Tax season comes and goes like clockwork every year. Now that I’m a fully functioning person in society and manage my own finances I have come to terms with doing my own taxes every year.
In college, I got away with my parents handling it for me. Even the first year after college I pulled out the puppy dog eyes and got out of doing it on my own. Now I’m taking my budget seriously and taking the time to understand how to be financially responsible.
While filing taxes for a full-time job with a W2 is fairly simple — it’s the freelance work that bloggers like myself need to educate ourselves on.
Side hustles aren’t free
First , I had no idea about the stipulations that come with freelance work. Yup, side hustles aren’t free. I’ve done a ton of research and typically any revenue above $400 is additional income you need to report on your taxes (even if no one provides you a 1099 or similar form). That income was mostly likely not taxed when you were paid, and therefore it’s left up to you.
As a freelancer you need to pay income taxes and your self-employment taxes. Bummer, right? Well, as soon as I learned this I went ahead and took an accounting workshop run by accountant by day and blogger by night, LeeBetsy Prendergast. One of the things we learned in the workshop was what expenses you can write off as a blogger. The tips saved me (slightly) on my tax return.
Every one’s tax situation is unique, but I was able to save a bit by deducting the following expenses. Make sure you talk to an accountant or tax professional to confirm if any of these expenses might apply to you.
1. Internet-related expenses
This means your website hosting fees, domain name registration fees, internet access fees, blogging software fees, and even stock images, music or videos you use on your blog may be deductible.
2. Computer equipment
Are you a full-time freelance blogger? If so, you can potentially expense anything from your new computer, to software, and peripherals including your digital camera, new keyboard, mouse and printer (don’t forget that printer ink you buy regularly).
3. Communications expenses
If you have a second cell phone, land line, virtual phone number or pay regularly for long distance business phone calls, then this could also be deductible.
4. Office equipment
If you got a new desk and chair that year, or even a new lamp or file cabinets, then you might be able to deduct those items if you purchased them specifically for your home office.
5. Office supplies and stationary
6. Advertising, promotion and design
Did you hire a web designer to design your website or a graphic designer to create your logo? You might be able to deduct those expenses. Maybe you had someone optimize your site or purchased promotional giveaways? That too. You can even consider branded products at tradeshows or events as a marketing expense, or something as simple as sponsored posts on Facebook.
7. Travel, entertainment & education
Did you pay to attend any conferences? For example, the accounting class I took qualifies as an educational expense! This also includes hotel, dining, entertainment and transportation if it directly relates to your work as a freelance blogger.
8. Professional association memberships and periodicals
If you’ve signed up for an online subscription that relates to your business it could potentially be deducted. Same goes for professional association dues and memberships.
9. Office space and related expenses
If you work out of your home, truly, then there’s the possibility you could even deduct a portion of: rent, and associated utilities. If you pay for a coworking space that may be deductible as well.
10. Miscellaneous expenses
This is where you can get diligent. If you use postage regularly or need professional headshots – these are expenses that could potentially go here. Even the fees you pay your accountant can be deducted. Are you a fashion blogger? You may be eligible to expense your clothing if the clothes you buy for your business are unsuitable for everyday wear and required for your profession .
Make sure you are smart when it comes to your business taxes. Stay on top of it. Stay honest. Stay organized through the year. And make sure you talk to an accountant or tax professional if you have any questions about completing your tax return and what is truly a lawful deduction.
Keep up the hard work, because every word counts, literally.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. For tax advice contact a tax advisor.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Sonya Matejko, creator of Single Strides — a blog for hopeless romantics and wanderlusts, is a blogger and freelance writer who is vibrantly falling in love with life in Miami and around the world. Her writing is featured on a variety of high-profile platforms and niche blogs. Her most popular article has been shared over half a million times on Facebook alone. Sonya writes about the dating world as well as traveling the world. Connect with @singlestrides on Twitter.
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