Many of these changes are temporary and set to expire in , but others are permanent. A review of the most common self-employed taxes and deductions is necessary to help inform you of necessary changes to your estimated tax payments. This includes freelancers, independent contractors, and small-business owners. The self-employment tax rate is Employers and employees share the self-employment tax. Each pays 7. People that are fully self-employed pay the total themselves. An additional 0. The threshold figures are:. The income thresholds for additional Medicare tax apply not just to self-employment income, but to your combined wages, compensation, and self-employment income. Paying extra taxes to be your own boss is no fun. It is important to note that self-employment tax refers to the Social Security and Medicare taxes, similar to FICA paid by an employer. When a taxpayer takes a deduction of one-half of the self-employment tax, it is only a deduction for the calculation of that taxpayer's income tax. It does not reduce the net earnings from self-employment or reduce the self-employment tax itself. Remember, you're paying the first 7. You are basically on the honor system, but you should be prepared to defend your deduction in the event of an IRS audit. One way to do this is to prepare a diagram of your workspace, with accurate measurements, in case you are required to submit this information to substantiate your deduction, which uses the square footage of your workspace in its calculation. Some of these deductions, such as mortgage interest and home depreciation, apply only to those who own rather than rent their home office space. The standard method requires you to calculate your actual home office expenses and keep detailed records, in the event of an audit. The simplified option lets you multiply an IRS-determined rate by your home office square footage. Regardless of whether you claim the home office deduction, you can deduct the business portion of your phone, fax, and internet expenses. The key is to deduct only the expenses directly related to your business. For example, you could deduct the internet-related costs of running a website for your business. If you have just one phone line, you shouldn't deduct your entire monthly bill, which includes both personal and business use. You can also deduct premiums that you paid to provide coverage for your spouse, your dependents, and your children who were younger than 27 at year-end, even if they aren't dependents on your taxes. A meal is a tax-deductible business expense when you are traveling for business, at a business conference, or entertaining a client. The lunch you eat alone at your desk is not tax-deductible. Additionally, prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, meals and entertainment expenses were considered in unison. For tax years and later, according to the IRS website, "if food or beverages are provided during or at an entertainment event, and the food and beverages were purchased separately from the entertainment or the cost of the food and beverages was stated separately from the cost of the entertainment on one or more bills, invoices, or receipts, you may be able to deduct the separately stated costs as a meal expense. Further, to be considered a business trip, you should have a specific business purpose planned before you leave home and you must actually engage in business activity—such as finding new customers, meeting with clients, or learning new skills directly related to your business—while you are on the road. Keep complete and accurate records and receipts for your business travel expenses and activities, as this deduction often draws scrutiny from the IRS. For example, if your spouse who does not work for you as an employee joins you on a business trip, you can only deduct the portion of lodging and transportation costs that would have been incurred if only you had traveled. Don't forget that the business part of your trip also needs to be planned ahead. When you use your car for business, your expenses for those drives are tax-deductible. Make sure to keep excellent records of the date, mileage, and purpose for each trip, and don't try to claim personal car trips as business car trips. The standard mileage rate is the easiest because it requires minimal record-keeping and calculation. Just write down the business miles you drive and the dates you drive them. Then, multiply your total annual business miles by the standard mileage rate.
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