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Tax Breaks

Deductions for Freelancer

Q: I have a client who takes pictures on the side and received a 1099-Misc. He lives with his mother. Can he still claim a home office deduction? And what can be deducted for his buisness? -- Patricia H.

Kevin's Answer

To qualify for home office deduction, he must use part of his residence regularly and exclusively for his business.

That would allow him to deduct certain expenses that are otherwise considered personal expenses. The fact that he lives with his mother complicates the issue because you need to ask what his expenses are. If he pays rent, he could deduct a portion of that, but he can't depreciate part of a home he doesn't own. Does he pay the utility bills? The homeowner's insurance? You only get deductions to offset reasonable business expenses.

As for his other deductions, he can deduct the cost of film or, if he uses digital, the cost of any printer ink and paper. Also the cost of getting to and from any events he is paid to photograph would be deductible.

Check out IRS Publication 334 for ideas.

Also see: Tax-Filing Help for Freelancers