Top Tax Advice For The Freelancer

Catherine L. Tullyby Catherine L. Tully

I’m about to share with you my top piece of tax advice. It’s very simple–and I believe it will help you in more ways than you can imagine…

Hire an accountant to do your taxes.

I’m serious. An accountant (CPA preferred) will help you navigate the write-offs, assist you in understanding the latest laws, keep you informed about any changes and make the entire, miserable process of paying taxes a bit less stressful.

I love my CPA, and will never do my own taxes again. He has saved me money over the years, given super advice, and made sure I know what the latest information is for those who are self-employed. Sure, it costs me several hundred dollars–but it’s worth it knowing that I am working with a person who knows a heck of a lot more than I do about Mr. Taxman.

It’s a confusing web of information to sift through when you are self-employed. I strongly urge you to let a professional handle it. I’d love to know how many of you out there are currently getting your taxes taken care of by an accountant or CPA…ring in if you have a second…

2 thoughts on “Top Tax Advice For The Freelancer”

  1. I’ve always done them myself, until we moved to Canada in 2009 and my wife’s company (we expatriated for her job) required us to use Deloitte and Touche — doing international stuff is way too complicated.

    We’re back now, but we had to use them again for 2010 because there were still implications for the Canadian tax year, which is different from the U.S.

    I have been very disappointed with them, honestly — their proprietary interface is way lousier than TurboTax, and it required just as much work and maybe more because they made me jump through a lot of hoops. And because they’re a corporate accounting firm, they really weren’t interested in trying to save us money. (In fact, I got the feeling that their Canadian division was on the side of the Canadian government rather than trying to keep our tax burden low!)

    Next year, I have a choice to make, either going back to TurboTax or going with a local CPA who would at least be “on our side” rather than the government’s.

  2. @Jake – I’m so glad you rang in on this–I forgot to mention that important point…

    I also recommend “interviewing” your CPA/accountant to make sure that they have a lot of experience dealing with self-employed people. As you mentioned, those who primarily deal with companies or corporations are often not the best match for a freelancer. Find someone who is interested in helping you learn, as well as making a buck. 🙂

    Mine has helped me understand why he files what he does, so I’m learning in the process. It’s very helpful.

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