Freelance Writer? Think Tax Deductions!

November 28, 2017
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If you’re an indie or freelance writer, you probably don’t spring for many three-martini lunches, so that tab as a business expense likely never crosses your mind. Such lunches aside, however, you may have other writing expenses that are tax-deductible.

Writing for pay

Before you think about tax deductions, however, you need to make sure you have two crucial elements:
Good business records. As in good enough to survive a tax audit.
Receipts. For everything remotely business related. If you’re not sure, keep it. And know where to find it.

Here’s a beginning list of records you should keep. Talk with your tax professional for a complete list.

  • Receipts for everything you spend for your business. Think big (computer and printer) to small (paper clips and push pins) to everything in between.
  • Sales receipts for items you sell at author events, conferences, and meetings
  • Credit card records. Match them to your receipts.
  • Bank records
  • Sales tax records
  • 1099s—both the ones you receive and the ones you issue
  • Contest entry fees
  • Consulting services: editors, proofreaders, graphic designers, self-publishing companies, researchers, and so on
  • Printouts from such services as Square and PayPal

You may also be able to deduct other business-related expenses.

  • The cost of your office space, whether in your home or in another space. If you work from home and rent your home, you may be able to deduct a portion of your rent.
  • Subscriptions to publications that are resources for your writing business or to which you may sell your writing
  • Professional fees you pay to your attorney, accountant, or other financial professional
  • Business travel
  • The cost of creating and maintaining your website
  • Healthcare premiums
  • Literary agent fees
  • Cost of phone service dedicated to your business
  • Business mileage

Whether writing is your full-time job or you freelance in addition to another job, be sure you take full advantage of tax deductions available to you as a paid writer. You’ve earned it.

The information presented in this blog is exclusively for the purpose of providing general insight into possible tax deductions for writers. It is not intended as tax advice. Always consult a tax professional before taking any tax deductions related to your writing. Written by Linda Bengston, a freelance writer and editor.


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