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Self-Employed? IRS Says You Should Read This

Here are six things you should know!

There are many benefits that come from being your own boss. If you work for yourself, as an independent contractor, or you carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor, you are generally considered to be self-employed.

Here are six key points the IRS would like you to know about self-employment and self- employment taxes:

1. Self-employment can include work in addition to your regular full-time business activities, such as part-time work you do at home or in addition to your regular job.

2. If you are self-employed you generally have to pay self-employment tax as well as income tax. Self-employment tax is a Social Security and Medicare tax primarily for individuals who work for themselves. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most wage earners. You figure self-employment  tax using a Form 1040 Schedule SE. Also, you can deduct half of your self-employment tax in figuring your adjusted gross income.

3. You file an IRS Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, or C-EZ, Net Profit from Business, with your Form 1040.

4. If you are self-employed you may have to make estimated tax payments.  This applies even if you also have a full-time or part-time job and your employer withholds taxes from your wages. Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding. If you fail to make quarterly payments you may be penalized for underpayment at the end of the tax year.

5. You can deduct the costs of running your business. These costs are known as business expenses. These are costs you do not have to capitalize or include in the cost of goods sold but can deduct in the current year.

6. To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your field of business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.

For more information see the Self-employment Tax Center, IRS Publication 334, Tax Guide for Small Business, IRS Publication 535, Business Expenses and Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, available at www.irs.gov or by calling the IRS forms and publications order line at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Online Tax Center Offers Tools and Resources for Small Businesses and Self-Employed

If you're a small business or a self-employed individual who needs answers to tax questions, educational materials or tools to help you run your business, check out the IRS's Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center at www.irs.gov/smallbiz.

This one-stop shop offers extensive resources and online tools to help small businesses and self-employed persons by providing resources such as:. 

  •          Small business forms and publications
  •          Online applications for an Employer Identification Number
  •          Employment tax information – federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes, FUTA and self-employment tax
  •          Tax-related news that could affect your business
  •          Small business educational events
  •          IRS videos for small businesses
  •          A-Z Index for Business, a fast way to find information

The site provides important federal tax information for all stages of owning a business, whether you’re starting, operating or closing a business. 

Other resources available on the IRS website include:

The IRS Video Portal: 

Tax questions?  Learn about tax topics through video and audio presentations on the IRS Video Portal.  The video portal contains archived video of live panel discussions and audio from national phone forums, as well as other webinars and video clips.

IRS Audits Video Series:

"Your Guide to an IRS Audit” takes the viewer through the steps of an audit from notification to closing. The video series is composed of scenarios that demonstrate the stages of each type of audit: correspondence, office and field. The scenarios address issues that are common to audits of small businesses.

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