40 Tax Write-Offs for Freelance Consultants

Whether you're an executive recruiter, teach creators how to launch a course, or work as a fractional CMO, see what you can write off as a freelance consultant.

Whether you're an executive recruiter, teach creators how to launch a course, or work as a fractional CMO, see what you can write off as a freelance consultant.

There are a lot of perks to working as a freelance consultant. Flexible work hours, control over the clients you take on, the option to work from where you want, and the list goes on.

Plus, it’s an affordable business to start. If you have unique skills that you can offer to other business owners—like business strategy, sales coaching, or marketing expertise—and a network of people who could send clients your way, you’re already well on your way to building a thriving career as a freelance consultant.

Still, freelancing is a lot different than your typical 9-to-5. For instance, filing your self-employed taxes can certainly make things a bit more complicated. However, the IRS lets you deduct all ordinary and necessary business expenses from your income. This helps you to trim your tax bill—if you know which business expenses to track.

Whether you’re new to consulting or are simply looking for ways to keep more of your money, we’ve compiled a detailed list of Schedule C (Form 1040) deductions for freelance consultants.

General expenses

It doesn’t matter what you do as a consultant, below are general expenses that all self-employed consultants should track to help lower their tax bills.

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Bank fees

It doesn't matter if it's the monthly service fee, ATM withdrawal fee, or credit card renewal fee. If you're paying a fee to the bank to operate your business, you can write it off.

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Business insurance

You can write off all commercial insurance premiums that protect your business from claims (e.g. business liability insurance) plus any insurance for building and equipment used for your business.

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Commissions and affiliate fees

You can deduct all commissions paid to non-employees for sales and marketing purposes. This includes payments to affiliate partners and platforms like Gumroad.

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Employees and subcontractors

Whether you hired a team member full-time or work with a subcontractor on an as-needed basis, their salary and fees are tax deductible.

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Gear and equipment

Upgraded to the Shure SM7B or got the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro for your business? All of these count towards your deductions.

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Legal and professional services

You can deduct all costs associated with hiring professionals for your business. This includes accountants, lawyers, financial advisors, marketing agencies, production logistics, etc.

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License and permits

All business licenses, certifications and regulatory fees related directly to your business are deductible. This can include business registration fees and any business permits required by your municipality.

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Loan interest

If you took a loan to start (or grow) your business, you can deduct the interest paid for the loan. This also includes interest paid on credit cards and line of credits to cover business expenses.

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Marketing and promotion

Website hosting, domain names, promotional swag, digital ads, and listing fees are some of the business marketing expenses that you can write off.

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Materials and supplies

You can claim the cost of any material used in the course of operating your business. This can include film rolls, design templates, and lens cleaning spray.

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Mobile phone bill

Discovery calls, responding to comments, and posting on social are examples of how you might be using your phone for work. If that's the case, deduct a portion of your phone bill.

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Office rent and lease

Prefer working from a studio or a coworking space? You can deduct all your office-related costs if you're not claiming your home-related expenses.

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Office supplies

You can deduct all items used in the general operation of your business. This includes sharpies, post-it notes, smoke sticks, printer ink, and staples.

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Payment processing fees

Invoiced a sponsor for ad placement? If they paid you with a credit card, you likely paid 2.9% + 30 cents processing fee. You can claim any such fees paid.

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Professional development

Enrolling in courses, joining mastermind groups, and listening to audiobooks are some examples of how you can grow as a creator—all of which you can write off.

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Shipping and postage

Whether you're shipping merch or mailing a thank you gift, you can deduct all shipping and postage expenses.

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Software and apps

Canva, Notion, Calendly, Simplecast, and Adobe Creative Cloud. These are just some of the tools and services you can write off as a business expense.

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Trade events and seminars

Attending an in-person conference or tuning into an online webinar for work? If so, you can expense the event tickets.

