Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happy Hour! *tax edition

Hello friends and fellow freelancers!

I know it's been awhile since I did a Happy Hour post. But it's back & hopefully with some helpful hints on taxes (especially for freelancers!)

1. Did you move? Moving expenses can be written off. Remember this thing? Yeah, like that.

2. Did you change jobs? Have to fly somewhere for an interview? Take a cab? That can be written off.

3. Do not try to write off things like FedEx packages that your cleint reimbursed you for. (We call that cheating.)

4. Printer ink, toner, paper... tracing paper, wireless mouse... write it off!

5. If you're freelancing (hopefully you already know this) put approximatly 30% of your income aside to pay in taxes. It's also good to pay taxes quarterly so you stay on top of your finances and it's not such a blow when you do pay them.

6. Meet a client for coffee or dinner? Write it off! (If it is indeed a business meeting.)

7. Keep business expenses seperate from personal ones by opening seperate accounts. It just keeps things organized.

8. At a photoshoot and can't leave for lunch, order food and write it off.

9. Wireless internet for the home office? My research has shown that this is debatable, but you can certainly write part of it, if not all of it.

10. Books & magazines for knowledge, research, inspiration? Yep, write those off too!

11. Marketing materials. Did you pay someone to build your website? business cards? Write those off!

12. I hate receipts and I've NEVER kept up with them. Until about 7 months ago. Now I have a notebook just for business expenses that I tape them into as soon as I get home. If the receipt isn't specific enough I just write a quick note, "padded envelopes for sending CDs." It takes a few seconds and will save hours of frustrations later. (That's the goal at least!)

I'll stop there and leave you with a few links that have helped me so far:

the IRS

June Walker

Freelancers Union

the Anti 9 to 5 Guide, and here

Beyond the Rhetoric

Freelance Switch

*NOTE: I am NOT a tax expert - nor am I pretending to be. I am simply sharing some of what I am learning & hope it can help some of you. AND if I have posted misinformation please let me know and I will amend it straight away!

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