Tax tips for the self-employed
April 12, 2017
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.