Friday, November 30, 2007

It’s December – Do you know what your taxes are?

It's December, yet there is still time for indies to take a few steps that will make tax-filing season less distressing.

Which steps to take and the order they are taken depend on where you are and where you’re headed. So before you can better your tax situation, you need perspective on your current tax outlook. The way to get this perspective is to compare your expectations or planning for the year to what has actually happened.

If you've made more money than you’d expected or planned for, you may want to reduce your income with more business deductions or pension contributions.

On the other hand, if your income is lower than projected, maybe you can bring in income earlier than you expected or defer some deductions until next year when you’re determined to make more money.

The very first step: Start now! Get your tax papers together. More time means more complete records, fewer missed deductions, and the opportunity to discuss tax strategy with your tax pro. In stead of waiting until the hour has struck, ask her for a review now and get a projected tax total. If you hesitate because of the cost of the consultation, think about this: the more you get done now the less you and she will have to do later. Overall cost may be the same, or even less! And if it does cost you a little more it’s worth it if it helps to improve your total tax picture – and accounting fees are a deductible business expense.

Once you have an idea of your tax position, you can take steps to change it.

Too High Income
If your income is higher than expected or your deductions are skimpier than you’d like, here are some tips.

Look for more business deductions. Are there expenses or purchases planned for the future that you can make now? What about the scanner or desk you really need? The computer that you intended to buy next year?

Fine, you say, but I don’t have the cash for a major purchase. Well, there’s a way around that. Charge your purchase to a bank credit card. For instance, a $2,000 piece of equipment purchased with a bank credit card before the end of the year gets you a $2,000 deduction for this year even if you make no payment on it until next year. Keep in mind, however, that it has to be a bank credit card like MasterCard or Visa -- not a store credit card.

If you’re a cash basis taxpayer, which most of you are, a check written on or before December 31st for a legitimate business expense is a deduction for this year.

Of course, never spend just for the tax break You won’t get a dollar for dollar tax savings. Here’s a general rule: Unless you are in a very high tax bracket, a $1,000 business deduction will save you about $300 to $400 in federal income and self-employment taxes and state tax.

I use the term pension plan and retirement account interchangeably. For an artist or writer with no plan of ever retiring I call it a freedom account because it allows the freedom to change ideas and plans in the future.

So it’s time to re-evaluate your pension plan. The pension laws and regulations have had a complete makeover. You may be able to decrease your tax significantly by starting a pension or changing the kind you have. Be sure to investigate a relatively new pension plan that goes by several names -- the UNI-K, the Solo-K, the one-person-K. It’s easy to set up, flexible and, if established with the right brokerage house, inexpensive . Careful though: some brokers and investment people who don’t usually work with self-employeds may not be familiar with the UNI-K. They will try to steer you to the corporate world 401-K, which is the wrong plan for indies. Make sure that your tax or financial professional has a grasp of pensions that work well for indies.

Not Enough Income
On the flip side, what if you had a bad year and made less money than expected? One of the nasty side effects of a bad-income year is that you may be entitled to deductions that get you no tax breaks. Those deductions would come in handy next year when your IT business takes of or you've finally been accepted to the regional juried show, and your income increases.

Here are some possible moves to make in the face of a downer income year.

Delay purchases if you can. This is one of the advantages of understanding your tax situation before filing deadline – not that tax matters should determine all your decisions, but that taxes should be factored into them. If you can wait until next year when there’s a promise of more income, wait.

If you have to purchase a piece of equipment now because the sale ends on December 25, buy it now. According to IRS rules you don’t have to take the deduction in the current year if the equipment was not available for use, So if the set up of the scanner or computer must wait until the holidays are over and the guests leave then it is not available for use and so it is not a deduction until next year.

Do everything you can to get your income up. Offer discounts, have a sale, make an extra effort to get the money owed you, pester the gallery owners or consignment shops or laid-back-clients that have been slow in paying or who normally pay after the first of the year.

I said earlier to take a look at your pension if you’re having a good year. And if you’re having the opposite kind of year, look just as hard. Several pension plans require a contribution. You may not need to make a contribution in the current year because you don’t need to reduce your income. And in a low-income year you may not have the funds to make a pension contribution. The solution may be to change to a different type of pension plan. And now, before the year is out, is the time to discuss that with your tax pro.

