone who wants to use it.
  5. Don't worry about an audit. If you're off by a few dollars, don't panic. I was off because I forgot to add  revenue from a publication who didn't send me a 1099, so the IRS sent me a note to pay $45. I did and that was that. No home visit, no panic, no scare tactics.

Enjoy tax season and remember to relax!

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