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What are My Self-Employed Tax Obligations?

As a self-employed individual, generally you are required to file an annual return and pay estimated tax quarterly.

Self-employed individuals generally must pay self-employment tax (SE tax) as well as income tax. SE 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. In general, anytime the wording “self-employment tax” is used, it only refers to Social Security and Medicare taxes and not any other tax (like income tax).

Before you can determine if you are subject to self-employment tax and income tax, you must figure your net profit or net loss from your business. You do this by subtracting your business expenses from your business income. If your expenses are less than your income, the difference is net profit and becomes part of your income on page 1 of Form 1040. If your expenses are more than your income, the difference is a net loss. You usually can deduct your loss from gross income on page 1 of Form 1040. But in some situations your loss is limited. See Pub. 334, Tax Guide for Small Business (For Individuals Who Use Schedule C or C-EZ) for more information.

You have to file an income tax return if your net earnings from self-employment were $400 or more. If your net earnings from self-employment were less than $400, you still have to file an income tax return if you meet any other filing requirement listed in the Form 1040 instructions (PDF).




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153 Responses to Click to Tell Us Your Experience At Your Local Tax Office

  1. Because the IRS processes the first return it receives, if another person claims your dependent first, the IRS will reject your return. The IRS won’t tell you who claimed your dependent. But if you don’t suspect anyone who could have claimed the dependent, your dependent may be a victim of tax identity theft. You’ll need to take some steps to protect your right to claim the dependent and your refund if you don’t think that the other person was eligible to claim your dependent. First, double check that you meet all of the requirements to claim the dependent.

    The IRS may delay your refund while the IRS looks into the issue, but you should still receive your refund. File a paper return. Note that when you file a paper return, it can take six to eight weeks for the IRS to process. This includes things like birth certificates and proof of identity, but also documents that show that your dependent lived with you at the same address for more than half of the year. This doesn’t mean that you can’t correct the situation. Don’t panic. The most important thing to remember is to prove with proper documentation that you are entitled to claim the dependent. Document your case as the IRS rules for claiming a dependent can get complicated.

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Taxoffices.org is a private website not a government website. If you have questions on your taxes it is always best to consult with a certified tax accountant in your state. The Tax Relief Helpline is NOT A State Government or IRS service and is not affiliated with taxoffices.org.