As a freelance writer in Australia, navigating the complex world of taxes can be daunting. However, understanding the tax deductions available to you can significantly reduce your tax burden and increase your overall profitability.

This comprehensive guide will explore the various freelance writer tax deductions, share insights, and answer frequently asked questions.

Accountant Freelance Writer Tax Deductions

Understanding the Basics of Freelance Writer Tax Deductions

Before diving into the specific deductions available, it's essential to grasp what constitutes a valid tax deduction. According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), a tax deduction is an expense you can claim to reduce your taxable income. For freelance writers, any costs directly related to earning your income can be claimed as a deduction.

The "Ordinary and Necessary" Rule

The "Ordinary and Necessary" Rule is a crucial concept for freelance writers to understand when claiming tax deductions. According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), an expense must be both "ordinary" and "necessary" to qualify as a valid write-off. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted within the freelance writing industry.

For example, most freelance writers incur expenses to conduct their business effectively, such as purchasing a laptop, subscribing to writing software, or investing in a professional website.

On the other hand, a necessary expense is helpful and appropriate for your specific writing business. While it may not be indispensable, it should contribute to your ability to generate income and grow your freelance career.

For instance, attending a writing conference or enrolling in an online course to improve your skills would be considered necessary expenses.

To illustrate this rule, let's consider the example of purchasing a laptop for writing. This expense would be deemed both ordinary and necessary because laptops are commonly used tools among writers (ordinary) and are essential for producing your work and running your business (necessary)

Top Freelance Writer Tax Deductions:

Now that we've covered the basics let's explore some of the most common tax deductions available to freelance writers in Australia.

Home Office Expenses

If you work from a dedicated home office, you can claim a portion of your home expenses as a tax deduction. It includes costs such as:

  • Rent or mortgage interest
  • Utilities (electricity, gas, water)
  • Cleaning expenses
  • Home Insurance

To calculate your deduction, you must determine the percentage of your home used exclusively for work and apply that percentage to your total home expenses.

For example, if your home office occupies 20% of your home's total area, you can claim 20% of your eligible home expenses as a tax deduction.

Calculating Your Home Office Deduction

There are two methods for calculating your home office deduction:

  • Actual cost method: This involves tracking all your home office expenses and claiming the portion related to your business use.
  • Fixed-rate method: This simplified method allows you to claim a fixed rate of 52 cents per hour worked from home. You'll need to keep a diary of your home office hours for a representative four-week period each financial year.

Office Equipment and Supplies

Any equipment or supplies you purchase for your freelance writing business can be claimed as a tax deduction. It includes items such as:

  • Computers and laptops
  • Printers and scanners
  • Software subscriptions (e.g., Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite)
  • Stationery (e.g., pens, paper, notebooks)
  • Reference books and materials

If an item costs less than $300, you can claim an immediate deduction for the full cost. For items over $300, you'll need to depreciate the cost over the item's effective life.

For example, if you purchase a laptop for $2,000 with an effective life of four years, you can claim a deduction of $500 per year for four years.

Professional Development and Education

Investing in your professional development as a freelance writer can also lead to tax deductions. Expenses that may be claimed include:

  • Courses and workshops related to your writing business
  • Conferences and seminars
  • Subscriptions to industry publications
  • Membership fees for professional organisations (e.g., Australian Society of Authors, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance)

For example, if you attend a writing conference that costs $500 and is directly related to your freelance writing business, you can claim the full amount as a tax deduction.

Vehicle and Travel Expenses

If you use your vehicle for business purposes, such as driving to client meetings or research locations, you can claim a portion of your vehicle expenses as a tax deduction. Claimable expenses include:

  • Fuel and oil
  • Registration and Insurance
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Depreciation

You can choose one of two methods to claim your vehicle deductions:

You can choose one of two methods to claim your vehicle deductions:

  • Logbook method: Keep a logbook for a minimum of 12 continuous weeks to determine your vehicle's business use percentage. Apply this percentage to your total vehicle expenses to calculate your deduction.
  • Cents per kilometre method: Claim a set rate (72 cents for the 2021-2022 financial year) for each business kilometre travelled, up to a maximum of 5,000 kilometres per year.

For example, if you drive 1,000 business kilometres in a year and choose the cents per kilometre method, you can claim a deduction of $720 (1,000 km × 72 cents).

Marketing and Advertising

Promoting your freelance writing business is essential for attracting new clients and growing your income. Any costs associated with marketing and advertising can be claimed as a tax deduction, including:

  • Business cards and stationery
  • Website hosting and domain registration
  • Social media advertising
  • Promotional merchandise
  • Networking events and membership fees

For example, if you spend $500 on business cards and $1,000 on social media advertising to promote your freelance writing services, you can claim a total deduction of $1,500.


Understanding and claiming tax deductions is crucial for freelance writers looking to maximise their profitability. By keeping accurate records and staying informed about the deductions available, you can significantly reduce your tax liability and reinvest those savings back into your business.

Remember, if you're ever unsure about your tax obligations or deductions, it's always best to consult a qualified tax professional who can provide personalised advice based on your unique circumstances. As a freelance writer, your words are your livelihood.

By taking control of your taxes and claiming the deductions you deserve, you can focus on what you do best – crafting compelling content and sharing your voice with the world.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What if I use an item for both personal and business purposes?

If you use an item for both personal and business purposes, you can only claim a deduction for the portion used for business. For example, if you use your mobile phone for both personal and business calls, you'll need to determine the percentage of business use and claim a deduction accordingly.

Do I need to register for GST as a freelance writer?

If your annual turnover from your freelance writing business is $75,000 or more, you must register for Goods and Services Tax (GST). If your turnover is below this threshold, registration is optional.