This month you will see a lot of last minute tax tips posts and columns. Most of them will tell you the same old stuff: Clean out your closet and give the clothing to charity for a big write-off. It is a good idea to free up some closet space and do a good thing with your discards. But that is not going to have a big impact – if any – on your tax situation. picture. So, start now to develop your 2007 tax picture and you'll have a better perspective into 2008.

In future posts I’ll mention tax tips from other folks that are worthwhile. Keep an eye out for them.

June Walker

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Receipts for Travel Expenses

June --

I have been an indie for 6 months - as a researcher, speaker, and writer about world affairs - in Reston, VA.

When I travel for business, do I need receipts for every bite of food or hotel room I deduct or can I take a standard deduction? If standard, where do I find the rates?

Thank you.

Hello William,

On a tax return travel expenses fall in to two categories: Meals and Everything Else.For Meals & Incidentals you do not need receipts. You may instead use the IRS "per diem" amount for the city you were in and the date you were there.
The rates are in IRS Publication 1542.For Everything Else you must have receipts. Be sure to read Business Travel Expenses on my website.


Taxes when you work in one state but live in another.

June --

I have been a mechanical designer for one year. I have been working in Texas for the past 8 months. Texas has no state income tax. My residence of record is in Roswell, NM, but I have been renting an apartment here (in Texas).

I have not had any New Mexico income tax withheld from earnings here. Will I still have to pay New Mexico state income taxes ?


Hello David,

Yes, you must pay New Mexico.

Regardless of where you work you must always pay income tax to the state where you live. Of course if your resident state has no income tax, then you pay no income tax where you live.

Typically, you pay income tax to the state where you work and you receive a credit for those taxes paid in the state where you live.

Here's an example of how it works:
You work in state A. Let's call it your work state --non-resident state in tax jargon.
You live in State B. Let's call it your home state -- resident state in tax jargon.
Your total home state income tax is $5,000. That includes tax on your earned income and tax on interest and dividends and stock sales. You paid $4,000 tax to your work state and so you get a credit. So your home state tax is $1,000.

It may not work out dollar for dollar if one state has a different tax rate than the other. And of course, if your work state, like Texas, has no income tax, then you get no credit and so owe NM the entire tax.

Also read this blog post Work in Another State


Monday, November 26, 2007

Do it right!

June ...

I just recently found your blog and cant wait to run out and buy your book!

I am a sole proprietor operating out of my home within Philadelphia. As you probably know, Philadelphia has the highest business taxes in the country. My business is new and I have yet to pay these taxes (not even sure I can afford them).

Anyway, onto my question ... does it make sense to setup my business outside of the city at, say, my in-law's address? I'm not sure this is legal or not. I'm sure you'll advise me. If I'm able to do this, will this prohibit me from taking a home office deduction? I'm sure there are a ton of negatives I'm not considering, but the taxes in the city are out of control!!! and I cannot move until the housing market comes back up.

thanks so much. jason.

Hello Jason,

So glad you found my blog! I know Philadelphia. I have clients and a daughter there.

Using an address strictly to avoid taxes is fraud. Don't do it. Your best defense against high taxes is information. So, instead of finagling, learn as much as you can about business deductions and other indie financial tax and money matters. . It's a new "business" you're starting. Do it the right way. Legitimately. And people will treat you -- and pay you -- as a legitimate business.

And please, do run out -- really quickly -- and buy my book, Self-employed Tax Solutions.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Husband-Wife Business? Don't set it up as a partnership.


I am preparing to take the plunge into SE and your book Self-employed Tax Solutions book has been an excellent resource.

Due to the work I do and subsequent contractual liability concerns, it was in my best interest to form an LLC, which I did as a single member.

My spouse will work in this venture in a part-time/full time business management capacity while I provide billable consulting services.

Are we better off with my spouse as a member, thus a partnership LLC, or as an employee in a single member (sole proprietor) LLC? I want the maximum liability protection, and equal "ownership" but do not want to give Uncle Sugar anymore than I absolutely have to. Since we file jointly, I'm thinking the tax advantage lies with the sole proprietor option but need your advice.

Thank you in advance.

Dean from Fort Collins, CO

Hello Dean,

Very smart move -- getting information before you make a decision!

An LLC treated as a "disregarded entity" is a sole proprietorship.

