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Revenue Tax Fundamentals for Gig Employees

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by Tim Parker

Final Up to date Thursday, February 18, 2021

Freelancers and gig employees are required to pay revenue taxes on their earnings. This is what’s taxable and easy methods to report and pay revenue taxes in your gig or freelance earnings.

Income Tax Basics For Freelancers
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Working gigs—working as a freelancer or unbiased contractor—is the epitome of the American Dream for some. They’re their very own boss and make greater than they might working for another person’s enterprise. For others, gig work is a necessity. It’s a solution to make cash as a result of the job they used to have doesn’t exist anymore, or it’s a solution to complement their wages from a day job to allow them to make ends meet.

It doesn’t matter what your purpose for venturing into the gig financial system, that you must notice the revenue you make is taxable and take steps to maintain your gig financial system earnings from turning right into a monetary legal responsibility.

The Details: Freelancing Statistics

In keeping with Statista, the variety of freelancers in the USA grew from 59.7 million in 2018 to 62.2 million in 2019. Moreover, the projections point out that by 2027 nearly all of the workforce will likely be freelancing.

Freelance revenue is a major supply of earnings, too. A 2019 study carried out by Upwork and Freelancers Union discovered that freelancers now contribute practically $1 trillion in revenue to the US financial system. That’s practically 5% of the US GDP.

Gig and freelance alternatives exist in industries as numerous as laptop programming and meals supply companies. Writers, editors, consultants, mission managers, enterprise brokers, and Uber drivers are simply the tip of the freelance iceberg. However whether or not you’re employed full-time or solely occasionally as a gig employee or freelancer, that you must take note of the revenue taxes that will likely be due in your revenue.

What Taxes Do You Owe on Freelance or Gig Revenue?

As a freelancer, it’s a must to pay taxes simply as you’ll if you happen to labored for a bigger firm however with one vital caveat. You’re liable for the entire revenue, social safety, and Medicare taxes.

What chances are you’ll not know is that when you find yourself an worker, your employer pays half of your complete Social Safety and Medicare taxes. Thus, as an worker of another person’s enterprise, you paid 6.2% of your wage (as much as the taxable most) for Social Safety tax, and a 1.45% Medicare tax, (mixed complete, 7.65%.)  Your employer was required to match these funds. Thus, your complete contribution for Social Safety and Medicare (your cost plus the employer’s) was 15.3%. And, after all, you additionally had cash withheld out of your paycheck for revenue taxes calculated based mostly on the data you offered your employer on a W-4 kind. As a freelancer, it’s a must to pay a self-employment tax which is equal to each elements of the Social Safety and Medicare taxes. For 2019, the primary $132,900 of your mixed wages, ideas, and web earnings is topic to self-employment tax. The quantity will increase to $137,700 for 2020.

Figuring out the overall quantity of revenue tax, Social Safety, and Medicare taxes you may owe for the 12 months is not simple. It’s important to have in mind your revenue, your tax bracket, deductions, and credit. If your online business is comparatively secure, merely take a look at final 12 months’s tax return and take numbers from there. Or, a really tough estimate is to take 35% of each greenback you make, put it in a separate account and use it to pay taxes.

State and Native Taxes on Freelance Revenue

Along with Federal revenue taxes, Social Safety, and Medicare, chances are you’ll be required to pay state or metropolis revenue taxes as properly. Do not forget to calculate their price for the 12 months, too.

Tip: When figuring out the charges you cost your prospects, do not forget about these further taxes you may owe. Too many freelancers don’t cost sufficient for his or her companies as a result of they don’t take taxes under consideration.

Estimated Taxes

The IRS would not need you to carry onto the cash you owe them till tax time. Typically, if you’ll owe greater than $1,000 in taxes on the finish of the 12 months, it’s a must to make quarterly estimated tax payments. For those who file as a company, your threshold is $500 however most freelancers ought to take note of the $1,000 quantity. 

How To Decide and Pay Estimated Taxes

For those who owe estimated taxes, how are you aware how a lot to pay? For those who use tax preparation software program like TurboTax, it’s going to let you know what it believes your estimated taxes will likely be based mostly in your earlier 12 months’s tax return. The IRS additionally has forms and worksheets that can assist you. Purpose for 100% of your earlier 12 months’s taxes or 110% if you’ll earn greater than $150,000.

Estimated taxes are due quarterly—April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15 of the next 12 months. There are exceptions to those dates however you’ll nearly definitely have an accountant advising you of these dates if that was the case. Make sure you pay your estimated taxes on time. For those who do not, the IRS will cost you a penalty.

For those who don’t need to pay your taxes in 4 quarterly installments, there are a couple of different methods. First, if you happen to obtain a refund in your taxes, apply it to your estimated taxes. Second, if you happen to or your partner are employed by different corporations, you may ask your employer to withhold extra taxes out of your paycheck every week. (You may have to file a brand new W4 and fill in line 6 to point the extra quantity you need to be withheld.) To give you the quantity to withhold, divide your estimated tax by the variety of paychecks you’ll obtain and have them with out that quantity. For instance, if you happen to plan to have a tax legal responsibility of $7,000 however you receives a commission from an employer as soon as monthly, have them withhold an additional $583.34 from every paycheck.

Be taught extra about freelance work and estimated taxes on the IRS website.

Alternate Strategy: Let Your Day Job Deduct Extra Taxes

Gig financial system employees who’ve one other job the place their employer withholds taxes from their paycheck can fill out and submit a brand new Kind W-4. The worker does this to request that the opposite employer withholds extra taxes from their paycheck. This extra withholding will help cowl the taxes owed from their gig financial system work. For extra info on gig employee revenue taxes go to the IRS Gig Economy Tax Center.


The wonderful thing about proudly owning a enterprise is that your expenses are deductible. Almost each buy you make that instantly goes to the operation of your online business will cut back your taxable revenue. Every thing from workplace provides to mileage, to the use of a home office, will land you deductions and cut back your tax burden. Beware—you don’t need to exaggerate or take deductions you may’t show. For those who’re audited, the IRS will ask for receipts and substantiation of all your deductions. Be taught extra here.


First, let’s watch out with that phrase. An worker is any individual in your payroll. It’s important to withhold taxes and even pay a part of their tax burden. Bear in mind the self-employment tax above? It’s important to pay it. When potential, freelancers choose to rent contractors (different freelancers) as a result of the employer doesn’t have to fret in regards to the taxes. All of it falls on the contractor.

You don’t get to decide on. How you utilize that particular person determines if they’re a contractor or employee. For instance, do you management what the employee does and the way they carry out their job? If the reply is sure, they’re an worker of your organization. Earlier than hiring assist examine this on the IRS website.

For those who rent a contractor, they usually make greater than $600 per 12 months, it’s a must to file kind 1099 reporting their wages. In the event that they’re an worker, you file a W-2 kind.

Backside Line

If all of this appears a little bit overwhelming, you most likely want an accountant. In actual fact, if your online business is making properly into the five-figures, you want an accountant anyway. Articles like these are nice for basic training however solely an accountant can take a look at the specifics of your online business and set you up for fulfillment.

© 2020 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Might not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed with out written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.

In regards to the Creator

Tim Parker is the Founder and President of The Web Group, a full service IT agency specializing in safety and compliance based mostly in Tampa, Florida. Within the little spare time he has, Tim enjoys writing monetary articles for main web sites specializing in entrepreneurship, investing, private finance, and retirement.


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