New Writer Mom

Today TaxMama hears from Writer Mom at SavvyMommy.com, who says “Last year I published two articles for a magazine and have been trying to build a career as a freelance writer. My earnings totaled $970 from freelance writing last year. Should I file? Do I write off the home office already set up because my husband set it up years ago—because I’ve been using it to do writing and research? ”

Dear Writer Mom,

Oh yes, you should report the income – and the related expenses. Use Schedule C and several other forms to take advantage of auto expenses and office in home.

Your office in home is an interesting situation. You say your husband has already set it up. Is he still using the office? Or did you take it over and claim it as your own? Well, if he’s still using it, you can’t both deduct the same space. However, you may each deduct half of it. Chapter 7 of Small Business Taxes Made Easy http://www.irs.gov/publications/p334/index.html will give you specific guidelines on how to find more areas of the home that you’re each using, so you can get the largest possible home-office deduction. It even includes worksheets you can photocopy, fill out and attach to your tax return each year – or keep in each year’s tax file, in case you’re ever audited.

As I like to tell new business moms, if this is your first year in business, invest a few dollars to meet with a good, local tax professional. Find one who understands the unique tax circumstances relating to writers. You can find such a person by talking to local writers. No doubt, there are writers groups or journalist associations in your area or online.

And, oh yes, put your tax return on extension so you don’t have to rush to file. Take your time to understand how it all works, and get your tax returns done properly.

And remember, you’ll find answers to lots of questions about writers’ tax issues and other tax information, free. Where? At TaxMama.com

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