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Going through all those beautiful moments captured by freelance photographers on Instagram can be very exciting. Some people can even aspire to become photographers because of that, thinking there are no tax hurdles involved.

You might be one of those people who are ignorant of the fact that there is something such as freelance photographer taxes in the photography business. The following are the forms that you have to fill while preparing to file your tax returns to avoid issues.

1. Relevant tax forms for freelance photography taxes

The forms you should know about are the following:

1.1. Form 1040

This is the basic tax form that everyone uses; there is the 1040EZ/1040A that applies to people with basic returns. In this form, you will indicate your gross income, your basic tax credit, and your deductions. You cannot escape filing a tax return without filling this form.

1.2. Schedule C

This is the basic form used to complete a self-employed tax return. In this form, you will put the photography income made as well as deduction involved in your business for the month. Anyone claiming income from the photography business will use this form in filing freelance photographer taxes.

1.3. Schedule SE

This form is used to calculate Medicare and Social Security taxes for the year-end. It is used together with schedule C to file your freelance photographer taxes correctly.

1.4. Form 2106

Form 2106 is used for tracking business expenses, specifically for costs that deal with traveling. This form is filled in two different ways: you either use standard mileage (Section B) or Actual expenses in Section C. Its best to use standard mileage as it yields the most significant deduction.

1.5. Form 8829

This is for business use of home and is always issued by Internet Revenue Service (IRS). In this form, you can write off a portion of your mortgage or rent, depending on the size used in your home.

1.6. Form 4562

This is used for Amortization and Depreciation paperwork. It is used for equipment and tools depreciation that are purchased for that tax year. You need to check your tools and equipment and estimate their depreciation expense.

2. Classification of expenses for your freelance photographer taxes

The most common categories are the below:

2.1. Basic expenses

These are the basic expenses that go into the expense portion of Schedule C and will be deducted from the total income made. These include advertising expenses, contracted labor, insurance paid, supplies, repairs, and so on. As a freelancer, your prorated rent/mortgage and utility expenses will be in this category when filing for your freelance photographer taxes.

2.2. Mileage expenses

These are the expenses you will calculate for the local traveling you do with your vehicle. The standard rate specified by the IRS in 2012 is 56.5% per mile. So, if you travel to get a photo shoot done, you can write it off based on the rate determined by your country or state. This is also entered in the Auto category of the Schedule C form.

2.3. Travel expenses

If you are traveling outside the state or town for a meeting relating to photography, you can write off the general travel expenses. It goes into the Travel expenses category of your Schedule C form

2.4. Meal expenses

This is the most significant reason IRS audits the business returns of many freelancers. Only meal expenses related to your work can be written off. For example, you cannot write off meal expenses related to your family members; only work-related meals can be part of your deductions while filing for your freelance photographer taxes. Still on Schedule C, but only 50% can be deducted.


This is a rundown of the basic forms and expenses that freelance photographers should know and be conscious of while filing for their freelance photographer taxes. You can also hire an accountant or tax professional to help you with the process.

Read on more about our consultant tax calculator and using freelance tax software.


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