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Tax Guide for the Self-Employed


You’ve just stepped into the world of entrepreneurship. Whether you opened your own online boutique, began freelancing your graphic design skills, or drove for a ride-share company, you have a variety of tax implications to consider – and some of them can slim down your tax bill.

Before learning about the ins and outs of filing taxes as a self-employed individual, know that you don’t need to worry about remembering all of this come tax time. TurboTax Live Self-Employed tax experts are available via one-way-video with unlimited tax advice for your personal and business income and expenses, and can help you get industry-specific tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for. 

Home Offices

Working from the comfort of your own home can help you maximize your tax write-offs. If you regularly and exclusively use a home office specifically for your business, you can claim the home office deduction related to that space.

Expenses that may be deducted as part of the home office deduction include a portion of home-related expenses like real estate taxes, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and insurance, based on the square footage of your home office space. You can also deduct the entire cost of repairs and painting needed for your home office.

Part Time Hires

Are your kids out on holiday or a school break? Hire them! Sole proprietors who hire their kids to run deliveries, clean the office, answer phones, or enter data can deduct those wages on Schedule C, as long as the compensation is reasonable for the type of work performed. Wages paid to children are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes if they are under 18, and they are not subject to federal unemployment tax if they are under 21. It’s also likely that your child will not owe income taxes on these wages, which lowers your family’s overall tax bill considerably.

Retirement Planning

Save for the future and on your tax bill, all at once! Opening a retirement plan can help lower your taxable income. The most common for self-employed is a Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP). You can put in up to the lesser of 25 percent of your net earnings from self-employment or $66,000 for 2023 up until the extended October 15 tax deadline if you filed an extension and lower your 2023 taxes. Compare that to the $6,500 cap on IRA contributions ($7,500 if 50 and over) for 2023 that have to be made by the April 15 tax deadline.

Mileage is Money

While employees of a regular nine-to-five job cannot deduct the cost of driving to and from work, you certainly can if you’re self-employed and driving to see a client, heading to a meeting, or going to work from another location.

You can claim 65.5 cents per mile for business miles driven in 2023, plus the cost of parking and any tolls you paid. Be sure to track your business mileage so that you have substantiation for your mileage deduction.

Business Trips

Tip for the traveling pros: If you’re flying to another U.S. city primarily for business, you can deduct 100 percent of the travel costs. Remember that while you are traveling, you can also expense your hotel or lodging and your meals, though this can only be deducted for the days you’re spending on business.

No matter what moves you made last year, TurboTax will make them count on your taxes. Whether you want to do your taxes yourself or have a TurboTax expert file for you, we’ll make sure you get every dollar you deserve and your biggest possible refund – guaranteed. 

You can also use QuickBooks Self-Employed to track your income, expenses and mileage, and you can capture receipts year-round and then transfer your business information to your TurboTax Self-Employed tax return, making tax-time a breeze.

Lisa Greene-Lewis
Lisa Greene-Lewis

Lisa has over 20 years of experience in tax preparation. Her success is attributed to being able to interpret tax laws and help clients better understand them. She has held positions as a public auditor, controller, and operations manager. Lisa has appeared on the Steve Harvey Show, the Ellen Show, and major news broadcast to break down tax laws and help taxpayers understand what tax laws mean to them. For Lisa, getting timely and accurate information out to taxpayers to help them keep more of their money is paramount. More from Lisa Greene-Lewis

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