If You Haven’t Done Your Taxes Yet, Watch This Video

How to Adult

I have already completed my half of “doing my taxes” for the year, including re-reading every single bank transaction from 2015 just to make sure I didn’t miss any expenses that could be itemized as deductions. My CPA has all of my spreadsheets and 1099s and has already answered the two pages of additional questions I sent him via Google Docs.

I still wish I had seen this video before I did my taxes, because now I have even more questions.

The video is from How to Adult and was written by Friend of The Billfold Alan Lastufka and T. Michael Martin. Ignore the clickbaity title, because there are tax deductions listed in this video that I still wasn’t aware of even though I’ve been doing taxes for at least fifteen years.

For example: as a self-employed person, I should be able to deduct the 7.65 percent Social Security tax that an employer would have paid had I been non-self-employed. I read a lot of “freelance tax deduction” articles this year, and I don’t remember seeing that anywhere. I’m assuming that my CPA has been doing this for me, but I’ll have to figure out how to confirm it before we finalize and send off my taxes.

Since I have a home office, I should also be able to deduct a portion of my utility bills corresponding to the percentage of apartment space my home office takes up. I already knew that I could calculate a percentage of my smartphone and internet bills, and that information is with my CPA; I wasn’t aware that I might be able to calculate a percentage of my electric bill. (The building pays for water and gas.)

The video also discusses the idea that some tax deductions come out of your Adjusted Gross Income (so you can take these deductions even if you take the Standard Deduction) while others have to be itemized, and I swear that nobody has ever mentioned that to me ever. I want to know as much as I can about the world of taxes! Even though I’ll never be able to do my own taxes again, I feel like I need to know everything so I can provide my CPA the most accurate information and so I feel like I have control over this enormous part of my working life. Self-employed people do not like things they can’t control. This is why we became self-employed.

The video isn’t just for self-employed people, by the way. There are plenty of tax deductions on the list that apply to non-self-employed people, like gambling losses. Did you know that, if you report your gambling income, you can also deduct your gambling losses? There must be someone out there min-maxing that and grinning every time the house wins.

As I hope I’ve made abundantly clear, I am not a tax professional and you should not take this post as Actual Tax Advice. But watch the video, and maybe write up another Google Doc’s worth of questions to send to your CPA. I’m already drafting mine.

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