Smart tax tips for freelancers and gig workers | Blog | Haven Life


Freelancing and taking part within the gig financial system is a incredible approach to herald somewhat additional enjoyable cash, to speed up debt funds, and that will help you save for an enormous monetary objective. Maybe you’ve already began a facet hustle within the hopes of being your individual boss someday. In both case, considering of your self like a enterprise is extra advantageous come tax time.

With that in thoughts, listed below are some tax issues for the gig financial system in addition to some tax planning strikes to make earlier than the tip of the 12 months.

Know the character of your enterprise

First, you’ll wish to consider whether or not driving for Uber, promoting important oils, or freelancing is a enterprise or pastime since that impacts how your revenue is taxed and whether or not you possibly can deduct any losses. Spoiler alert: it’s higher to be a enterprise as a result of you possibly can offset revenue with deductible enterprise bills.  Sadly, the flexibility to deduct pastime bills has been eradicated since these have been reported below the now-defunct miscellaneous itemized deductions.

Within the eyes of the IRS, an exercise may very well be a enterprise or only a pastime relying on the way you deal with it. For instance, the IRS “presumes that an exercise is carried on for revenue (i.e., it’s a enterprise) if it makes a revenue throughout at the least three of the final 5 tax years, together with the present 12 months.”

In the event you’re uncertain how one can categorize your enterprise, a CPA or tax preparer might be able to make it easier to. In case your facet hustle is clearly a enterprise, then taking these steps now can reduce stress when April rolls round.

Decrease your taxable revenue

In 2018, it could be extra essential than ever to guard your facet gig’s internet revenue earlier than the tip of the 12 months. The Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 (TCJA) created a brand new Certified Enterprise Revenue (QBI) deduction for pass-through entities (i.e., partnerships, S Companies, and sole proprietorships). These companies are usually allowed a deduction equal to the lesser of:

  • 20% of QBI (not together with internet capital positive aspects) or
  • 50% of W-2 wages paid by the partnership, S company, or sole proprietorship.

This deduction relies in your mixed taxable revenue and whether or not the enterprise is a “specified service commerce or enterprise.” The complete 20% of QBI deduction applies to single people who earn $157,500 or much less or married submitting collectively incomes $315,000 or much less. As soon as you’re over the edge, the deduction could also be restricted because it takes under consideration wages paid by the enterprise, certified property, and whether or not you use a specified service-based enterprise (i.e. lawyer, accountant, docs, and so forth.).

Work along with your CPA now to calculate whether or not your enterprise is eligible for the deduction and if there’s any solution to decrease your taxable revenue to under the edge, with a view to reap the benefits of the total 20% deduction. Take into accout, this deduction solely impacts your revenue tax calculation, and 100% of QBI for sole proprietors and partnerships continues to be topic to self-employment taxes.

Spend if you could

With regards to tax planning, many enterprise homeowners suppose solely about rising year-end enterprise spending to decrease their taxable revenue. Whereas some purchases like a brand new laptop computer or convention tickets could also be actually wanted to maneuver your enterprise ahead, it’s not a greenback for greenback profit in your ending tax invoice. In the event you’re within the 24% tax bracket, spending $100 will solely prevent $24 in taxes. So is it higher to spend the online $76? Or maintain $76 in your pocket?

Contribute to retirement accounts

Then again, contributing to a small enterprise retirement account or HSA is a incredible solution to decrease taxable revenue and save for the long run. Contributing to a standard IRA is a good place to begin. A Roth IRA can also be an excellent choice, however contributions are made with after-tax , so that you gained’t save on taxes immediately.

When you have greater than $5,500 to avoid wasting and have self-employment revenue, seek the advice of with a monetary advisor about whether or not opening a SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or Solo 401(okay) is the most effective match for you.

Enhance your expertise

Spending on skilled growth may additionally be one other nice solution to decrease your taxable revenue whereas enhancing your enterprise expertise.

Prep now for tax time

Moderately than scrambling within the spring, take a number of hours proper now to compensate for your bookkeeping. Figuring out your enterprise’s internet revenue or loss will make it easier to decide whether or not you must pay any estimated taxes or presumably change your revenue tax withholdings at your day job. In the event you don’t have a separate enterprise account, comb via your financial institution and bank card statements and tally up your enterprise revenue and bills — and contemplate opening a separate checking account and bank card unique to your enterprise for subsequent 12 months.

Observe your mileage

In the event you drive for work, be sure you pull collectively a mileage log or use an app like MileIQ. As an Uber or Lyft driver, their app will monitor a few of your enterprise miles, however there are further ones like driving to a busy space within the hopes of selecting up a passenger earlier than logging into the ridesharing app. With a regular mileage fee of 54.5 cents per enterprise mile in 2018, each little bit helps!

Even when your facet job isn’t driving, your work-related miles may very well be tax-deductible.

Dwelling workplace

When you have a devoted dwelling workplace area, you’ll be eligible for the house workplace tax deduction. There are two methods to calculate the house workplace deduction:

  • The simplified methodology is usually calculated by taking the realm of your property used for a professional enterprise use and multiplying by $5. The realm you employ to determine your deduction is restricted to 300 sq. ft. So, the utmost you possibly can deduct is $1,500.
  • Or you possibly can whole your precise bills (lease, mortgage curiosity, repairs, property taxes, and so forth.)  and multiply these by the proportion of your property dedicated to enterprise use.

Dwelling-based enterprise bills

There are different bills, like your cellphone or dwelling web, which have a cut up enterprise and private use. Tally up your whole bills after which calculate the portion that really pertains to your enterprise. For instance, in case you use your property web 25% of the time as a contract author, 25% of your web invoice may very well be eligible as a deductible enterprise expense.

Contemplate hiring a professional

If all of this sounds somewhat overwhelming, now could be the right time to begin interviewing CPAs and tax preparers. Issues get busy for them beginning in January, so they could not have the time or capability to speak to you about changing into a brand new consumer in case you wait too lengthy. And in case you haven’t touched your bookkeeping since final 12 months, I like to recommend discovering an accountant or bookkeeper to assist set up your enterprise funds. Doing this now will stop some complications whereas additionally serving to to maximise your enterprise deductions.

Cathy Derus is the founding father of Brightwater Accounting. As a CPA and monetary planner, she helps people and enterprise homeowners remove stress and fear over taxes, enterprise funds, and extra. Anybody can throw numbers into tax software program. She’s right here that will help you make sense of these numbers and create a greater monetary technique for your enterprise and life. Her experience has been featured in Entrepreneur, CNBC, US Information & World Report, The Washington Put up, Actual Easy, and Cosmopolitan.

Haven Life Insurance coverage Company doesn’t present tax, authorized or accounting recommendation. This materials has been ready for informational functions solely, and isn’t supposed to offer, and shouldn’t be relied on for, tax, authorized, or accounting recommendation. You need to seek the advice of your individual tax, authorized, and accounting advisors earlier than participating in any transaction.

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