Learning to file self-employed taxes online may seem daunting at first, especially if you don’t have any tax experience or much knowledge. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on saving money.
Before moving to Colorado I employed my ex-boss, who worked as the manager for the H&R Block office I used to work at, to help file my business taxes. But since moving away I’ve had to file self-employed taxes online myself for the past two years.
Since then, I’ve worked out a pretty good system that allows me to stay on top of my business income and expenses, while saving myself $500+ in tax filing fees.
But by the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll be able to file your self-employed taxes with confidence all while spending around $100 or less.
Self-employed tax forms
If you’re a sole-proprietor, or single-member LLC, you’ll need to attach and fill out a Schedule C form to your 1040 tax return. You may also have to fill out forms related to qualified retirement accounts you contribute to, or self-employed health plans you’re a part of, but for most of us a Schedule C is all you need.
Part 1 is for all your income, including 1099-MISC as well as other sales from coaching, courses or products. Part 2 is for listing out most of your business-related expenses with Part 5 being for any other expenses that don’t fit in other categories. Part 3 is for inventory and other cost of goods sold, while Part 4 is for information on your vehicle as it relates to business miles and travel.
Once you break it down, it’s not really that complicated. You simply fill in the questions and boxes as you come to them.
If your business is small, and you only have a few expenses every year, you may be able to fill out a Schedule C-EZ form. This is a much smaller and more condensed version of a Schedule C.
The most time-consuming part of filling in a Schedule C form is making sure your income and expenses are accurate. This usually comes from bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks or FreshBooks, which is why it’s so important to keep this information up-to-date on a regular basis.
It may be a smart idea to hire a bookkeeper to help manage your monthly finances, reports and expenses, so you can DIY taxes at the end of the year. Paying a bookkeeper a few hundred dollars could be well worth the time and savings!
1. H&R Block
As someone who used to work for H&R Block for four years I’m a bit partial to their online tax filing service. I like that they show year-to-year comparisons as you go through the tax filing process. So I can see what I earned and expensed in 2015 as well as what my tax deductions and credits were, and can compare them to my 2016 figures.
H&R Block Online offers a very budget-friendly tax filing option for self-employed freelancers as their premium version only costs $79.99. Plus, you can start your tax return, save your spot and continue working on it as you have time.
Click here: Get started with H&R Block Online
E-file.com is an up-and-coming online tax filing service that I’ve heard really good things about. While they don’t have a lot of the extra features and customer support that might come with some of the other more well-established online tax filing programs, they do offer a minimalist interface with easy-to-understand steps.
If you feel confident about filing self-employed taxes online, you can save quite a bit of money with their Premium Plus E-file package. It costs $45.99 but right now you can get an additional 30% off the price with code: SAVE30.
Click here: Get 30% off E-file.com with code, SAVE30
TaxAct makes filing any kind of business taxes a quick and easy process. They cater to sole-proprietors who need a Schedule C form attached to their 1040 tax return, starting at just $47. You can easily import last year’s tax information and use their business deduction tools to ensure you get the most tax savings possible.
In the event you have a partnership or are an S-Corp you can file your taxes for as little as $60. That’s a far cry from the several hundred dollars most small businesses have to pay to an accountant every year.
Click here: File any kind of business taxes with TaxAct
TurboTax has been a long-time freelancer favorite because it’s part of the Intuit family of financial products (along with QuickBooks and Mint). This saves a ton of time as you can easy to update your bookkeeping software, and/or Mint account, and then export it into TurboTax instantly.
You can also get expert live help, if you have questions or stumble across any problems. Plus, you know you’re protected by a reputable company in Intuit.
They specifically offer a TurboTax Self-Employed option for biz owners that costs $114.99 which is the most expensive one on this list. But you can get started for free and only have to pay when you’re ready to file.
Click here: File self-employed taxes with Intuit’s TurboTax
5. Credit Karma Tax
Credit Karma actually began as a small startup, who I first met with in person at a conference in 2011. Since then they’ve grown their completely free credit score business and expanded into the tax arena with Credit Karma Tax.
Right now this service is completely free from start to finish. The only thing is that Credit Karma Tax is so new that it doesn’t have the in-depth features that many of these other tax filing programs have. But they plan to expand their service in the future and offer more options to self-employed freelancers.
File self-employed taxes online
If you’re looking for a way to file self-employed taxes online for around $100 or less, the options listed above are a great place to start. You don’t have to be a tax expert or accountant to DIY taxes, just take it one step at a time.
My goal as a freelancer advocate is to empower you with the knowledge and skills to understand your financial situation so you make the best informed decisions. Good luck!