>At this point, you should have already added up your income and expenses for 2010 and be ready to track them for 2011. If you haven’t done it in the past, start now so you’ll be ready for next year’s income tax. As you probably know, your writing expenses are tax deductible.
Sometimes you don’t have to wait for Uncle Sam to pay you back. Sometimes the publications you write for will cover expenses such as mileage, long-distance telephone calls or admission fees.
As soon as you get an assignment, ask the editor whether you will be reimbursed for expenses. If you’re doing a one-interview feature on a local subject, you won’t have many expenses, but if you need to make long-distance phone calls, buy things, or travel, you don’t want to eat up your income paying for it. So ask before you start the assignment. It may all be in the contract you receive, but you don’t always get a written contract, or it may not mention expenses. Don’t do the job and then come back with a bill for expenses the editor never agreed to pay. Chances are you won’t get reimbursed then.
If they do pay expenses, keep meticulous records noting each expense and how it relates to your article and turn it in with your finished piece.
Even if they don’t pay for expenses, keep your receipts and record your expenses on paper, in your computer, on your calendar, or in a notebook you keep in your car. Write down your work-related phone calls and note your mileage. Need to pay an admission fee, pay for parking, or buy a book? Write it down. It only takes a minute, but if you don’t keep records, you will not be able to put the numbers together accurately later.
Have you purchased your copy of Freelancing for Newspapers yet?