The bright spot of the dreary 2009 economy: savings for everyone.
Many Americans took freelance work in 2009 to make up for smaller paychecks and shrunken investment accounts. Whether you spent time selling old baseball cards on eBay or consulting for a former boss, you probably have a business by IRS standards. And that gives you a whole host of write-offs, including costs of supplies, equipment, and work-related errands (55¢ a mile for business use of your car).
Better yet, if you're running this side operation out of a home office -- and not also using it as a TV room/guest room/playroom -- you can deduct a prorated share of your utility bills and even your mortgage payments.
Potential savings: $420 on the typical home office alone
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Last updated March 26 2010: 7:15 PM ET
Savings assumed a couple filing jointly in the 28% bracket, unless otherwise noted.