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Freelance income tax reporting

Those who have taken the plunge into being their own boss may feel a strong sense of independence. Self-employment means choosing your own tasks, clients, hours and other options that can make work more fulfilling. However, there are also a few challenges posed by working solo, especially when it comes to figuring out taxes.

Everyone has a unique tax situation, but self-employed taxpayers may face special complications from the nature of their job. Whether you freelance full-time or simply help out with a special project on the side, you are responsible for reporting all income and deductibles to the IRS. How do you avoid audits with so many possible factors to account for?

A clear record of your earnings and expenses is indispensable once tax season begins. Save documentation like receipts and checks that apply to your job. Certain expenses can even count as deductibles, such as the technology and travel necessary for working with your clients. Your archives can help resolve an audit if the IRS requests proof of these purchases.

If you earned less than $400 after subtracting business-related expenses from earnings, however, you may not have to pay tax on freelance work. The IRS still requires you to file taxes if you meet certain requirements, so be sure to double-check the exceptions.

Do-it-yourself tax programs like H&R Block and TurboTax may not accurately account for self-employment circumstances. For example, these programs may record some expenses as fully deductible when they are not, which increases the chance of triggering an audit.

Professional guidance can minimize the risk involved with filing your own taxes. Often, when a Michigan freelancer confronts an audit, the IRS needs clarification for business expenses or sources of income. A skilled tax attorney can work with you to communicate the unique affairs of self-employment.

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