Tax Deductions for Consultants

As an independent consultant, you should claim these tax deductions to keep more of your hard-earned money.

Mileage you can deduct

Home office to client site
Unless you have a permanent place of work to which you must commute, all miles driven between your home and a work client are tax deductible.
Between clients and back to home office
Miles driven between client sites, and back from your last client for the day to your home office are tax deductible.
Work-related errands
Miles driven to pick up supplies, marketing assets, attend a conference, or other work-related errands are tax deductible.

Expenses you can deduct

Business Cards
Designing and printing business cards is deductible as a marketing expense. Just be sure to check for typos!
Food & Drink
You can deduct half of the cost of a meal if you are out of town for work purposes. Discussing work with a client or prospective referral during a meal? That counts too!
Client Entertainment
If you need to woo clients by taking them to the theater, sporting events, or other forms of entertainment, you can deduct half of the cost.
Printing & Copying
Printing and copying expenses for marketing flyers and brochures or for your office records are tax deductible.
Advertising
The costs of promoting your business--like online ads, signs, print, radio, and video--are all deductible!
Promotional Goodies
Items that you give away to promote your business, like pens and stress balls, are deductible. Bring on the bobble heads!
Tolls
Any toll fees that you pay while working are tax deductible! Just make sure they're not already being reimbursed.
Parking
If you have to pay for parking while you're working, that’s tax deductible. Unfortunately, parking tickets, traffic violations, and speeding tickets are not.
Professional Development
Networking and staying up to date on your industry are even more important when you're self-employed. Reading materials and fees for conferences, seminars, and professional events are deductible.
Software Subscriptions
If you pay a monthly fee for a software subscription that helps you do your job, that's deductible!
Business Travel
If you're traveling for work, you can deduct a percentage of your hotel and transportation expenses.
Licenses & Memberships
Licenses or memberships that help you do your job are deductible. That includes license renewal fees and membership dues to professional organizations.
Health Insurance
If you’re self-employed and don’t have the option to buy health insurance through an employer or spouse, you can deduct your monthly health insurance payments!
Supplies
If you purchase supplies that are needed to run your business, those expenses are deductible! Just make sure these purchases would be considered typical for your industry.
Legal Fees
A good contract can save you hours of headaches... for a price. Be sure to record your business related legal expenses as deductions!

Other expenses you can deduct

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Non-Deductible Expenses

Clothing
Clothing that can be reasonably worn outside of your work enviornment is considered a personal hygene expense and is explicitly deemed a non-deductible expense.
Haircuts
A haircut is considered a personal hygiene expense and is explicitly deemed a non-deductible expense for independent workers.
Life Insurance
You can't deduct the cost of premiums for life insurance where you are the beneficiary. This includes taking policies out to secure a loan for your business, or to fund a succession plan.
Parking Fines and Tickets
Misconduct isn't part of your job! Fees for legal violations, such as parking tickets or court fees, are not tax deductible.
Commuting
If you have a permanent office from which you conduct your business then the miles driven between your home and that office are considered commuting and are not tax deductible.
Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning is considered a personal hygiene expense and is therefore explicitly deemed a non-deductible. Unless you're cleaning a uniform, the expense is considered personal.

Non-Deductible Expenses if You Take the Standard Mileage Deduction

Gas
Gas is part of maintaining a vehicle for business and is deductible only if you choose not to take the standard mileage rate.
Oil Change
An oil change is standard car maintenence and so is deductible only if you choose not to take the standard mileage rate.
Car Insurance
Car insurance is required for all car owners and thus is deductible only if you choose not to take the standard mileage rate.
Car Repairs
All cars will eventually need a repair. Repairs are deductible only if you choose not to take the standard mileage rate.
Car Lease Payments
If you are leasing a car, you can deduct the lease payments only if you choose not to take the standard mileage rate.
Car Depreciation
Car depreciation is deductible only if you choose not to take the standard mileage rate. Total allowed may be reduced if business use falls under 50%.

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