Helpful Tax Tips for Bloggers and other Self-Employed

This is a sponsored post written by myself on behalf of e-file.com.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.No one would argue that filing taxes isn’t stressful and painstaking, but e-filing may make it a little easier and less time-consuming. So if you haven’t tried it before, consider it for your next tax season. For years I had a lady do my taxes, and I finally decided to brave up and try to tackle it myself.  I was shocked at how easy it was, not to mention quick and MUCH cheaper than having someone do them for me. 

As a blogger, filing taxes has been much different than when I worked outside the home.  I wasn’t even really aware of how much more complicated self employment tax was until about a year ago, and I’m still learning about it.  If you’re new to blogging or even self employment, here are a few tax tips that I’ve learned both from experience as well as from tax preparers.

  • Save time and money by filing your own taxes.  Most people can file in less than 15 minutes, submit it, and you’re done.  E-file.com is designed to walk you through filing your taxes and they have qualified tax experts ready to help if you run into questions.  I’m cheap so anytime I can teach myself to do something and not pay someone to do it, I’m going to do just that.  E-file is an easy to navigate site, you can take as long as you need to finish by simply pausing your filing process, and they’re more affordable than other tax software sites I’ve seen.  Right now you can save 30% at e-file.com.  If you qualify for a 1040EZ you can do your taxes for FREE!
  • EDUCATE YOURSELF ON SELF EMPLOYMENT TAXES!!! If you aren’t already aware of what these are, I very strongly encourage you to read up on it.  I honestly didn’t know a lot about them until I filed this year.  Basically Self-employment tax is a tax consisting of Social Security and Medicare taxes primarily for individuals who work for themselves. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most wage earners.  There is a lot of information on self employment taxes over here.  For me, the amount deducted for these totaled about 25%.
  • Pay Quarterly: If you’re self employed then you may be required to pay quarterly estimated taxes since you don’t have an employer pulling it out every pay day!  Last year I had every intention of putting at least 15% of my income back just for taxes.  However, I had just become a single income household of 5 and couldn’t pull it. Oh how I wish I had even just a little, because when I filed taxes this year, they deducted over $3,000 from my return.  I still get one, but I definitely would rather have a larger return to set back for emergencies and savings than a smaller one. Oh, and 15% wouldn’t have even covered it, try more like 25%! This year, I’m making sure to not only put some of my income back, but I’ll also be making sure to pay in quarterly using estimated tax payments.  
  • Count All of Your Income:  Under employment type I generally put blogger, but when I count my total income, I count everything from blogging jobs, paid reviews, the value of free products I get for reviews, affiliate payments, gift card payments, reward sites like Mypoints and even apps like Ibotta, Hubpages, and even paid surveys.  If you receive free event tickets the value of those are included in there too!
  • Report ALL of your income even if you didn’t get a W2.  To be honest, I get maybe 4 or 5 W2s from my blogging jobs.  The remainder of my income is a total of all of the other sources that don’t meet the $600 required threshold.  But income is income, and I report it ALL!
  • Learn about all the possible deductibles and expenses and see which ones apply to you to knock off some of those tax costs. Some of the expenses my tax lady informed me I could take in the past are things like website fees, office supplies, portions of my cell phone bill, internet bill,  utilities, my camera….basically anything and everything you have to purchase for the use of work needs to be kept up with.  You can find a great list of these over here.
  • Get and Stay Organized – I’ve learned that it’s extremely helpful to keep spreadsheets to record income and expenses and all that.  I find it much better to update it immediately if you can, especially with hard to track payments like gift cards and mailed checks.  Otherwise you end up digging back through emails and trying to remember payments that came in the mail and that’s just too much!  With physical receipts, keep them yes, but you should make sure to scan them to your computer before they fade.  
  • Most importantly, be sure to know tax laws and abide by them.  Keep receipts for all of your expenses and such so you can show proof if need be.  Claiming ignorance doesn’t work with IRS so keep yourself up to date on tax laws and also keep your documents nice and tidy filed away for at least a few years back to safeguard yourself from any possible audit.

Doing your own taxes doesn’t have to be scary or expensive.  You don’t even have to do it all alone with e-file.com having qualified tax experts available for you. Take advantage of their current special and save even more with this 30% discount and get your return as fast as possible.

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