Tag Archives: tax advice

Not Freelance Tax Advice: Federal Income Tax Deadline Extensions

Joe Wallace Turntabling Rare RecordsMany freelancers–including me–truly dread tax time. And many of us find ourselves needing to file an extension so we can eventually get our act together and get the paperwork submitted.

Since I am the head of the Chicago Chapter of the Freelance Tax Procrastinator’s Union Local 312, I thought it would be a very good idea to post something about how to file an extension on your Big Scary Federal Income Tax paperwork for 2012.

AND since I am NOT a tax professional, it seems best to simply quote the IRS chapter-and-verse on the subject rather than try to give you some kind of pithy words of wisdom.

Thus sayeth the Internal Revenue Service:

If you are not able to file your federal individual income tax return by the due date, you may be able to get an automatic 6-month extension of time to file. To do so, you must file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return by the due date for filing your calendar year return (usually April 15) or fiscal year return. This form is also available en español.”

See the IRS official site for more information, but it’s critical to note the caveat that you must apply BEFORE the due date (traditionally April 15 unless it falls on a weekend, in which case there may be a shift to the previous or following business day). Don’t delay if you need an extension–follow the links and fill out the paperwork as soon as you can.

Joe Wallace is a freelance writer, social medial manager, editor, roving DJ and vinyl collector. His vinyl blog is Turntabling.net and features a large gallery of truly awful record album covers. He has not yet filed his income tax extension paperwork, which means the clock is ticking….

10 Questions to Ask Your Freelance Tax Preparer

freelance-taxesI will NOT give tax advice here, since I’m not a tax professional. No, wait–that’s a lie. I will give ONE bit of tax advice. Don’t do your  freelance taxes yourself!

End of advice.

When I use my tax preparer or CPA, I refuse to simply hand over the paperwork and hope for the best. Some people do this, but I think they cheat themselves.

I ask a lot of questions so I can learn where I went wrong last year, what I did right, and how I can set myself up for next year with a lower tax bill and more of my money in my own bank account rather than AIG’s.

Here’s a list of questions you should ask your tax preparer–and if they don’t feel like answering your pesky questions, you’ve got the wrong tax pro. Move on and find someone willing to help you understand what you need to know. After all, we’re paying THEM, not the other way around.

Here’s a list of top ten things you should grill your tax preparer about:

10. How much can I deduct for my home office and how do I legally justify the deduction?

9. Can I deduct professional purchases like memberships in writer’s guilds, subscriptions to writing magazines, or buying research materials?

8. Under what circumstances could I deduct the cost of DVDs, CDs, and computer software? What do I need to do to be compliant with IRS regulations here?

7.  Should I depreciate my computer purchase over three years or take the whole amount for a single year? What are the advantages to doing it one way or the other?

6. What do I need to do to prove a deduction was business-related?

5. Can I deduct a new car purchase? What if it’s a company vehicle for business use only?

4. What is the difference between a business deduction and a personal deduction for self-employed people? Which should I be trying to take and when is it to my advantage?

3. Can I deduct the full amount of business equipment purchases every year? Or MUST I depreciate at some point?

2. I want to take all the deductions I am entitled to by law, but I don’t want to risk getting into hot water over gray-area deductions. How do I tread this fine line and remain on the good side of the IRS?

1. When the tax preparer has finished preparing your taxes, be sure to ask what you didn’t do well enough this year and how you can handle your finances for the following tax year to legitimately reduce the amount of tax you owe through proper deductions and tax breaks.

Tax Help For Writers

Tax Information for Writers

Don’t panic. I know tax time is right around the corner, but you don’t have to stress yourself out. I’m not going to give you any tax advice, but I will point you in the right direction. The IRS has a “Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center” that can help you figure out the maze of details that come with filing your taxes as a writer. It can be a great help in figuring things out.

Personally, I don’t mess around. I go to a CPA and have his expert eyes look everything over so that I don’t miss anything. I highly recommend this if you are making some money from your freelance writing. You’ll want to be sure you are paying everything you should, as well as taking the deductions that you are entitled to.