Six Tax Tips for the Self-Employed
Self-employed taxpayers normally earn income by carrying on a trade or business. Here are six important tips from the IRS for the self-employed:
- Self-Employed Taxpayers. Sole proprietors and independent contractors are two types of self-employment. Taxes can be complex for the self-employed. Check out the IRS Self Employed Individuals Tax Center.
- Estimated Tax. Self-employed taxpayers generally need to make quarterly estimated tax payments. IRS Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, has details on making those payments.
- Schedule C or C-EZ. Self-employed taxpayers must file a Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, or Schedule C-EZ, Net Profit from Business, with their Form 1040. For expenses less than $5,000, use Schedule C-EZ. Each form’s instructions provide the rules for which form to use.
- SE Tax. For those making a profit, self-employment and income tax may need to be paid. Self-employment tax includes Social Security and Medicare taxes. Use Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax, to figure the tax.
- Allowable Deductions. Taxpayers can deduct expenses paid to run a business that are both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in the industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and proper for a trade or business.
- When to Deduct. In most cases, taxpayers can deduct expenses in the year paid or incurred. Some costs must be ‘capitalized,’ however. This means deducting the cost over a number of years.
All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.
Additional IRS Resources:
- Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals
- Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax
- Publication 535, Business Expenses
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