• Brian P. Werner, CPA

Understanding 1099 Contractors: How to Report Taxes and Pay the IRS


Understanding 1099 Contractors: How to Report Taxes and Pay the IRS

If it's your first time as a 1099 contractor, your 1099 contractor taxes may seem scary. Here's how to report your taxes and pay them to the IRS.

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Being your own boss is one of the biggest perks of being a 1099 contractor. But at the same time, bosses have a lot of responsibility -- and one of them is paying taxes.

We know. No fun.

If it's your first time as a 1099 contractor, your 1099 contractor taxes may seem scary. Here's how you should report your taxes and pay them to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Let's get started!

What You Need to Know about 1099 Contractor Taxes

If you are self-employed, you are legally required to pay both Medicare and Social Security taxes. However, your 1099 income isn't subject to tax withholding, so you have to calculate your taxes and then pay them yourself.

These taxes can be found on your Schedule SE for self-employment taxes -- a document you'll need to attach to your return.

Note that only any net profit you report on your Schedule C (used for reporting loss or income) is calculated as part of your self-employment taxes on your Schedule SE. You do not need to pay Medicare and Social Security taxes on earnings like investment income.

What to Do If Taxes Are Being Withheld from Your Other Employment Income

Let's say you've got employment income from which you already have Medicare and Social Security taxes withheld. In this situation, you'll still need to pay taxes on your 1099 income.

Fortunately, Social Security taxable earnings are capped every year. Your employment earnings are considered first, followed by your self-employment earnings, until you have reached the yearly maximum taxable earnings level.

However, no maximum taxable earnings level exists for Medicare taxes. This means all of your self-employment and regular employment earnings are subject to Medicare taxes.

Estimating Your Tax Payments

When it comes to paying 1099 contractor taxes, you can't wait until tax preparation time to pay all of your owed income tax.

Instead, you should prepare to send the IRS four estimated payments over the course of the year. The frequency and amount of your tax payments depend on your earnings and how much tax is being withheld from your other employment income.

You can use the 1040-ES form to calculate your tax obligations or contact your tax adviser for assistance.

Reporting 1099 Income

The type of business you have ultimately determines how you should report your 1099 income on a tax return.

If you're a single-member limited liability company or a sole proprietor, you'll use the Schedule C to report your income. On this form, you'll list all of your business expenses and income.

Business expenses may include any equipment or supplies you purchased for your venture, office expenses and even any professional fees you paid. Including these expenses on your form will help to reduce your business's net income.

Your Schedule C net income is included with your other income sources -- such as investment or employee income -- on your personal tax return. Your taxes on your personal income are then determined based on the total taxable income.

However, if you have a business partnership, corporation or multi-member limited liability company, you'll report your 1099 earnings on a business income return.

A Closer Look at Business Deductions

As we mentioned earlier, a major perk of getting a 1099 form instead of a traditional W-2 is that you can easily claim deductions on a Schedule C and then use this information to figure out your self-employment net profits.

The IRS will accept your business expense deductions if it considers your expenses to be necessary and ordinary for your activities. In other words, your expenses must be the types of expenses that other self-employed people in your field would also incur.

"Necessary" expenses are any expenses that are helpful for completing your tasks. Expenses don't need to be critical to be considered necessary.

For instance, a necessary and ordinary expense in the freelance graphic design field may be cutting-edge computer software. Meanwhile, if you hire a limousine service to transport your clients to you, this might be a handy service but isn't an ordinary expense in the eyes of the IRS.

If you find that the business expenses you wish to deduct are at or under $5,000, you may want to file the Schedule C-EZ, which is shorter than the Schedule C.

Either way, you'll figure out your business's net profit by subtracting your business expenses from your total self-employment earnings -- which include earnings not included on your 1099 form, as mentioned earlier.

Your final figure for your net profit has to be placed on your 1040 form and added to your other income to arrive at your total taxable income.

What If You Aren't Given a 1099 Form from Certain Income Sources?

You need to report all of your income to the government, and you must pay taxes on all of it.

Let's say your payee has forgotten to create a 1099 form for all income he or she has given to you.

This is not uncommon if the payee has paid you less than $600 in a year's time. This is because in this situation, the payee doesn't have to file a 1099 with the government.

This doesn't mean, however, that you can avoid paying taxes on this income. You are still legally obligated to report this income to the IRS yourself and pay the necessary taxes on all of it.

How We Can Help

We offer a wide range of tax and accounting services for business owners. For instance, we offer top-notch advice on tax withholdings, startup costs, and investments. We can also provide you with an easy-to-use spreadsheet for accurately tracking your losses and profits.

We take pride in not only helping businesses to stay on top of their tax obligations but also helping them to succeed financially. This is why we offer business and financial coaching along with business formation and tax preparation services.

Our other services include estate and trust tax preparation/planning services, philanthropy planning and even payroll services. We can also assist you in planning for retirement, which includes minimizing or eliminating your tax liability during retirement.

Contact us to find out more about 1099 contractor taxes and other essential tax information you need to know as a business owner in 2018.


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