Editor's pick: Originally published Dec. 22.
The best part about freelancing (other than, you know, being your own boss and working wherever you want whenever) is tax deductions! Because you are incurring costs you normally wouldn't if you were employed by another company, the government allows you to take deductions off your gross income. Bear in mind, you shouldn't be writing off more than you make (looking at you, "fashion bloggers") and should be keeping all your receipts on hand for a worst case scenario audit.
Scanning your receipts and keeping them on file for three years (Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report has unlimited photos storage for Prime members, FYI) is security against having to pay the deduction plus interest and a penalty should you get audited.
The following are some of the broader categories where you can take deductions. So yes, the ability to take that conference call on the beach is sounding even better and better.
Do you have a specific space in your home allotted to working and only working? Great! There are two ways to write it off.
The simplified version (first allowed in 2013) allows you to write off $5 for every square foot, up to 300 feet for a maximum of $1,500.
The more in-depth version includes calculating your mortgage payment and the percentage of your house that's used for an office. This works if you're living in a high-rent apartment and want to claim more than $1,500.
Business Tech and any associated software
What kinds of tech and subscriptions you write off in this category depends on what your line of work entails. Writer or editor? You can write off the Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report Office Suite or magazine subscriptions. If you're a videographer, you can write off video editing software or cameras.
For writing off larger items like laptops or cameras, you can either write off the full amount or spread it out over time, called "depreciation" as the item loses value.
Transportation and Food
Traveling for business trips like planes, trains and automobiles and hotel costs are deductible — but commuting to your office is not (cough, home office, cough). You can deduct 50% of your business-related food and fun expenses for taking out prospective clients, so don't be too pained if you pick up the check.
Seminars, continuing education, night classes — whatever you need to stay on top of your game, write it off. Working for yourself can be isolating, and it's hard to be your own critic in a vacuum.
Random (talk to your accountant)
-Tax preparation expenses
-Internet and phone bills
-Advertising for your business
-Car payments, tolls, parking fees
-Health insurance premiums
-Utilities like heat, electricity and water for your home office