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Is Self-Employment Income Taxed at Gross or Net?

More seniors than young people are choosing self-employment, according to a 2010 Bloomberg Businessweek article. If self-employment is a new venture for you and you have not previously completed a tax return for a business, procedural questions will arise. Young and old alike must complete the appropriate forms for the Internal Revenue Service and pay taxes on self-employment income. If you keep good records, you can pay tax on net income only by reducing your gross income by the appropriate deductions and exemptions.

Tax Forms

Self-employment requires more tax forms than working for an employer. You are familiar with a W-2 form and Form 1040 for filing taxes with the IRS. Your business will require a Schedule C along with a Form 1040 for calculating federal income taxes. You may receive Form 1099-MISC for work performed for a single business that is $600 or more, so you may have several of these forms. Your income may be from sales, but in any case, you need to maintain income records.

Records

Keep careful records of expenses for running the business so you can use these records and receipts for deductions to decrease your gross income for income tax purposes. Review a Schedule C form to see what kinds of expenses are deductible. Advertising, automobile expenses, office expense and utilities are often significant. Subtracting these items from gross income can save taxes. You establish a profit or loss figure with the completion of Schedule C.

Calculations

After the Schedule C is completed, this profit or loss information goes on Line 12 of Form 1040 for completion of your income tax return. If you make a profit, you will also need to complete Form SE for payment of self-employment taxes. This is your Social Security and Medicare tax, and you may deduct 50 percent of this total on Line 27 of your Form 1040.

Taxation

The adjusted gross income figure will include any wages and salaries, along with interest and other income and your self-employment profit or loss from Schedule C. You will use the adjusted gross income on Form 1040 as the base figure before deductions and exemptions. Claim the deductions and exemptions to which you are entitled to get your net, or taxable, income. Calculate the tax on your net income from the tax tables or from a tax software program.

Time Frame

Taxes are due for self-employment on April 15, the same date as if you were an employee. If your business is profitable and you expect to owe taxes, you will probably choose to file a quarterly estimated tax payment for next year. The IRS may send you forms and expect you to file each quarter once your income reaches a certain level. When you pay taxes quarterly, the Schedule C and Form 1040 will reconcile your taxes paid with taxes owed for the year.



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