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Top Tax Tips for the Self-Employed

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With less than two weeks to go in tax season, the IRS has unveiled six key points about self-employment and self-employment taxes:

  • Self-employment income can include pay for part-time work done out of the home, and can include income earned in addition to a regular job.
  • Self-employed individuals file a Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, or Schedule C-EZ, Net Profit from Business, with their 1040.
  • If you are self-employed, you generally have to pay self-employment tax as well as income tax. Self-employment tax includes Social Security and Medicare taxes. You figure this tax using Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax.
  • If you are self-employed you may have to make estimated tax payments. People typically make estimated tax payments to pay taxes on income that is not subject to withholding. If you do not make estimated tax payments, you may have to pay a penalty when you file your income tax return. The underpayment of estimated tax penalty applies if you do not pay enough taxes during the year.
  • When you file your tax return, you can deduct some business expenses for the costs you paid to run your trade or business. You can deduct most business expenses in full, but some costs must be “capitalized,” which means you can deduct a portion of the expense each year over a period of years.
  • You may deduct only the costs that are both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business.

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