The most tax advantageous business structure for a husband-wife business is that which has one spouse as the sole proprietor and the other spouse as an employee of the sole proprietorship.

The least tax advantageous is a husband-wife partnership.

For an understanding of the advantages read my posts in the category payroll -- spouse as employee.

Glad my book is a good reference for you. Please tell your indie friends and colleagues!


Monday, November 19, 2007

No Clothing Deduction


I've just discovered your website and I think it's great! I'll be reading it regularly for sure.

If you have a small boutique and you are the owner and naturally you take some of the clothing home to wear it yourself. From a business perspective it's important that you wear your merchandise - it makes it easier to sell it, you need to know if it holds up, you need to know if it fits right. I know you would have to pay use tax on the cost of the merchandise that you wear. But can you deduction the cost as a business expense? And if so what would you call that account? I thought of research and development, but that doesn't sound quite right.

-- Kaylyn

Hello Kaylyn,

The IRS is a stickler on this. The answer is no, you cannot deduct these clothes because you wear them in your everyday activities. Were you to wear something for a specific period of time, keep a written record of when worn and the result of the test, then you'd be able to take the deduction.

Take a look at this post Clothing and Make-up as a Business Expense .


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Medical Insurance Deduction for Indies

Hi June,

I like how you write, it's fresh and easy to understand.

I have a question. I'm considering quitting my job and working for myself doing free-lance technical writing at home. My big fear is the cost of health insurance. Any tips?

As a sole proprietor, can I deduct ALL my health insurance premiums and out of pocket expenses? If yes, then basically does that lower my taxable income? Can you give me an idea if that would make my health insurance premiums about equal (after all taxes paid at year end) to what I would have paid working for my current employer? Currently I spend $130/month, but I received an estimate of $250-$400/month from Blue Cross/Blue Shield as an independent person (depending on the type of health plan chosen).

Is there any other way to recoup that insurance premium besides a tax deduction, too?

Holly from Warrenville, IL

Hello Holly,

Let me give an overview of how medical deductions work.

If a taxpayer is not self-employed then medical insurance premium costs and all other medical costs are deducted as a personal expense in what I call "the guts" of the tax return. If these medical expenses do not come over a certain minimum or if the taxpayer's income is so high that the medical expenses don't meet another threshold, then the deduction for medical expenses is lost.

If a taxpayer is self-employed, here's the difference: Medical insurance costs are deducted on "the front" of the return and immediately reduce taxable income. Other medical costs are still deducted as a personal expense in "the guts" of the return. No medical expense is a direct deduction from business income.

There is no way, without analysing your personal tax return and projected income, to tell whether your new premiums would actually cost you any money. Why not calculate as if you simply had an additional $270 [400 - 130] cost per month and see if you could handle that?

Glad you like my writing. Thanks!

Artwork is not a deductible business expense ... even for artists.

Hi June,

I'm an oil painter who is being audited by the IRS. They are refusing to allow my deduction of oil paintings I have purchased from galleries. I have receipts for all of these purchases and have provided them to the IRS. I am deducting them because I believe they are necessary for my business. These are artists whose work I admire and learn from. From these paintings I can see how they solved similar problems. I can also use these paintings as examples when I teach. One of these painting is from my teacher's teacher who is deceased and this is the only way I can learn from him.

What do you think? Should I be able to deduct this from my business? I make my living as a painter, and I feel this should be valid. I'd appreciate any comments you have and if you know of a precedent for this?

Thank you so much for your time.

Cheri from Sandi Park, NM

Dear Cheri,

The IRS thinking is that art treasures and antiques do not depreciate in value and so you may not deduct their cost as a business expense.

There is ambiguity about something such as an antique desk used in your office or a musician's rare banjo. If they are used and subject to wear and tear they may be depreciated. That is not the IRS regulation however. It is from a tax court case only and so could be rejected in an audit.

I spoke with the IRS about this last week and the response from that particular IRS employee was: Yes, you may deduct the cost of the oil painting if it is part of the ordinary and necessary costs of the business. Therefore as long as the IRS has accepted that you are a self-employed artist seeking to make a profit you may deduct the costs of artwork as teaching tools. His opinion is not the one generally accepted by the IRS!

My experience has been that the IRS will not allow the deduction. I know of no precedent to the contrary on oil paintings or sculptures.

