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Your Guide to Self-Employed Tax Deductible Expenses

Updated: Mar 20

For self-employed individuals, maximizing tax deductions can help you keep more of your hard-earned money and minimize your overall tax liability.

Understanding which expenses you can deduct can significantly impact your bottom line. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of self-employed tax-deductible expenses, the top categories, and some specific examples.

Top Business Expense Categories

As a self-employed individual, you can deduct expenses that are necessary for your business.

The top categories include:

  • Home office expenses

  • Business supplies and materials

  • Meal and entertainment

  • Professional fees

  • Marketing and advertising costs

  • Travel expenses (for business purposes)

  • Vehicle expenses (for business purposes)

  • Education and training expenses

Throughout the year, you can track and categorize your expenses within these categories using a bookkeeping software like ReInvestWealth. You’ll be able to upload your receipts using Smart Receipt Shoebox, which automatically stores, matches, and categorizes your receipts.

Self-Employed Tax Deductible Expense Examples

Even equipped with an understanding of the expense categories, you still might be feeling confused about specific expenses in your business. Let’s go over some of the most common questions that people tend to ask about their expenses.

Can I claim groceries when self-employed?

If you’re running a food-related business in which groceries are a direct supply, they can certainly be considered a business expense.

If you’re working from home, certain grocery costs could be counted as a business expense. For example, groceries purchased for team meals or meetings. Regular, day-to-day groceries are not a tax deductible expense, but a personal expense.

Most of the time, these types of groceries fall under the category of “meals and entertainment,” which are only tax deductible at 50%. 

Can I claim work clothes when self-employed?

Things like uniforms and protective gear can be considered as tax deductible expenses, but not your normal everyday clothes, even if you wear them to work. Clothing claimed as an expense would need to be highly unique to your job, and only wearable for work purposes– so, no, even suits don’t count.

Can I claim utilities when self-employed?

If you are paying utilities at an office, you can claim them as business expenses.

If you work from home, it is possible to claim a portion of your utilities. Utilities such as your phone bill, gas, electricity, water, and more, can be tax deductible as long as they directly contribute to your ability to earn income. This is typically supported if you’re working from home or have a dedicated home office.

Can I claim parking when self-employed?

Yes, any expense related to your vehicle can be claimed, when the vehicle is being used for business purposes. You can only claim parking costs related to business errands, meetings, etc.

Can I claim rent when self-employed?

If you’re renting an office, the cost of rent is tax deductible.

If you’re working from home, it is possible to claim a portion of your rent. It’s advisable to consider the percentage of your home’s square footage being used as a workspace, and claim the same percentage of rent on your tax return.

Keeping Accurate Records

To claim tax deductions for self-employed expenses, it's crucial to keep accurate and detailed records throughout the year. Maintain receipts, invoices, bank statements, and other documentation that support your business expenses. Consider using accounting software or apps to track expenses digitally, making it easier to organize and categorize expenses for tax purposes.

Understanding Limitations and Restrictions

While many expenses are eligible for tax deduction, there are some limitations and restrictions to keep in mind:

  • Only expenses directly related to your business are deductible. Expenses that are primarily personal in nature, such as groceries, clothing, or personal grooming, are not deductible.

  • The deductibility of entertainment expenses is subject to specific rules and limitations. Generally, only 50% of eligible entertainment expenses incurred for business purposes can be deducted.

  • Certain expenses, such as the purchase of assets with a useful life of more than one year, may need to be capitalized and depreciated over time rather than deducted in full in the year of purchase.

A tax professional, or AI tools like ReInvestWealth, can help you identify eligible deductions, ensure compliance with tax laws, and maximize your tax savings while minimizing the risk of audits or penalties.


Understanding and maximizing tax-deductible expenses is essential for optimizing your tax savings and maximizing your net income. Take proactive steps to leverage tax deductions effectively, and reap the rewards come tax time.


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