Self-Employed Taxes: Things You Can Write-Off | Refresh Financial

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Self-Employed? Here’s What You Can Write-Off On Your Taxes

Self-Employed Write offs


Self-employment can be pretty tricky around tax time. Chances are, your income tax has not been deducted year-round from your pay, so you have to figure out what you owe. You also have to organize and sort your business expenses and figure out what it is that you can write-off and what you can’t. The forms we have to fill out for the Canadian Revenue Agency don’t make it any easier with their sometimes vague and unclear language or the tendency to sound like it was written entirely in accounting jargon. With the hopes of helping you figure it out easier, though, we’ve put together a list of things you can write-off, that you may not be aware of. Here are some things you can write-off if you are self-employed:

Office Supplies

Yes, you can write off all those post-its you seem to burn through, or the pens that always stop working at the worst time. Staples, paper, push-pins, and erasers are all fair game. Any supplies you buy to facilitate day-to-day business is a write-off.

Electronics & computers

If you work on your computer, or you need a printer or fax machine or even a copier, these are all items you can deduct from your taxes. Phones, shredders and calculators, you name it. Office use electronics are also write-offs.


Proving your meal is related to conducting work, you can write off a portion of it. Maybe you had lunch with a client, or maybe you brought dinner into the office for staff that were working late. If you’ve bought food as part of your job functions, you can write off up to 50%.

Your office rent

If you rent an office, or you run your business out of your home, you can write off a portion of the rent. Work out what portion of your home is used for your work and write off that portion of your housing expenses including mortgage interest, property taxes or rent. If you rent an office in a commercial space, your rent there is also a write-off.

Your vehicle

If you use your vehicle for work at times, you can determine what portion of the time you do use it for work and write off that portion of the cost of running the vehicle.

Utility bills

Internet is often required for running a business, so you can write off a portion of your home internet bill if you run your office from home. You can also write off portions of your cell phone bill as well, but only if you use it for work.

Travel expenses

Flights, hotels, and car rentals can all be written off as business expenses provided your travel was for business.

Home insurance

If you work from home, a portion of your home insurance can also be considered a business expense and can be written off on your taxes.

The hardest part of all of this is keeping track of what you can deduct. Make sure you save all your receipts and keep them in a safe place. If you can keep them organized by what type of expense each falls under, that will save you even more time when you do your taxes. Another helpful tip is to write on each receipt what it was for and why you spent it, if it’s not already obvious. Receipts for business lunches can use small reminders like this.

If your taxes become too overwhelming for you to do by yourself, though, which is often the case with small business owners, there is no shame in seeking professional help. There are plenty of qualified men and women out there who can get you through your taxes with relatively little pain and little cost. If it saves you time and headaches, it’s absolutely worth it.

What are you going to do with your tax refund? Check out these 5 of the most financially responsible (even if they're not fun!) ways to use your tax refund. 


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