Tax Tips For Freelancers

04/23/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Catherine Price Salon

I could never be happy in a traditional job. I hate fluorescent lights. I detest working in groups. While I can get interested in just about anything, nothing interests me enough for it to be a full-time career. Also -- and, to me, this is no small thing -- the smell of office carpet makes me existentially depressed.

So I became a freelancer -- thus joining the growing armada of the self-employed who sit at the same cafe table every day and thrust their business cards in your face during casual conversation. For the most part, it is a satisfying existence, a life of freedom and flexibility and almost no personal connection to "the office." Then there are days when the clock slips past noon, but I haven't been outside, I haven't spoken to another human being, and I start to wonder if I'm going to wake up one morning when I'm 70 and regret never having owned a pantsuit.

That was the sort of mood I was in on April 14 of last year, when I took out the tax forms I'd picked up at the library and started trying to wade through my finances. I was still wearing the clothes I'd fallen asleep in the night before and now was facing a floor covered with 1099s, a few W-2s, and those pesky "estimated tax payment" envelopes that I never remembered to send in.

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