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  5. Self-Employed Less Than a Year? How to Do Your Taxes

Self-Employed Less Than a Year? How to Do Your Taxes

Updated for Tax Year 2022 • January 12, 2023 03:00 PM


Have you been self-employed less than a year? If you’re just starting out, it’s possible you worked at a job earlier in the tax year before making the switch to self-employment, or you’re working multiple jobs. In this case, you may have more than one source of income you’ll need to report on your income tax return.

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Key Takeaways

• If you switched from being employed by someone else to being self-employed during the tax year, your former employer will likely report your employee income to you and the IRS on Form W-2.

• Your customers may report payments to you on a 1099-NEC form. You are required to report all income you received, whether it is reported on form 1099-NEC or not.

• If you are paid through online third-party payment services such as PayPal, you will likely receive a 1099-K if more than $600 was processed during the year (beginning with tax year 2023). The threshold for tax year 2022 and earlier is payments totaling more than $20,000 combined with more than 200 transactions.

• As a self-employed individual, you are responsible for both the employer and employee portions of your Social Security and Medicare taxes. This is the self-employment tax.

Receiving W-2 and 1099 Tax Forms

If you were employed for part of the year, your employer will likely report your employee income to you and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Form W-2. In addition, you may also receive self-employment income that your customers reported to the IRS on a 1099-NEC form (1099-MISC in prior years). And, you may have income collected from customers that does not get reported on a 1099-NEC form. If you receive payments through third-party payment processors such as PayPal, you will likely receive a 1099-K. Payers will also send these forms to the IRS to report your income so it is important to include all of your income on your tax return.

The IRS planned to implement changes to the 1099-K reporting requirement for the 2022 tax year. However, the IRS recently delayed the implementation of the new $600 reporting threshold for goods and service transactions from third party processors like Venmo and Paypal to 2023, reverting tax year 2022 back to the previously higher 1099-K reporting threshold (over $20,000 in payments and more than 200 transactions). If you don’t receive a 1099-K, the IRS still expects you will report all your income, regardless of the amount.

Self-Employment Tax

When you work for someone else, you pay half your Medicare and Social Security taxes, and your employer pays the other half. These are sometimes referred to as payroll taxes.

When you’re self-employed, you are responsible for paying all the payroll tax yourself - both the employee and employer portions - on the net income earned from your business. This is the self-employment tax. You can calculate it on IRS Schedule SE and include the form with your tax return.

The good news is, your employer has already withheld payroll taxes for the income reported on your W-2 form. However, you’ll have to pay the self-employment tax yourself on your self-employed income.



TurboTax Tip: Your self-employment is typically considered a business, so you can use Schedule C to list not only your business income, but also to deduct all of your business expenses you’re entitled to.



Paying Quarterly Estimated Taxes

You shouldn’t wait until the end of the year to pay your self-employment tax and income tax on your business income, or else you might owe interest and penalties. The IRS wants you to estimate your taxes and pay as you go, four times a year. You can complete IRS Form 1040-ES to estimate how much you’ll owe for each quarter of the year.

When you first start your business or work as self-employed, you’ll have to make an educated guess about how much income you will earn over the tax year, because you won’t have any previous years’ income to guide you. If your estimate is wrong—either too low or too high—you can adjust the amount on your 1040-ES forms during the tax year.

The important thing is that you begin making quarterly payments as soon as you begin making money as a self-employed person. They’re due on April 15, June 15, September 15 of the current year and January 15 of the following year or the next business day if the due date falls on a weekend or holiday.

Completing IRS Schedule C

Schedule C is used to calculate your business income for the portion of the year that you were self-employed—all the income your business took in, less business expenses. The resulting number is what you’ll use to calculate your self-employment tax on Schedule SE and what you’ll report on your Form 1040 as income.

Reporting All Income

You must report all your sources of income to the IRS on your tax return, even if you don’t receive a 1099 form from your customers. If you were close in estimating what you would owe when you completed Form 1040-ES and made those quarterly payments on time, you shouldn't owe the IRS much (if any) additional tax.

Always go back over your tax return to make sure that you have included all of your income and deducted every business expense you were entitled to. Look for differences between your estimated expenses at the time you completed Form 1040-ES and what they actually turned out to be. If you were wrong in your forecast for either income or expenses, you can adjust your estimated tax payments going forward into the new year.

Likewise, if the W-4 form you completed for your employer was accurate, you won’t owe anything on the income reported on your W-2 either.

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