17 Last-Minute Tax-Saving Tips for Freelance Translators & Interpreters

It’s almost tax day and if you hate numbers or organization is not your strong suit, you’re probably not looking forward to it. Here are some last-minute things you can think about to get the most out of your deductions!

  1. Niche research: books, magazines, and any other materials you use to research for your job…and for us that’s usually quite a bit! Just remember, watching Grey’s Anatomy probably won’t make Netflix deductible.
  2. PayPal fees: If you use PayPal for business, don’t forget to include the fees as write-offs!
  3. Professional advice: If you consult an attorney or use an accountant, you can write off those fees.
  4. Payments to non-profits: If you attend a networking event hosted by a non-profit or have a similar expense, it’s deductible so make sure you hang on to those receipts.
  5. Mileage: Any time you leave your office (home) for a business purpose, that mileage is deductible and it adds up! Did you go to the post office or perhaps the office supply store or hit a client meeting? Add that mileage up!
  6. Cell phone: If you have a dedicated cell phone you can deduct the entire bill. If not, you’ll need to estimate what percentage of your use is personal and what percentage is for business in order to determine how much you can deduct.
  7. Home office: You can deduct a portion of your mortgage or rent as well as the utilities. For this reason AND for productivity, it’s always a good idea to have a dedicated area as your office that you don’t use for any other purpose. If you don’t, you can’t deduct your kitchen table space—sorry!
  8. Internet: Although other utilities like electricity go by the percentage of space in your home, internet is deductible more like your cell phone bill. So, if you use your internet mostly for business, this could be a great deduction.
  9. Dues to organizations like the American Translators Association or Chamber of Commerce
  10. Software, computers and hardware: Buy a new mouse? How about a printer or Quickbooks? Deduct them!
  11. Postage: Yes, it might be small if you’re mailing the occasional document, but it can add up.
  12. Post office box: Having a UPS (or other) box is a great investment. It allows you to put a professional address everywhere without having to post your home address and risk a random potential client showing up at your house after seeing your Yelp listing. Also, remember that every time you drive to check it, that mileage is deductible! One last tip: A box at the US post office is not considered a physical location. This means that it’s not a valid address for something like a bank account. However, a UPS box is considered a physical location so you can use that address to open a business bank account or even put on your driver’s license if you really wanted to! They can also receive packages for you and perform a whole host of other services. Remember, outsource all the things!
  13. Client gifts: If you send holiday cards, gifts or appreciation gifts to current or potential customers, they are deductible so keep track!
  14. Website costs: If you’re paying for a website and hosting, make sure you are deducting those fees.
  15. Business meals: Did you meet with a client over dinner or brainstorm solutions for a problem you’re having with a colleague? That meal is deductible.
  16. Parking: The cost of parking is deductible for any trip that’s for business so make sure you keep the parking receipt. If possible, use your credit or debit card to feed a meter for another way to maintain proof of the expense.
  17. Your bank statements: Go back over your bank statements for the year and make sure you haven’t left anything out. Even if you lost the receipt, your statement is considered proof in many cases so having a separate business account and using it to buy anything business-related is good backup. For more information, check out the IRS’s article What kind of records should I keep?


Disclaimer: You knew that was coming, right? I am not an accountant so please consult a professional accountant and/or attorney. This article is for informational purposes only and not meant to be tax or accounting advice.


Author: Jenae Spry

Jenae has been a French > English translator for over 10 years and a productivity and performance coach for freelancers for over 5 years. Jenae launched the Success by Rx blog to help freelancers achieve success.

Posted in Business.


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