Last year we gave you some helpful tips for your 2012 taxes and, believe it or not, it’s almost that time of year again.

Self-employed or incorporated Freelancers, how did you do? Did you…

  • Track your mileage – If you drive to meet with or deliver work to your clients, you can take a deduction for the miles you drove this past year – as long as it wasn’t part of your regular commute. Mileage to industry-related / networking events as well as trips to get supplies for your business count, too.
  • Create a dedicated office space – Even if you don’t rent a formal space for your business, you can still take a percentage of your rent and utilities as a business expense if your home office is used only for work. 
  • Keep your Receipts – Whether for business meetings over lunch, new software, industry news subscriptions, or a new computer – you should have a nice fat envelope of proof of your expenses for your business. 
  • Put some money aside – If you are going to end up owing the government this year, we hope you were saving up for it all year long. Did you know that if you owe more than $1000, you probably should have been making quarterly payments?
  • Make a list – Are you sure you have all of your 1099’s for 2012? Your clients have a deadline of January 31st to send them to you, but sometimes they run late. If you kept track of all of your clients over the year, you can check them off as they come in and pester the latebirds if necessary. That should help you avoid the hassle of filing an amended return because someone was late and you had forgotten about them. Remember that if a company paid you less than $600 for your services, they will not send you a 1099.

Freelancers have been benefiting from the Payroll Tax Holiday just like employees for the past two tax years, but it was not renewed in the recent Fiscal Cliff talks. This means that your self-employment tax bill will actually be 2% higher than it has been the last two years. Sorry! At least we are all feeling it together!

We would love to hear your favorite freelancer tax tips in the comments! Happy refund!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative*

*I’m not a certified CPA and Artisan cannot advise on the best tax advice for your situation. So please, see a tax specialist if you have any questions about how to file! Here are some helpful links:

The Internal Revenue Service Website
FreelanceTaxation.com
Tax Tips for Freelancers at about.com
The Freelancers Union