Of course what would make sense is to treat artwork like houses and other buildings. Deduct the cost and pay tax on the gain when it is sold.

Wish I had better news for you.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Work-at-home expenses allowed without a home-office

Hi June,

I am a self-employed film and video freelance editor and work out of my home as well as work on-site and go back and forth between the two sometimes. I can not deduct for a home office though because I share a one bedroom place with my fiancee.

My question is, even though I can not claim a home office, can I still claim expenses incurred from working out of the home, i.e. my editing system, my laptop, my editing software, my supplies, my entertainment expenses, etc? I certainly hope so. Please let me know.

Thank you for your time.

Hello Sarah,

The short answer: Yes, you may deduct every one of the expenses that you questioned.

So many indies get mixed up on the relationship of office-in-the-home to other expenses such as office supplies and equipment. Even the experts get it wrong. Here's an example of how wrong they can get it --
It's tax time so ... beware of bad advice from the real-life Sammy Segar, CPA

Simply put there is no relationship between home office deduction and the deductibility of office equipment or supplies or any other business expenses. As I explained in the above noted post: " ... the deduction of office equipment and furniture has nothing to do with a home-office deduction. If you use a computer only for business it qualifies as a business deduction, even if it sits on your kitchen counter. If you have a printer perched on your home-office desk it does not qualify as 100% business use if your kid borrows it to print his homework. An ergonomic desk chair used only when you’re working at your business computer qualifies for a business furniture equipment deduction even though it, too, sits in your kitchen.

Where business equipment is located or used in the home is not relevant to a deduction. Nor is its use related to the size or even existence of a home office.

The same applies to all business expenses. In my book, Self-employed Tax Solutions, I use the following example: "Telephone expense is not directly related to office-in-the-home expense. You may deduct for a phone used in your residence even if you do not have an office or studio in your home. If you do claim an office-in-the-home deduction don’t think that somehow office size and phone use need to match. They don’t. Your home office may take up 10% of your residence but you may use 88% of your phone for business. No correlation, no problem."

-- June

PS: Take a look at Shared Rent: You may still deduct for home office . You may have a home-office deduction.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wacky payment method?

June --

I have been a sole proprietor home care physical therapist for 10 years.

Can sole proprietors be paid via direct deposit in NY? We were always told no, but now one of my clients ( a hospital) wants us to sign up for direct deposit. I'm leery. Any advice?

Frank -- Franklin Square, NY

Hello Frank,

"We were always told." Told by whom for goodness sake?!!!! And for what tax reason were you not allowed to have your payment deposited directly into your checking or savings account?

I get emails where indies have been told a lot of wacky things, and let me tell you that's up there with the wackiest. You may be paid in and by anything -- camels, dollars, rubles, gold, check, credit card, cash, barter, wampum, even direct deposit into your bank account.

And it's all income that must be reported on your tax return.

You must email me back and tell me who told you that.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Husband & Wife Working Together: Incorporate or Not?

Dear June,

I am a freelance designer. My husband works for an advertising company. Once in a while he helps me out with my work. My friend's accountant told her that I'd save a lot of money if I incorporated. Should I incorporate and put my husband on my payroll?
I'm confused because I don't really know how a corporation works.

Janice from Ohio

Hello Janice,

Do not incorporate unless your personal tax pro analyzes your unique situation and gives you specific, understandable reasons why it would be better for you.

Here's a snapshot of how a corporation may handle income:

In a corporation, the tax benefit of retained earnings -- that's corporate profit that is not distributed but kept in the corp for future business spending -- comes into play only when you make a lot more money than you need to live on. By doing this, you leave some of the earnings of the corp in the corp and do not have them available for living expenses.

In your corporation you would earn money as a designer. These would be your wages. Your husband would earn wages. The corporation would have a profit on which the corporation -- that's you -- would pay tax. The corporation profit -- in the form of dividends is distributed to you.

On yours and your husband's tax return you include your wages, his wages and the dividends. You pay tax on that income. Note that on the dividends, the corp -- you -- have already paid tax once. Now you will pay tax on those same dividends again.

You must pay whatever fees your state requires for setting up a corp. You must pay an accountant to help set up a corp and every year to prepare a corporate return for the feds and also for the state. There are various required papers, such as corporate minutes, that you'll need to keep.

