When tax time comes around, you don’t want to miss a single penny that you could be saving through deductions for freelancers and the self-employed. Of course, you also don’t want to end up getting audited because you didn’t pay close enough attention to the details of the tax law. If you educate yourself early on so you fully understand what deductions you are (and aren’t) eligible for, you’ll be much better off when it comes time to pay Uncle Sam. Here are some ideas to help you get started on understanding tax deductions for freelancers (and don’t hesitate to hire an accountant if you need one).Affordable Online Invoicing and Expense Tracking for FreelancersConsider the DetailsIf you’re going to bother taking business deductions at all, you might as well record each and every single thing that counts throughout the year. Domain and web hosting, a percentage of your telephone and internet expenses, apps or online tools, like invoicing services, advertising, office supplies, business meals, insurance, auto expenses, medical expenses, education related to your business, business interest, bank fees, legal and professional fees, and retirement contributions can all be counted toward your deductions. Make sure that you’ve got an easy way to record your business expenses so that you can quickly tally them up and report them when tax time comes around. There are many software programs and even mobile apps available so you can keep track on the go.Don’t Rely on Big Deductions If You Don’t QualifyMany freelancers hope to be able to deduct their home office. That’s your home, right? The whole thing? After all, you’re just as likely to be working at your kitchen table eating cereal as you are in your bed with Netflix in the background, so you might be hoping to deduct the cost of your electricity, natural gas, the Internet, and everything else you spend on your home (does rent count?). Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. In order to deduct the cost of maintaining a home office, you must have a separate room that you use only for business–nothing else. You have to use that room for business on a regular basis, and you need to spend the most time in your office, not working in another location. So if you’re a photographer who spends more time at client’s‡ weddings than you do editing photos in your office, this is one deduction you’re not going to be able to take. This is just one example of a big surprise you don’t want to have when tax time comes around, so don’t count on tons of money unless you’ve looked at the tax law very, very carefully.Plan for the FutureIn studying up on the deductions that you’ll be able to take this time, you may discover that you could have gone to that conference or taken that personal development class that you thought you wouldn’t be able to afford. You can write off travel to attend a trade show or meet with a client in person, educational seminars you’ve attended that relate to your business, purchase or pay a monthly fee for invoicing software to keep your clients paying on time, and many, many other useful and enjoyable products and services. If you didn’t keep careful records this year, do it next year so that you don’t overpay and you can plan more advantageous business purchases for the future.Get an Accountant to Help You Work out the DetailsEven after reading and studying up on your own, talking to business associates, and scouring the internet for relevant information, you may realize that you still don’t feel completely certain what you’re eligible to deduct. A certified public accountant or bookkeeper will be far more capable of helping you understand every deduction that you’re eligible to take and even prepare you to be able to take more in the future. Whether they help you to understand how you can keep better records, how you can take more deductions in the future by making changes to your business, or simply straighten things out this time so you aren’t at risk of an audit, they’ll be well worth the money you spend to pay them (which, by the way, is also a deductible expense).Want more effective tips on invoicing? Be sure to check out our blog for Freelancer - Sighted Blog.