I just finished reading a great blog post — ‘The ultimate list of freelance tax deductions’.* When all is said and done, there isn’t much difference between freelancers and self-employed persons. For American expatriates, however, there are several rules to be aware of.
First and foremost, if you’ve earned $400 or more in 2014, you’ll need to report and file a 1040 tax return to the U.S. government. (This is an annual obligation that does not go away, regardless of the fact that you live abroad, and regardless of the number of years.)
Second, there is an exception to the housing deduction — it applies only to amounts paid for with self-employment earnings. If you do not have self-employment income, you cannot take the foreign housing deduction.