All this is a hassle and expensive and so you don't want to do it unless you must.

When you have a sole proprietorship and you hire your spouse as your employee this is what happens or may happen:
-- Your wages to him simply move the income from one part of the return to another. No tax change. -- If he must accompany you on a business trip, his expenses are business deductions. Not so if he were not an employee.
-- You may provide him with a health plan that covers his family [that includes you]. All family medical expenses then become deduction against your business income.
-- You may give your spousal employee dental coverage, life insurance, disability coverage, a pension -- all are deductions against your business income.

And, if he works out really well, you may give him a raise.

Keep in mind: A sole proprietorship may be an LLC. Read about it here Sole Proprietor as an LLC


Contributions from a Minor to a Pension or Retirement Account


If a young person (under 18) earns money doing odd jobs (like mowing grass etc...) and then puts this money into a Roth IRA is he in any way exempt from having to file a tax return and thereby able to avoid paying self employment (social security) tax?

I realize that if he were going to use the money to buy comic books or something he would never even consider reporting the "cash" income, but I'm assuming opening the Roth IRA will put him on the IRS radar.

John in South Carolina

Hello John,

Regardless of how young the indie he may contribute to a pension only if he has taxable earned income. So, no he cannot hide the income and also put it into a pension.

If the grass cutter wanted to contribute, let's say, $4000 into a ROTH -- or any other pension/retirement account -- he must file a tax return showing that he had at least $4,000 taxable earned income.

Were he an employee that would be $4,000 in wages, for an indie that would be $4,000 net profit.

To establish a pension plan for a minor the account must be opened and held by an adult, as guardian, in the name of the minor. While the adult is the individual authorized to perform transactions on the account, the minor is considered the registered owner for tax purposes.

Although there is no minimum age, on various kinds of pensions there is a maximum age at which you may not longer contribute.


Monday, November 5, 2007

How does an indie pay social security tax?

June --

I am self-employed with no employees, however I am interested in paying something into the system toward social security benefits for myself in the future. What tax form do I fill out to get started?

Jane from Baltimore, MD

Hello Jane,

Every self-employed who has a net profit of $400 or more pays into social security when she files her tax return.The amount is figued on Schedule SE: Self-Employment Tax. Social security is part of self-employment [SE] tax.

-- June

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How much should I charge?

June --

I have been a Web Developer / ASP.NET Programmer / Writer / Educator for 4 years.

I agreed to a rate before researching the real cost of taxes etc... is there a rule of thumb for consulting so I don't make this mistake again?

For example, should I add 35% to my minimum rate to ensure that I take home what I need?


David, M.Ed. from Seattle

Hello David,

I think you
are asking two different questions.

I will ignore taxes for a moment and look at how much an indie should charge. Let's say you were making $50 per hour as an employee. All your work expenses would be covered and so $50 per hour meant $50 an hour -- less taxes -- into your pocket.

Now, as an indie you have many expenses that you must pay and they must be figured into your hourly fee. Not only do you need to look at things like the costs of a computer purchase and publications you read and the costs of running a home office, but what about hours on the phone with your computer guru who is helping you after your computer crash? What about your time or someone else's time cleaning your home office? Your time doing your own bookkeeping? Your time on the web getting answers to tax questions?

Most new indies -- that is, those without experience who have no history on which to judge their rates -- severely undercharge. They usually should double or triple their fees. When they give a fee of $500 for a project they think would take them 10 hours, they should have charged $1,000 or $1,500. Most often the project takes at least twice as long as they thought and they didn't figure in things like the two hours at Best Buy exchanging the modem they just bought.

The market and your reputation may limit how much you can charge but it is important to know your actual costs and to strive to charge what works for you. Especially at the start of your indie business it is important to keep a log of time spent on each client as well as on "general" time -- that's the bookkeeping, cleaning, errand running kind of stuff.

Your other question about fees and taxes: Plan on 1/3 to 40% of your net profit going toward taxes. Read more here Taxes: Which ones and how much do I pay?


SE Tax and Partnerships


My husband currently receives a 1099 & is self-employed as a territorial sales rep.

He pays alot on self-employment [SE] tax. We are thinking about opening up a retail store in which we would be partners in an LLC.

