Common Expenses for Freelance Writers

It’s been more than a month since we had a post up in this section, but most of you already know that a lot of changes are underway in Freelance Writing Jobs.  Starting this month, I will be helping out in giving you useful information and insights on handling taxes as a freelancer.

Let me start out with a very important aspect: listing down business-related expenses.  Organizing your taxes and filing them may prove to be an arduous task if you leave everything for the last minute.  If you do the groundwork way before tax-paying time, though, your work just might be a little easier.

So how do you go about identifying your expenses?

Form 1040

Also called Schedule C, old timers would be familiar with this form by now.  If you’re relatively new to the freelance game, then this is the form that will be your best friend (or worst enemy) come tax time.  Here are useful links.

Form 1040

Instructions for Form 1040

Form 1040 actually includes a comprehensive list of expenses.  It is a good idea to base your own list on this form.  This way, when you file your taxes, your list will be synchronized with the official form.

Expenses

Here are the most common categories that freelance writers use:

  • Advertising – example are business cards if you use them, as well as online advertising.
  • Legal and professional services – for example, if you employ an accountant, you can file the fees here.
  • Repairs and maintenance – more likely than not, your computer is exposed to a lot of wear and tear – I know mine is on practically 24/7!  Repair fees and other maintenance costs can be filed in this category.
  • Supplies – you can include regular office supplies such as pens, paper, printer ink, etc.
  • Utilities – your electric bill and gas bill (NOTE: this does not include telephone bills, Internet, etc.)
  • Travel – if you go to conventions and seminars, you can include these expenses.
  • Meals and entertainment – you may be a freelancer but this does not mean that you don’t take your clients out to lunch or drinks.  You can actually count these as business expenses!
  • Other expenses – the category where you can dump all other business-related expenses such as telephone, Internet, magazine subscriptions and books (related to your trade, of course), and other tools that you may need to practice your profession.  The bottom line is that whatever you put here should be directly and obviously related to your freelance writing.  Otherwise, you might be questioned by the IRS.

Do you have other items in your list of business expenses?  Why not share them with the rest of us?

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