What kind of expenses can I write off if I am self-employed?

April 13, 2015, 2:57 PM UTC
US Tax Day
Photograph by Getty Images/Moment Open

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In addition to the same deductions taken by folks who are employed by others, you can also deduct most expenses related to doing your job. This includes office space, supplies, equipment, business use of your car and telephone, internet and so on.

Plus, if you work from home, you can deduct a percentage of your housing costs (including mortgage, taxes, utilities), based on the percentage of your home used as your workspace. This write off can be very valuable. The catch is that the space must be used exclusively and regularly for work. So the couch where you also sit to watch TV probably doesn’t count, but your home office will. Think about whether it would pass muster as being primarily a site of business activity if an auditor came to your home.

Travel and entertainment related directly to work are another big source of deductions, but that doesn’t mean you can write off family vacations and dinners with your friends. If your travel is for work and pleasure, for example, you’ll need to allocate expenses accordingly. Even meals with clients and other business contacts, moreover, only count for a 50% break.

Also, if you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored plan, such as from your spouse, you can deduct 100% of your health insurance premiums, including dental and long-term care, for you, your spouse and your dependents.

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