Does The Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007 mean that we would not need to file for SE tax on this small business? If I am understanding it incorrectly & we still do need to file SE tax, is there some way we can combine his territorial sales rep work in which he already pays SE tax with the small retail business, so that we are not paying SE tax on two related businesses?

Also, does the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007 eliminate the double taxation that occurs with husband & wife partnership llc's?

Thanks, Eileen

Hello Eileen,

Wow! You are mixing up apples, potatoes and Fruit Loops.

First of all, there is nothing in the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007 that eliminates SE tax. To make sure there was no hidden paragraph that I missed I called the IRS to confirm. If you found something that says it's been eliminated, please send it to me.

Second: There is not now nor was there ever a double taxation of SE tax. Read What is Self-employment (SE) Tax? on this blog.

In a partnership SE tax is paid on the net profit. For instance, if you and a friend were 50/50 partners then each of you would pay SE tax on half the profit. A husband and wife partnership would also split the profit and pay SE tax on his and her share.

By the way, a partnership is the least tax advantageous business structure for a husband and wife business. A better way: One spouse as owner, the other as an employee.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

What is Self-employment (SE) Tax?

While income tax is paid on any kind of taxable income, self-employment (SE) tax is paid only by people who work for themselves. SE tax is social security and Medicare tax for self-employeds and is paid on a self-employed’s net earnings.

Net earnings – think of it as net profit. It's what you have left after subtracting all business expenses from your gross self-employed income.

You must pay self-employment tax if net earnings from self-employment are $400 or more. The SE tax rate is 15.3% and is made up of two components: 12.4% social security tax plus 2.9% Medicare tax.

Social security benefits are available to self-employed persons just as they are to wage earners. Your payments of SE tax contribute to your coverage under the social security system which provides you with retirement, disability, and survivor benefits.

Medicare coverage provides hospital insurance benefits.

There is a cap on the amount of earned income on which you must pay social security tax. The cap for 2009 and 2010 is $106,800.

That means that you do not pay social security tax on income over $106,800. If you were to make $106,800 as an employee and also have an indie venture with a $20,000 profit, you would pay no social security tax on the $20,000 profit because you had already paid the maximum social security tax for 2009 or 2010 via withholding on your wages.

If you had a job and were also self-employed you would pay social security tax on both wages and profit until you met the $106,800 limit.

If you earn $106,800 in 2009 or 2010 you will pay the same amount of social security tax as Max Millionaire who earns $1,000,000. Hmmmm... do you see an opportunity here for filling the social security coffer?

There is no cap on Medicare tax. You pay 2.9% Medicare tax on all earned income.

{revised 1/31/10}

Indies Need Health Coverage

The American jobs market has changed – more than that, it has been transformed – since Bill and Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful attempt to put together a national health plan in the early 1990s. In the ensuing years the independent professional – in sheer numbers, although up to now not in political power – has boomed. No longer should the indie be an overlooked factor in US tax law or in labor or health benefits strategy.

Health coverage will certainly emerge as an issue in the national elections of 2008. It’s vital for indies to make themselves heard in the coming debate. We indies need health care coverage solutions that are in sync with our workstyle.

I’m going to have more to say on this topic in the coming months. For a brief but interesting look at such matters, check out Home-Office Politics, Matt Bai’s article in the November 4 issue of the New York Times Magazine. If no longer available online you may get a PDF version here.

Can I deduct meals & lodging?

June --

I've worked as a software consultant on 1099 on and off for 15 years.

I work at my clients business site 3-4 days of every week and the rest of the week I work at home. My home is 60 miles from my clients business. Since it's such a long commute I always stay in a hotel close to the clients site the 2-3 nites I'm working at the clients place. I do this every week. Can I deduct travelling expenses for the hotel/food etc? I do not claim a home office deduction.

Thanx a lot in advance.
Brian :)

Hello Brian,

You say "clients site" not client's site nor clients' site so I don't know if you are talking about one or more clients. If you have only client brings that brings up the question : Are you really self-employed?

Knowing nothing else about your work or number of clients, I'll assume for this situation that you are legitimately self-employed.

You have no home office so you may not take the commute to your client's site.

Sixty miles is not a long drive. If for your convenience you are staying there rather than driving back home then you may not deduct costs for lodging and meals.

If your work requires you to be available on your client's site for so many hours that you would be too tired to safely drive back home then lodging and meals would be a legitimate deduction.