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How To Pay Your Taxes As An Independent Contractor
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Legal Issues Should A Supplier Hire An Employee Or An Independent Contractor
Working for yourself comes with a certain freedom. As an independent contractor, you can forget about the standard 9 to 5 and set your own work hours. Instead of earning an annual salary, you should value your work—and sell it. Instead of accepting assignments from a manager, you can choose who to work with and what to do.
Of course, with more freedom comes more responsibility. If you make more than $400 a year as an independent contractor, managing your business income means managing your taxes, too.
While it’s not necessary to become a tax code expert beyond running your own business, a basic understanding of the tax system for employees can help you make more informed financial decisions. You’ll avoid unnecessary penalties — ultimately allowing you to maximize your professional freedom, while reducing the stress of additional responsibilities.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), an independent contractor is someone who offers services to others with control over how, what, how, and when the services are performed. The payer, or the client, has only the right to control the results of the work. This means that customers can control the delivery that is made for them, but not the schedule that is made for them.
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If you are an independent contractor, you are considered self-employed and must pay self-employment tax, in addition to other forms of tax, depending on your business structure.
There are several ways to establish your business as an independent contractor. The two most common structures include:
Independent contractors and full-time employees share some basic similarities in the types of taxes they pay. But there are differences in the specific types of taxes, filing taxes, paying taxes and tax exemptions available.
As a self-employed person, you are eligible to “deduct” business expenses – meaning you can deduct certain costs of running your business from your taxable income. This effectively reduces the income you pay tax on at the end of the year. You may want to work with an accountant to make sure you understand all the tax write-offs available to you. General tax deductible business expenses include:
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Whether you work as a sole proprietor or an LLC, there are two main ways for self-employed people to file their taxes: paying monthly tax payments and filing annual tax returns.
If you expect to owe more than $1,000 in annual taxes as an independent contractor, the IRS requires you to pay taxes approximately every quarter (including business tax and income tax) or pay an underpayment penalty during tax season (fees vary depending on the amount owed , due dates and current interest rates for underpayments, published by the IRS quarterly). You can use Form 1040-ES to calculate and pay estimated taxes to the state and federal governments, based on your adjusted gross income.
The deadline for paying estimates is usually April 15, June 15, September 15 and January 15, except for days that fall on weekends or federal holidays (in this case, the deadline is pushed to the next business day).
If you earn at least $400 in net income as an independent contractor, the IRS requires you to file an annual tax return. Even if you make less than $400, you still need to file a tax return; check back to see if you meet any of the requirements on IRS Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR (for those born before January 2, 1957). To file your annual return, use Schedule C to report your business income and expenses. You must also file a Schedule SE (Form 1040) to report self-employment taxes.
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Your taxable income—the amount used to determine how much you owe in income tax—as a self-employed person is based on the income you earn from your services, minus tax credits and deductions.
Estimated taxes for independent contractors include income tax and self-employment tax, which are calculated separately. In 2022, the employment tax rate is 15.3% of your net employment income (your income minus business expenses). Federal and state income tax rates differ based on the tax brackets included in your taxable income. Note that some states do not charge income tax, while some cities assess income tax above the state income tax.
Each quarter, estimate your net employment income and taxable income. You can set aside 15.3% of your income for employment taxes and then work with an accountant, create a free online account with the IRS or use third-party tax software to determine the amount of income tax you should pay based on you. brackets.
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Small Business And Self Employed Taxes: Everything You Need To Know
Try it free for 3 days, no credit card required. By entering your email, you agree to receive marketing emails from. This gives you the freedom to create your own schedule and shape your career path. That can be overwhelming and one of the reasons you chose to build your business in the first place.
But unlike full-time employees, whose taxes are automatically withheld from their paychecks, it’s your job as a 1099 employee to deduct your taxes from your earnings.
Fortunately, you don’t pay taxes on every dollar you earn. As a self-employed contractor, you have a 1099 form and pay taxes on the amount you earn minus the expenses of running your business.
You can claim many deductions when you file your taxes on tax day. Your independent contractor’s 1099 deduction reduces the amount you pay in taxes as an employed contractor.
How Do I Avoid Taxes As An Independent Contractor?
“Not tracking business expenses properly is one of the biggest mistakes a freelancer can make,” says Matthieu Silberstein, VP at Lili, a banking app designed for freelancers. “You can save hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars by separating and eliminating the purchases you make for your business.”
Both will lower your tax bill, but the tax credit is slightly better because it’s a dollar-for-dollar reduction.
As an independent contractor, unless you have set up your business as an LLC or corporation, you will file your taxes as a sole proprietor. This means that you will report your business profits and losses on your personal tax return, filing an IRS Schedule C form.
Note: The advice in this article should not replace the advice of a tax professional. Businesses and tax needs are different, and you should discuss all tax issues with a qualified and licensed professional.
How Much Should I Save For Taxes?
Do you use your home office space only for work, and is it your main place of business? If so, there are several options for calculating the independent contractor tax deduction in this category.
There are direct costs to consider, such as renovations and paint jobs, and indirect costs, such as insurance, utilities and home improvements. Homeowners can also deduct a portion of their property taxes and mortgage interest.
So, how much can you write for your home office? The simplest calculation is the “abbreviated method”, which calculates using square footage instead of the “regular method”, which asks for the percentage of the house used for business purposes. In a simplified way, the figure is $5 per square foot up to 300 square feet, which would be a maximum write-off of $1,500.
Remember to exclude office supplies as part of your home office deduction. This includes computers, printers, work-related software, pens, paper, postage, shipping and more. You can deduct this as long as you use it for business purposes in the year you buy it.
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Education expenses are tax deductible. For example, webinars, virtual conferences, business-related books and subscriptions to professional publications all qualify as potential deductions when you file your taxes.
As an independent contractor, you may purchase real estate and equipment for your business. Over time, the item loses its value. For example, the printer you bought three years ago cost less than when you bought it. That’s called shrinkage.
According to the IRS, if the business purchase will last more than a year, you can write off the depreciation on your tax return. Taxpayers can also deduct property improvements used for your business.
If you spend time moving from job to job or making deliveries, sometimes your vehicle can feel like your office. Fortunately, car and mileage expenses can be one of the biggest tax deductions for entrepreneurs.
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The IRS standard mileage rate for tax deductions is 56 cents per mile. The rules for calculating rates are updated every tax year, so it’s a good idea to stay up-to-date.
Toll and parking fees are also deductible. For a full meeting or project, this can add significant costs