Home expenses

Contrary to popular belief, not all consultants spend their time on the road going from one client to another. Plenty of consultants offer their services virtually via online groups, 1-to-1 video chat sessions, and good ol’ phone calls.

Of course, even if you’re a frequent traveler, you can still deduct a portion of your home expenses if it’s primarily your office with a dedicated work area. Of course, office space doesn’t need to be a room; a workstation only used for your business is sufficient.

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Furniture and appliances

Whether it's a new office chair, stand-up desk, or a whiteboard, if you're getting stuff for your home office, be sure to claim it.

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Insurance

If you pay for renters or homeowner insurance, you can write off a portion of these costs as part of your home office.

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Internet

Like heat and water, the internet is a utility that helps you run your business. With this in mind, you can write off a portion of your internet bill as a business expense.

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Mortgage interest

If you own your home, you can deduct a portion of your mortgage interest, but not the principal, as a business expense.

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Property taxes

If you own your home, you pay property taxes. Thankfully, you can deduct a portion of the bill.

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Rent

Whether you rent an apartment or a house, you can claim a portion of the cost if you have a dedicated work area.

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Repairs and maintenance

You're likely using your home more if you work from home. This can cause things to break or updates to be made—all of which you can deduct a portion of.

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Utilities

You can’t work from home without basic utilities like heat, water, and electricity. Be sure to write off a portion of these expenses.

Quit guessing what you can write off.

Benji makes it ridiculously easy to find tax write-offs so you can feel confident knowing you never overpay your taxes.

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Vehicle expenses

If you’re using your vehicle to get from place to place for your business, you can write off a portion of your vehicle expenses. This includes meeting potential clients, grabbing office supplies, and attending local networking events.

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Depreciation

Own a car? You can write off the annual depreciation of its value for business-related trips.

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Gas and fuel

While you can’t deduct any gas you used for personal transportation, you can claim the amount you used for business-related trips.

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Insurance

Unless you live in Virginia or New Hampshire, you'll need insurance before you drive your vehicle—which you can write off.

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License and registration

You can deduct a portion of your safety inspection, registration fees, and roadside assistance.

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Loan interest

Did you get a loan to buy a vehicle? You can deduct a portion of the interest on that loan as a business expense.

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Parking fees

Parking can be expensive in some place. Thankfully, you can write off those fees if they were for a business trip.

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Repairs and maintenance

Whether it's an oil change, an unexpected repair or a much-needed wash, you can deduct a portion of the maintenance cost if you use your vehicle for work.

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Tolls

If you have to take toll roads, bridges or tunnels for your business, remember to claim them as tax deductions.

Business meeting expenses

Meeting clients is a critical part of building your sales pipeline as a consultant. Whether these meetings are at a coworking space or your favorite coffee shop, be sure to track your work meals and meeting space rentals as they can be a write-off.

Business meals in 2021 and 2022

For 2021 and 2022 only, businesses can deduct the full cost of business meals purchased from a restaurant. This change is a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law on December 27, 2020. For clarity, restaurants are defined as businesses that prepare food or beverage for immediate consumption—either on or off their property.

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Business meals

Meeting someone for coffee or lunch to talk about work? You can write off 50% of all business meals, including tips and taxes.

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Meeting space rental

Booking an office space or a conference room to meet with a client can be a write-off.

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Transportation

Whether you're driving, using rideshare or taking public transport, you can write off the expenses if it was for work.

Business travel expenses

While not all consultants “live out of a suitcase,” travel can be a big part of the job description depending on your industry and clientele. Of course, you can rest easy knowing you can deduct your travel expenses.

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Accommodations

Booked a hotel or Airbnb for your business trip? Any business-related accommodation is considered a tax deduction.

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Business travel

Trains, planes, and automobiles: if they helped you get from point A to point B during your business trip, you can write off any expenses such as train tickets, airfare, and car rental.

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Food and drinks

Yes, you can write off the meals you consumed on your business trip. However, the 50% rule still applies to business travel meals.