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Video: Tax Tips for the Self-Employed

Updated for Tax Year 2014


OVERVIEW

The rules for self-employed taxpayers can be complicated. But there's no need to worry as long as you follow some basic rules from the IRS.


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Question: After my company cut back on my hours I started a lawn-care business to earn some extra money. But I’m concerned about taxes. What do I need to know about being self-employed?

Narrator: This is Tiffany Smith from TurboTax. The rules for self-employed taxpayers can be complicated. But there’s no need to worry as long as you follow some basic rules from the IRS.

First, since you are no longer an employee, you’ll need to pay your own income and Social Security taxes. Most taxpayers with self-employment income make quarterly estimated tax payments based on the amount of income the business earns. 

Self-employed taxpayers also need to pay self-employment Social Security and Medicare taxes by filing Schedule SE. The rate is 15.3% of your self-employment earnings. But you get to deduct half of those taxes on your 1040 as an adjustment to income.

At tax time, you’ll need to file Schedule C to declare your income from cutting lawns or planting shrubs.

The good news is you can also use Schedule C to list your deductible expenses for things such as advertising, insurance, employee wages and equipment you purchased to do your work. Expenses are deductible in the year you pay them. If you have a home office that you use exclusively for things like making appointments and billing customers, you might also be eligible for a home office deduction.

You can also deduct expenses for cars or trucks you use to transport your equipment and to travel from job to job. TurboTax will help you choose between the standard mileage rate or deducting your actual expenses for things such as gas, oil, insurance and repairs.

TurboTax will help you figure out what you owe, what expenses you can deduct and help you file all the right forms.

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.

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