TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / IRS Tax Forms / Video: What is Schedule C-EZ: Profit or Loss from a Business?

Video: What is Schedule C-EZ: Profit or Loss from a Business?

Updated for Tax Year 2016


OVERVIEW

When you earn income from self-employment, preparing your tax return can be more complicated than when you earn income from an employer. Schedule C-EZ can make the filing process much simpler. Watch this video to learn more.


Hello, I’m Jill from TurboTax with some important information for self-employed taxpayers.

Preparing your tax return when reporting self-employment earnings can be a little more complex than when your income is from employment. This is because of the Schedule C form you must prepare when your net profit is $400 or more. However, if you are eligible to file the shorter Schedule C-EZ, you may just save some time preparing your taxes.

Schedules C and C-EZ are used to report the income and expenses that relate solely to your self-employment activities. However, you must also report the net profit or loss in the income section of your 1040 form.

But before evaluating whether you are eligible to use the shorter Schedule C-EZ, you need to insure that you are in fact self employed.

You are self-employed if you operate a business as a sole proprietor, including a limited liability company you are the sole member of. You are also self-employed if you earn income as an independent contractor.

When preparing a Schedule C, you must report your business expenses in the appropriate categories listed on the form, such as advertising, insurance and rent expenses, to name just a few.

The Schedule C-EZ, however, is simpler to prepare since it allows you to report business expenses on one line instead of having to account for them by category. But in order to use the Schedule C-EZ, you must satisfy a number of requirements first. If you fail to satisfy even one—you must use the full Schedule C.

You can use Schedule C-EZ if:

  • Your total business expenses don’t exceed $5,000,
  • You use the cash method of accounting,
  • Your business or profession doesn’t require inventory,
  • You aren’t reporting a loss,
  • You operate only one business,
  • You don’t receive certain credit card payments,
  • The business has no employees,
  • You don’t claim the home office deduction, and
  • You satisfy the requirements of other less common situations that relate to depreciation and losses from prior years.

One thing to remember is that you must make this evaluation each tax year—eligibility to use the Schedule C-EZ one year doesn’t mean you can use it in all future tax years.

Not sure which form to use? When you file with TurboTax, you don’t need to know a thing about tax forms. We’ll ask you simple questions and determine the filing status and forms that will give you your biggest tax refund.

Perfect for independent contractors
and businesses

Find more tax deductions so you can keep more of the money you earn with TurboTax Self-Employed.

For only $114.99*
Start for Free

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
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • 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 https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax; e-mail address used for activation and sign-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See QuickBooks.com 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%) 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: $X.XX 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 TopTenReviews.com March 13, 2017.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • 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: $X.XX 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.