Independent Contractor Tax Planning Fundamentals

Independent Contractor Tax Planning Fundamentals

One of the most prominent trends in today’s economy is the rise in contract work, also known as “gigs”, “freelancing”, or “1099 work”. Whatever term is used, more and more people are working and supporting themselves with these kinds of jobs. However, many people don’t realize that income earned in these positions is subject to very different tax rules by the IRS than traditional wage income. As a result, there are a number of important items that contractors, new or old, should be aware of. Independent contractor tax needs to be planned out by a trustworthy accountant. 

The Deductibility of Expenses For Independent Contractor Tax

When working as an independent contractor, you incur expenses that may become tax-deductible when used for work purposes. Some deductions that are not included consist of entertainment, groceries, and other items that are not used for work purposes. However, some to ductions such as the home office may be considered. The Home Office deduction is more complex but consist of your workspace and business expenses such as a portion of electricity, Wi-Fi, stationery that you use. Some other deductions maybe your house or insurance plans, phone and Internet bill and selected meals when traveling for business. Independent contractor tax can take these factors into account. 

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If you think you may be paying too much taxes, you can talk to us about strategic tax planning. Fusion CPA can also guide you through the process of choosing the best accounting software for your business.

The Deductibility of Mileage For Independent Contractor Tax

Most expenses are deductible by only by the direct dollar amounts paid. For example, if you pay for $30 in office supplies, you can deduct that same $30 as an expense. However, the IRS allows an additional option for auto expenses. While you can choose to deduct the business-use portion of your gas, auto insurance, auto repairs, and other upkeep costs for your vehicle, you can also choose to instead take a per-business-mile deduction. For 2015, the IRS’s allowable mileage rate is 57.5 cents per business mile. Choosing to deduct mileage requires you to carefully track the dates and purposes of your business mileage. However, this option is generally more beneficial than deducting a business percentage of your actual auto expenses.

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The Self-Employment Tax

Employees have payroll taxes, used to pay for Medicare and Social Security, taken out of their wage checks. However, contractors do not have these payroll taxes taken out. As a result, the IRS assesses the self-employment tax on contractors’ net incomes (the amounts they receive in their business minus their deductible expenses). For 2015, the self-employment tax is 15.3% on up to $118,500 in net income, and 2.9% on any net income beyond that amount. For more information on independent contractor tax, contact us here.

The Need For Estimated Tax Payments

Employers withhold federal and state income taxes from their employees’ paychecks and pay the amounts to the IRs and to the state on those employees’ behalf. As a result, employees typically receive a small refund when they file tax returns. In contrast, contractors have no employer, and thus no one is paying income taxes in on their behalf. As a result, if no taxes are paid before annual tax returns are due, contractors can often end up owing more in taxes than they can pay at once. As a result, the IRS and states recommend that contractors pay in estimates of the income tax that they’ll owe each quarter over the course of the year. The IRS’s estimates are paid in through Form 1040-ES. Each state has a different estimate form, but Georgia’s estimates are paid in on Form 500-ES.

These are only a few of the most general, basic items that contractors should be aware of. In order to get specific, customized advice for your situation, you should contact a tax accountant. Click the button below if there is more on independent contractor tax you’d like to learn about. 


This blog article is not intended to be the rendering of legal, accounting, tax advice or other professional services. Articles are based on current or proposed tax rules at the time they are written and older posts are not updated for tax rule changes. We expressly disclaim all liability in regard to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this blog as well as the use or interpretation of this information. Information provided on this website is not all-inclusive and such information should not be relied upon as being all-inclusive.