I’ve been making significant 1099 income (i.e. income from work as an independent contractor) for the last six years, which means that I was, for all intents and purposes, running my own small business, and all through that time I could theoretically have been itemizing my business expenses and deducting them. But I didn’t, because it seemed way too complicated.
Today though I finally did! Mostly baby steps. I downloaded all my credit card transactions for 2014 and went through and looked at which ones I could credibly characterize as business expenses. So not many things. Mostly my travel to Seattle for AWP and a few purchases. I wrote off some books, some internet data charges, and also all the submission fees for all those contests and magazines. Felt really good, though! Really liberating! I didn’t save an immense amount money by itemizing, but I think I ended up maybe a thousand bucks richer. And it was not as difficult as I thought it would be.
Itemizing increases your audit risk, which is what I was afraid of for years, but I know tons of writers who do tons of weird things and don’t get audited. I think the fact that we don’t earn much money saves us. Additionally, I think all my ducks are in order here. I’ve only taken legal deductions, and I can fully document all the ones I’ve taken. Anyway, only time will tell. But I’m glad that I took this step. It’s just one more of those little milestones in the writing career.