Second jobs for the self-employed offer extra cash for to pay bills, buy a larger house or new car, or take a vacation. The additional work also provides income stability when starting a new business. Savvy workers and business operators keep records of the federal tax write-offs for both home businesses and second jobs.
Home Business Deductions
Home business expenses defined by the Internal Revenue Service as "both ordinary and necessary" can be deducted or depreciated. Depreciation writes off a portion of the original cost of the item each year. Business owners can depreciate expenses for laptop and desktop computers, business software, scanners, printers and storage devices. The price of work tools worn out after a year of use can be deducted in full from your business income. Office equipment, including desks, bookcases and desk chairs, also qualify for the federal tax depreciation when used for your home business or secondary job. If you use your computer, equipment or furniture for personal and business use and also for your second job, keep track of the percentage of the time for each use. You can deduct or depreciate the work percentages of the cost of the item from your federal taxes using IRS Form 2106.
If you started your second job in the calendar year, you have the right to take a federal tax write-off for the miles spent driving in the search of the job. There are several catches, however, to this deduction. Your new job must be more than 50 miles away from your home business. There is a cap on the search expenses, and only write-offs exceeding 2 percent of your adjusted gross income qualify. Use Schedule A of Form 1040 to take advantage of this deduction.
Travel required for your home business and any trips not reimbursed by your second employer can be deducted from your income using the itemized business deduction form.
You can claim anything required by your job but not payment for items reimbursed by your employer. Mandatory work uniforms, safety shoes and eye protection, and special clothing such as formal attire for musicians all qualify for work federal tax write-offs. Other potential secondary job expenses include a computer, when your employer requires and fails to provide one, and printers. Office supplies also meet federal tax claim requirements when used for your second job. The IRS requires purchase orders or sales receipts to document your claims.
Travel Between Jobs
The Internal Revenue Service allows you to write off mileage for travel between work for your business and your second job when traveling on the same day. You must travel directly from one job to the other to take this mileage deduction.
- IRS: Deducting Business Expenses
- IRS: Miscellaneous Deductions
- IRS: Publication 587 -- Introductory Material
- Kiplinger: Tax Write-Offs for Job-Hunting Expenses
- IRS: Publication 463 (2011) -- Transportation
- IRS: Car Expenses and Other Employee Business Expenses
- Bankrate.com: Employees Often Give a Little Extra in Their Jobs
- IRS: Topic 514 -- Employee Business Expenses
Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.