how to file taxes as online contracter so that you can use laptop/computer purchases as write-offs
Assuming you've made above the Federal and State amount for filing a self-employment form (Form C), you would fill out the Form C (self-employment reporting), which asks about expenses related to your business.
You can file as a "sole proprietor" of your business. The form does ask for a simple explanation of the nature of the business.
For an expense as substantial as a computer, you should keep purchase receipts, credit card statements, etc. in case you are asked to include/provide them.
If you file online, like HR-Block, they will walk you right through the steps!
Use a local or online tax preparation service. I think that purchased capital assets with an expected life greater than one year, like a computer, may need to be depreciated over a period time. The IRS has a schedule that lists assets and acceptable write-off periods. Also, you may have to report the percentage of personal vs. business use for all assets and expensed items that obviously can be used for non-business purposes.
A computer must be depreciated over 5 years using Form 4562. You also might be able to expense the entire cost under section 179. I assume the computer is used for business only.
The deduction from Form 4562 follows to Schedule C, if a sole proprietor.
If you use an online tax preparation service, I recommend 1040.com. Their link is below.
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