How To File Taxes As An Unbiased Contractor


So, how do you file taxes as an impartial contractor? Issues are a bit of trickier than they’re for normal staff.

Should you’re new to the method, utilizing paid tax software program and even hiring a tax skilled could be useful. Whereas these choices could be costly, they rely as a tax write-off for your enterprise.

When submitting taxes as a freelancer, you’ll wish to take into consideration three foremost issues:

  • Particular self-employment tax varieties
  • Tax write-offs
  • Quarterly funds and deadlines

Self-employment tax varieties you’ll obtain

Full-time staff can count on to obtain a W-2 from their employer at first of tax season, however what about impartial contractors? Self-employed people typically obtain 1099 varieties.

There are all types of 1099 varieties – for instance, Chime members obtain a 1099-INT kind for curiosity earned from our high-yield financial savings account.

However by way of revenue as an impartial contractor, you’ll have to navigate two key varieties:


Unbiased contractors ought to count on to obtain a 1099-NEC (nonemployee compensation) from any enterprise or consumer that paid them $600 or extra in the course of the tax 12 months.

Freelancers with a number of purchasers will obtain a number of 1099-NECs. Collectively, these signify a contractor’s earnings in the course of the tax 12 months.

Bear in mind when? Unbiased contractors who’ve been within the biz for some time could keep in mind the 1099-MISC. Whereas this kind remains to be in use, the IRS not makes use of it for self-employment revenue as of the 2020 tax 12 months.


Most impartial contractors received’t get a 1099-Okay for the 2022 tax 12 months. To obtain one, it’s good to have earned greater than $20,000 by way of 200+ enterprise transactions on a single app or platform, similar to Venmo or PayPal.

However as a result of latest modifications to tax regulation, impartial contractors ought to count on to get 1099-Ks extra simply in future tax years.

The IRS remains to be fine-tuning implementation, however down the highway, freelancers who make simply $600 by way of a single platform – assume Uber, Etsy, or Fb Market – will get a 1099-Okay for that revenue.4

Bear in mind: Even when you don’t qualify for a 1099-Okay in 2022, you continue to need to report that revenue to the IRS!

Self-employment tax varieties for submitting

When you obtain all of your 1099s (and some other paperwork), you’ll have to make the most of particular tax varieties to file your taxes. Should you’re utilizing on-line tax software program, it ought to discover these varieties for you.

It’s essential to report self-employment revenue on Schedule C on Kind 1040. You’ll additionally use Schedule SE to calculate self-employment taxes – so long as you made $400 or extra in internet revenue.

Be aware: These varieties are for sole proprietors or single-member LLCs. Should you run a enterprise with staff, you’ll use totally different varieties.

Unbiased contractor tax deductions

As a result of self-employment taxes are inherently larger, it’s necessary to reap the benefits of all of the tax credit and tax deductions accessible to you as an impartial contractor.

What you possibly can deduct depends upon how you use your enterprise.

For instance, individuals who work in meals supply or drive to fulfill purchasers would possibly have the ability to deduct mileage, plus precise automobile bills (insurance coverage, fuel, tolls, parking charges, upkeep, and many others.). However when you’re a contract author who by no means leaves your private home to conduct enterprise, your automobile isn’t honest sport.

Listed below are a number of self-employment tax deductions to contemplate:

  • House workplace: Should you work from a house workplace, you possibly can deduct a portion of your mortgage or lease, utilities, repairs and upkeep, and different dwelling possession/rental charges.
  • Automotive: Should you use your automobile for work, you could possibly deduct sure bills – and shave cash off your taxable revenue for each mile you drive.
  • Persevering with schooling: In some instances, you possibly can deduct the price of persevering with schooling if it advances your profession. Study extra about academic tax credit and deductions.
  • Medical health insurance: And not using a full-time job, you doubtless bought your personal medical health insurance plan for you and your loved ones. These prices could also be deductible – however when you’re enrolled in a partner’s plan (or are eligible to), you possibly can’t deduct these prices.
  • Cellphone and web: When you’ve got a devoted enterprise telephone or web plan, that’s a enterprise expense that you could deduct come tax season.
  • Retirement contributions: When you could not have a conventional 401(okay) like full-time staff, impartial contractors can fund solo 401(okay) plans – and contributions are tax deductible.
  • Different enterprise bills: The road of labor you’re in will have an effect on your bills. Should you pay for a web site, journey for work, or want costly tools, they could be honest sport for a deduction. Different prices might embrace promoting, memberships, workplace provides, and enterprise insurance coverage premiums.

