What Can I Write Off on My Taxes As an Independent Contractor?

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TurboTax reports that independent contractors can deduct half of the self-employment tax, health insurance premiums, office expenses, retirement plan contributions and business travel expenses. Independent contractors can also deduct the mileage accumulated on a personal vehicle when driving for business-related purposes. About.com notes that business equipment, employee benefits and wages, advertising costs, professional dues, professional services and repair costs can also be tax deductions for independent contractors.

According to TurboTax, independent contractors deducting travel expenses can deduct the cost of travel and lodging along with half of the cost of meals and business-related entertainment. If business travel is combined with vacation or personal travel, expenses cannot be deducted for the personal days. The amount of business travel days must also exceed the amount of personal days.

Office expenses that are deductible include utilities, office equipment and repair, office space rent or mortgage costs, insurance for the office space, and office supplies, states TurboTax.

When an independent contractor works from home without an outside office space, the percentage of the home dedicated to office space is used to figure the office expense tax deduction. An independent contractor who uses 20 percent of his home as office space can deduct 20 percent of rent or mortgage and utilities used for work, according to TurboTax.