What Can You Expense as a Freelancer? The Designers Edition

By Lili • Mar 30, 2021

3 mins

Have you ever found yourself surrounded by fellow freelance designers or artists talking about tax deductions? Were you the one politely nodding your head while having no idea what they were saying? Then you should read this and know that Lili’s tax tools are here for you!

If you spend your days in front of your computer or tablet for work, you probably want to go walk outside when you’re done. You shouldn’t have to spend more time sitting at your desk to deal with expenses and receipts and spreadsheets. With Lili you can manage your expenses on the go with simple swipes, on a bench in the park or while waiting for the barista to brew your coffee.

But the question remains: what can you expense? This is always the #1 question we hear from freelancers. So here’s a list of purchases you’re likely able to deduct comes tax time as a graphic designer!

Software and Hardware

  • Computer, tablet, smartpad, pen display, printer, mouse, keyboard…
  • Subscription to software (Microsoft, Adobe…),
  • Subscription to services (Google, Vimeo…),

Everything and anything you use when you computer screen is on.

Office Expense

  • Pens and Pencils,
  • Papers,
  • Envelopes,
  • Sketch pads,
  • Staplers…

If you’re more old school, all your office supplies are still tax deductible.

Online Presence

  • Domain registration,
  • Website hosting,
  • Themes and plugins,
  • Fonts and stock visuals…

You are what you show online – all your marketing expenses are tax deductible.

Work from Home Expenses

If a part of your home is your main place of work and is used exclusively for that purpose (meaning the dining room table doesn’t count), you can deduct the percentage of that space on your rent and/or mortgage

  • Desk, furniture and decor,
  • Portion of your utility bills (water, electricity, internet)
  • Portion of your property / renter’s insurance…

You run an office at home, so some of your home expenses count as work expenses.

Client Meeting

If you meet clients face to face, the costs of the food and drinks in front of you are tax deductible.


No matter the vehicle you used to go meet that client, whatever you spent to get on that vehicle or make that vehicle move is a work expense.

Classes and Training

Did you learn new skills to be more efficient or expand your offerings? These expenses are tax deductible.

Subscription and dues

A magazine subscription or a membership to a video streaming service, whatever you spend to stay up to date with design, entertainment or tech trends are part of your work expenses.

Health Insurance

Gotta be in good health to do business! All your health expenses (premium, out of pockets, dental, vision…) are tax deductible EXCEPT if you’re covered under a spouse or a relative’s plan.

Conferences and Festivals

If you participate in a business conference or take a seat in sessions at a film festival, the cost of your trips (conference pass, meals, hotels) is expensable.

Business Trip

If you go meet a client more than 100 miles away from your home, the trip counts as a business trip, therefore all the expenses engaged are tax deductible: hotel nights, meals, transportation…

For more details and information, please refer to this IRS article regarding business expenses.

Click here for the Beauty Artist edition.

Click here for the Foodie edition.

Click here for the Social Influencer edition

Click here for the Driver’s edition.

Click here for the Musician edition. 


Written by
Team Lili

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