It’s on you because the taxpayer to ensure you’re solely claiming deductions you qualify for. Should you fudge the numbers and even by chance declare one thing you shouldn’t, you can be audited.

What’s a very powerful factor to recollect as an impartial contractor? Save your receipts! Whereas it’s doable to make use of on-line financial institution statements to trace your bills, bodily receipts (or scanned copies) are useful if it’s good to show to the IRS you made a purchase order that you simply deducted.

Certified enterprise revenue deduction

A more recent (and large!) deduction that impartial contractors could possibly take – even with out itemizing – is the certified enterprise revenue (QBI) deduction. If eligible, freelancers can deduct 20% of their revenue, dramatically decreasing how a lot cash they’re paying taxes on.

There’s lots of nice print with this deduction, so it’s a good suggestion to analysis it totally on the IRS web site or work with a tax preparer to see when you qualify.

Self-employment tax deduction

This one’s a little bit of a head-scratcher at first, however it can lead to a giant deduction for impartial contractors: The self-employment tax deduction permits you to deduct a portion of your self-employment tax out of your adjusted gross revenue.

That’s proper – when calculating your taxes, you possibly can deduct among the taxes you’ll pay.

Right here’s the way it works: You’ll deduct the employer-equivalent portion of your self-employment taxes. Bear in mind, the self-employment tax charge is 15.3%, and the employer-equivalent portion is half, or 7.65%.

Which means 7.65% of your adjusted gross revenue is tax deductible as an impartial contractor. If the maths will get complicated, make the most of on-line tax preparation software program or knowledgeable accountant.

How quarterly taxes work

Let’s recap: Unbiased contractors need to pay extra taxes than common staff, however many tax deductions can be found that may assist scale back your tax legal responsibility. Straightforward sufficient!

Sadly, there’s one other massive distinction whenever you’re submitting taxes as an impartial contractor: You’ve bought to estimate your taxes for the upcoming 12 months and make quarterly funds.

Why? Employers mechanically take out estimated taxes from staff’ paychecks and pay the federal government all year long. At tax time, these staff file to find out in the event that they overpaid (and are owed a refund) or underpaid (and owe the federal government extra money).

Unbiased contractors don’t get common paychecks to withhold taxes from – however Uncle Sam nonetheless needs his cash. So freelancers should estimate their revenue for the upcoming 12 months and pay taxes primarily based on these estimates all year long.

The IRS offers varieties for estimating taxes, and you’ll modify the quantity as vital all year long to match what you’re truly incomes.

To keep away from paying penalties for underpayment, it’s good to have paid at the very least 90% of what you owe by way of your quarterly funds – or 100% of what you owed the earlier tax 12 months.

Should you’re overwhelmed by estimating your taxes and paying every quarter, work with knowledgeable tax preparer.

Unbiased contractor tax deadlines

As a result of impartial contractors need to pay taxes quarterly, they’ve bought further tax deadlines to bear in mind. Normally, these deadlines are:

  • April 15: Earlier 12 months’s taxes due and first quarter estimated taxes for present 12 months
  • June 15: Second quarter estimated taxes due
  • September 15: Third quarter estimated taxes due
  • January 15: Fourth quarter estimated taxes due

Whereas the deadline for first quarter estimates will range primarily based on the tax deadline in April, the opposite deadlines at all times fall on the fifteenth of their respective months.


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