When you’re self-employed, all your income goes straight into your own bank account. It doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for paying taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Taxes apply to you, just like any other member of the workforce – and if you don’t play by the tax rules, the IRS could assign stiff penalties that could destroy your business.

How Does the IRS Define Self-Employment?

Whether you define yourself as a freelancer, a sole proprietor, a one-person corporation owner or another kind of worker, you’re one of the 15 million Americans who is self-employed. Maybe you don’t have a brick-and-mortar storefront or business cards or even an official business name – but it doesn’t matter. If you are accepting payment for services rendered, it’s a business according to the IRS. Because no employer is withholding taxes on your behalf, you’ll owe taxes to the IRS and should file as self-employed.

What Taxes Do Self-Employed Workers Pay?

You’ll owe both income tax and self-employed, or SE, tax. The SE tax is essentially the same thing as the tax any other worker would pay for Social Security and Medicare.

How Do I Determine How Much I Owe?

Start by figuring your net profit/loss during the tax year, which is your business income minus business expenses. If it’s more than $400, you’ll owe money to the IRS – but even if it’s under $400 or a net loss, you may need to file because you meet other requirements set by the IRS.

How Do I Pay What I Owe?

Use IRS tax Form 1040 to report your earnings, with Schedule SE for the self-employed. Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ will help you figure what you owe for Medicare and Social Security. Pay the IRS the total due, and keep in mind that they require any business that estimates it will owe more than $1,000 annually to make estimated tax payments every quarter using Form 1040 ES each time.

What About Credits and Deductions?

There are many credits and deductions that apply to self-employed workers, just like any other business. Take advantage of credits like the health coverage credit and the earned-income credit. Many expenses of running a business can also be deducted, as long as the IRS defines them as “necessary and ordinary” costs, like office supplies and using your vehicle for business.

What if I’ve Fallen Behind on Taxes?
If you owe back taxes, penalties will accrue and be applied retroactively when they realize you have delinquent unpaid taxes. This means you should start paying taxes immediately, even if you have never done so before. Otherwise the penalties will grow steeper and steeper. Call us for help and we can assist in laying out your options and helping you set up a payment plan.

Dutton Legal Group – Indiana’s Tax Resolution Law Firm

The Dutton Legal Group helps the people and businesses of Indiana navigate ever-changing State and Federal tax codes. Our goal as experienced tax attorneys is to assist you in finding an immediate, cost-effective answer to your tax challenges. We provide a variety of tax services from balance resolution and return preparation to wage garnishment relief and audit assistance. Make Dutton Legal Group your next call at 1-800-334-0255 or send an email to request a free consultation. Trustworthy and affordable, for over 15 years.