Running your own business can get expensive. There are endless apps, courses and packages you can buy to increase productivity and invest into future growth.
This is also true about filing self-employed taxes online as there are actually many budget-friendly solutions to choose from.
But if you’re looking for the best resource for filing self-employed taxes, look no further. Here’s my honest review of how to get started with TurboTax Self-Employed and how to use it to maximize tax savings as a freelancer.
What is TurboTax Self-Employed?
TurboTax Self-Employed is part of the TurboTax family of online tax filing products which is owned by Intuit. They recently added many new features to this service to help freelancers and small business owners take filing taxes online into their own hands.
Filing self-employed taxes is a bit more complicated than personal income taxes due to the fact that you have additional forms, including Schedule C and Schedule SE. But TurboTax Self-Employed takes the worry and headache out of DIY taxes by offering a simple but accurate tax filing service.
- Expert live help, on-screen any time you need it
- Self-employed deductions finder
- Accurate income and expense tracking all year long
- Tips to help you work smarter not harder
- Access to the right tax forms for your situation
- Costs $114.99 (but could be free with QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle)
How to file taxes online with TurboTax Self-Employed
The absolute best part of using TurboTax Self-Employed to file taxes online is that it’s part of Intuit. So if you use Mint for your personal budget transactions and QuickBooks Self-Employed for business income and expenses, you can import all of this into your tax filing process.
Any variation of the other Intuit products that you use can be exported or imported into the other products.
1. Create your free TurboTax account
To get started with a free account, you simply sign up using any of your other Intuit log in information. Or create a brand new account within a few seconds. This process is quick, painless and totally free.
2. Choose the best tax filing product
Obviously if you are a freelancer and own a small business you already know that you’ll likely be using TurboTax Self-Employed product. But it’s important to choose the boxes that correlate with your personal situation.
Choose any and all boxes that apply! Just make sure you check the “self-employed/independent contractor” option.
3. Share last year’s tax information
Click the box for how last year’s tax return was filed, then fill in your first name and birth date. This helps TurboTax Self-Employed zero in on tax deductions and credits, and focus on questions and topics that are relevant based on your age.
You’ll then be prompted to answer some questions related to your filing status, zip code, dependents, housing situation and other personal info to help formulate your tax return correctly.
4. Answer questions related to your business
In order for TurboTax Self-Employed to accurately pull all the relevant tax forms, choose from one of the boxes related to whether or not you paid employees or contractors and if you had any inventory.
5. Confirm your personal information
Review the information you’ve input so far. TurboTax Self-Employed will review your situation for relevant tax deductions and credits and you move on to the next steps. You can save your federal tax return information at any point and come back to it when you have more time.
And don’t forget, you can import all of your business income and expenses from your QuickBooks Self-Employed accounting software (or any other QB or Mint programs you use).
What does TurboTax Self-Employed cost?
The nice thing about TurboTax Self-Employed is that you can get started for free and only have to pay when you actually file your federal tax return. If and when you’re ready to hit the “submit” button, it will cost you $114.99 plus an additional fee if your state requires you to file a return with them.
If you pay $12 /mo for the QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle, your TurboTax Self-Employed filing is free! I share more of this in detail below.
Ready to try TurboTax Self-Employed? Click the image or button to get started for free!
TurboTax Self-Employed features for freelancers
There are several different features that I really like about the TurboTax Self-Employed tax filing software.
For one, the interface and questions are very easy to navigate and answer accurately. The program also does a great job of explaining why the numbers are the way they are, to help you better understand the tax savings.
Everything is worded in plain English not tax jargon, so it’s similar to having a real conversation with a tax pro who has your best interest at heart. In the event you want to skip the interview process, you can go straight to the tax forms and fill them out yourself.
The second feature that’s awesome for freelancers is the Expense Finder. It quickly searches your business bank account and credit cards for deductible business expenses that may have been forgotten or overlooked. This ensure you get the most tax savings possible!
Finally, you can connect with a real life tax expert using the Smart Look tool. This person is accredited and specializes in self-employment taxes so you can be sure your taxes are done correctly.
How to file self-employed taxes online for free
One of the main drawbacks to using TurboTax Self-Employed is that it costs $30-70 more than other competing tax filing products for freelancers.
My guess as to why is probably because you get an upgraded convenience for it being part of the Intuit family and can import/export your yearly transactions from other programs. But you’ll pay for this time-saving convenience by paying a bit more for tax prep.
There is a money-saving hack available though!
If you already pay for QuickBooks Self-Employed every month you can file self-employed taxes online with TurboTax Self-Employed for free. Yep, the QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle comes with the ability to pay estimated taxes as well as one federal return and one state return tax filing.
It might be worth it to pay $144 a year for the QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle versus paying $154.98 for a one-time tax filing with TurboTax Self-Employed only.
This would be a savings of $11 per year but you also get an amazing bookkeeping software specifically made for freelancers, along with the ability to calculate and pay quarterly estimated taxes. Win-win!
Want to save $11 a year and get free federal + state tax filing by bundling QuickBooks Self-Employed and TurboTax Self-Employed? Click here to get started.
Should freelancers use TurboTax Self-Employed?
Is TurboTax Self-Employed the best tax filing option for freelancers? If you already use other Intuit products, or pay for the QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle, then YES. I would say this is seriously the best deal for all your accounting and tax needs.
However, if you use other bookkeeping programs then TurboTax Self-Employed may NOT be the most budget-friendly option.
It does offer some really amazing features and tax savings for freelancers though, so it could be worth changing from your current program to Intuit’s bundle of products.
Since QuickBooks added new invoicing features for self-employed freelancers last year, and with the Tax Bundle savings these products are a great choice for any business owner.
Intuit is definitely pushing out stronger features and more helpful products for business owners, so I feel confident in recommending them!