Self Employment Tax Deductions for Graphic Designers

Last Updated August 31, 2020

Working as a graphic designer has a lot of advantages, especially if you’re able to work from home as a freelancer with your own business. Unfortunately, taxes just aren’t one of the advantages of being a graphic designer.

The good news is that there are a lot of potential tax deductions you can claim as a graphic designer. Some of these deductions may seem small, but they can add up quickly. Maximize your return with these graphic designer tax write-offs.

What graphic design tax deductions can I avail?

Below is a list of common expenses that most self employed 1099 workers can deduct from their taxes. As with anything financial or tax-related, there is some nuance to what and how much you can write off, so be sure to consult with an expert.

🚗    Gas and mileage
Transportation and associated costs going to and from work-related places, such as client meetings or research trips. Includes gas, car maintenance, car insurance, parking slips, tolls and vehicle depreciation
💻   Software
Computer programs or subscriptions to do your work, such as Photoshop, Dropbox, and Bonsai.
🔌   Utilities (internet, etc)
Internet bill, power bill, water bill etc.
✏️    Office supplies
Notebooks, pencils,
📱    Cell phone & service
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🧑‍💼    Sub-contracting
Hiring a contractor/freelancer for work
📚 Professional development
Memberships, magazine subscriptions, professional courses, conferences, classes, books etc.
📈 Marketing costs
Business cards, advertising, website hosting fees etc.
💻 Physical supplies / Equipments
Electronic equipment like photography equipment, camera, laptop, mobiles, phone, phone accessories, data storage etc.
📱 Memberships & Subscriptions
Co-working space membership,
🏡    Home office
Office furniture, WiFi bill, property insurance, power bill, water bill, part of your rent.
✈️    Work trips
Transportation, lodging, meals while travelling.
🏥    Health Insurance
Transportation, lodging, meals while travelling.
📱    Commissions & Fees
Legal fees, payment processing fees (PayPal, Stripe etc.)
Software to do your work (include tax filling & accounting) such as Bonsai can be deducted from your tax as well.
Calculate my tax deductions

How to qualify if a graphic design expense is deductible or not?

Before we get into the specific tax write-offs you might apply for, let's talk about what counts as a business expense for a graphic designer. There are two important bars any tax write off must meet - the expense must be both ‘ordinary’ and ‘necessary’ for your business.

  1. Ordinary means that the expense must be something graphic designers commonly require. That means that your computer, keyboard, mouse, and even a drawing tablet might be considered ordinary expenses. 
  2. Necessary is a little trickier to define but is actually less limiting than it seems at first. Necessary doesn’t mean that the expense needs to be critical for your business to continue, instead it refers to anything that’s generally helpful or useful for your business. 

What graphic design deductions can I NOT avail?

How can I avail these graphic design tax deductions?

You have 2 options:

Tax Deductions for Other Self Employed Workers

Not a graphic designer? Find tax deductions for your specific profession below.

📈    Tax Deductions for Marketers
👩‍💻    Tax Deductions for Developers
📷    Tax Deductions for Photographers
🎨    Tax Deductions for Freelance Artists
📰   Tax Deductions for Journalists
✍️    Tax Deductions for Writers
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