Products & Pricing
Online products
CD/download products
Mobile products
Self-employment taxes
Small business taxes
Compare products
TurboTax Advantage
Previous years' products
File an IRS extension
Access my downloads
Tools & Tips
Tax calculators
Tax tips & videos
Track my donations
TurboTax blog
After You File
Track my refund
Check my e-file status
Print my return
Amend my return
Access prior year returns
Go to Turbo
TurboTax Support
Frequently Asked Questions
Expert Services
How TurboTax works
Tax Reform

Work as a Hair Stylist? Tax Tips for Hairdressers

Updated for Tax Year 2017


As a hair stylist, you’re probably more focused on giving your clients the perfectly tousled waves than thinking about your tax liability. But a bit of tax savvy can save you some serious dough at tax time—just make sure all your documentation is in line. Learn how to get the most from your business deductions and minimize the taxes you may owe.

Figure Out Your Employment Status Early

If you run your own hair salon, you already know you’re self-employed. But if you’re working at someone else’s establishment, your status as either an employee or an independent contractor may not be so clear. The distinction makes a big difference in how you approach your taxes.

If you’re self-employed you’ll need to pay self-employment tax, and you might need to pay taxes quarterly. If you’re an employee, on the other hand, your employer will withhold taxes from each paycheck.

  • You can tell which you are by the tax form the salon gives you—if it’s a W-2, you’re an employee; if it’s a 1099-MISC, you’re an independent contractor.

But don’t wait until you get your tax forms to find out, ask your employer at the beginning to avoid surprises at tax time.

For tax years prior to 2018, both employees and contractors can claim business deductions. However, as an employee, you are more limited in the deductions you can claim. Employees have to meet the 2% floor—you’ll only be allowed to deduct expenses above and beyond 2% of your adjusted gross income and you will have to itemize your deductions rather than taking the standard deduction.

Beginning in 2018, employees are no longer able to deduct their unreimbursed employee expenses on their taxes.

Take Advantage of Business Tax Deductions

The money you invest in your hairdressing business comes at a significant tax advantage. Upfront costs for setting up the business—like dryers, furniture, and equipment for your workspace—can reduce the amount of taxes you owe.

If the supplies you purchase will last for a long time, you can claim some of these costs for a smaller tax break spread over several years (a process called depreciation). If they’ll last a year or less, expense them upfront as a regular business deduction using the Section 179 deduction. For example:

  • If you purchase a barber chair for $1,500, for example, you can depreciate that cost over 5 years.
  • If you go for a section 179 deduction, you could deduct the entire $1,500 in the first year (provided your total section 179 deductions don’t exceed $510,000 in 2017).

Bonus Depreciation: Bonus depreciation has been changed for qualified assets acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017. The old rules of 50% bonus depreciation still apply for qualified assets acquired before September 28, 2017. These assets had to be purchased new, not used. The new rules allow for 100% bonus "expensing" of assets that are new or used. The percentage of bonus depreciation phases down in 2023 to 80%, 2024 to 60%, 2025 to 40%, and 2026 to 20%. After 2026 there is no further bonus depreciation. This bonus "expensing" should not be confused with expensing under Code Section 179 which has entirely separate rules, see above.

The 100% expensing is also available for certain productions (qualified film, television, and live staged performances) and certain fruit or nuts planted or grafted after September 27, 2017.

50% bonus first year depreciation can be elected over the 100% expensing for the first tax year ending after September 27, 2017.

You may also be able to claim other costs associated with operating your business like:

  • running ads,
  • hosting your website,
  • paying rent or fees for your workspace,
  • and purchasing supplies like colors, foils, shampoo, towels, shears, small tools and conditioner all help to reduce your taxable income—and the amount of tax you'll owe

If you’re running your business out of your home, you may be eligible for home office deductions for a portion of the cost of rent, utilities, and homeowners' insurance. The cost of licensing, legal fees, and business-related insurance premiums are also tax deductible.

Get Tax Breaks From Professional Advancement

Training and personal development not only ups your earning potential, it offers some tax benefits—so go ahead and take that course on perfecting the art of balayage! Paying for training at a recognized post-secondary institution can lower your tax liability if you claim an education tax credit, and some or all of your scholarship funding may be tax-exempt. You may also be able to claim continuing education costs via the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit or as a tax deduction from your business income.

Keeping Your Files Organized

When preparing for tax season, it’s absolutely essential to keep your documentation in order. You’ll need to retain your W-2 forms and 1099 forms to document your income, and keep receipts for purchases you make relating to your business.

Organize your receipts regularly, for example, once or twice a month to spot any missing documentation so you can track it down well before the tax filing deadline.

Remember, with TurboTax, we’ll ask you simple questions and fill out the right tax forms for you to maximize your tax deductions.

A TurboTax solution for every situation

See which tax prep product is right for you

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

Security is built into everything we do
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return between 4/19/17 and 10/16/17 to receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 10/31/18. Activation by 12/31/17 required. Sign in to QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at; e-mail address used for activation and sign-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not purchase TurboTax Self-Employed by 10/15/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 10/31/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15.3%) for tax year 2016. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $34.99 Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or on-screen); not included with Federal Free Edition (but available for purchase with the Plus bundle). SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. TurboTax experts provide general advice, customer service and product help; tax advice provided only by credentialed CPAs, enrolled agents and tax attorneys. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access, My Docs and My Analysis & Advice features: Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available until you file your 2017 tax return or through 10/31/2018, whichever comes first. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by March 13, 2017.

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $34.99 Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.
Online Software Products
CD/Download Products
Mobile Tax Apps
Help and Support
Tax Tools and Tips
More Products from Intuit