Tax Carnival Ecstasy – May 9, 2013

Online Investing?
Online Investing? (Photo credit: Monkey Mash Button)

Welcome to the May 9, 2013 edition of Tax Carnival Ecstasy. We begin with a post from James Powell on credit and benefit changes for 2013 that is quite interesting. Bill Smith looks at how TurboTax has changed in the current year. And finally John Schmoll has a number of online brokers that he likes to use. Hope you enjoy all the articles, bookmark, share on your social sites, and come back real soon for more tax topics.

credits

James Powell presents Tax Credits and Benefits Changes 2013 – How They Will Affect You : Tax Credits posted at Tax Credits, saying, “This post will look at how the changes in tax credits will affect you in 2013.”

filing

Bill Smith presents Innovations For Turbo Tax 2013 posted at 2013 Taxes, saying, “Professional accounting can help business owners save time and resources, and the Turbo Tax 2013 CPA Select edition by Intuit may be the ideal solution for tax filing season.”

retirement

Jebelle presents LIFE is what you make it: HEALTH is WEALTH posted at LIFE is what you make it, saying, “earn even retired”

John Schmoll presents Online Brokerages I Use: OptionsHouse Review posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “There are many online brokerages to use as you look to invest in the stock market. The good ones are there to meet your needs and help make sure you’re doing what you can to be investing for things like retirement.”

tax law

Bill Smith presents Senate Bill On Internet Taxes Passes First Hurdle posted at FastSwings, saying, “Recently, the United States Senate passed a bill concerning Internet tax collection.”

taxes

Bill Smith presents Estimate Your Tax Refund With The Free TurboTax Taxcaster posted at 2013 Taxes, saying, “Tax time is drawing near and like most other Americans, you need to file and prepare your taxes to avoid penalties and late fees from the Internal Revenue Service.”

tips

Bill Smith presents The Benefits Of TurboTax 2013 posted at 2013 Taxes, saying, “When you are planning to file your income tax return, you want simplicity, accuracy, and options. You will have these benefits and more with TurboTax 2013.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tax carnival ecstasy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Self Employment Tax Issues

turbotax

People often get so swept up in the first exciting year of starting their own business, going freelance or contracting that they forget some of the more mundane, but nevertheless important changes that self-employment will bring. Along with a renewed passion for your career and control over your own destiny and potentially far greater financial rewards, there are also a number of downsides and financial hurdles to setting out on your own.

Self Employment Tax will be one of those hurdles. Self-Employment Tax is a tax that you were never required to pay as an employee, but essentially it is the self-employment version of the FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) tax that is used to pay for social security and medicare and it comes out of your net earnings from your self employment. Back when you were employed by a company you probably never gave a moment’s thought to this payment because your employer would have been paying half of it, approximately 7.65% each. But now you are classified as self-employed, whether you are a sole proprietor or an independent contractor, you have to pay the full 15.3% levy yourself on your tax return. As long as you earn over $433 per annum, you must pay 15.3%. And once you reach $106,800 you then pay 2.9% for every dollar after that. The tax itself is split into two parts. Social Security receive 12.4% and Medicare receive 2.9%.

So how do you know if you need to pay it? Basically, if you’re self-employed in any way, you pay the tax. It is levied on net earnings from your business. Whether you file a Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business), a Schedule F or a Schedule E with income from a partnership then you’re required to file a Schedule SE and pay the tax. However, it relates to income from your job and earnings, not from investments so investment income is not subject to Self-Employment Tax. Rents and royalties, dividends, interest and capital gains are therefore not taxed.

The next thing you need to consider is that when you were employed your employer would take care of paying this. Now the responsibility lies with you. Unfortunately going freelance means more paperwork and more responsibility. You need to calculate your Self-Employment tax on Schedule SE and enter this figure into the “Other Taxes” section of the 1040 form. This is so the IRS can differentiate between income tax and the SE tax. You will need to make estimates quarterly on your tax obligation in April June, September and January and if you don’t pay or they aren’t enough you could face penalties and interest.

There are, however, some ways to reduce Self – Employment tax. Firstly, you can charge your own business a rental charge for using your property. This income that you get from rent is not part of your self-employment and therefore is free from Self-Employment tax. Secondly, when calculating Self Employment tax you are permitted to reduce your income by 7.65% before you have to apply the tax rate. So if your net self-employed income is $100,ooo this is what you write on your 1040 for income tax. But on your Schedule SE the taxable amount is $100,000 less $7650 which comes to 92,350. This saves paying 15.3% tax on $7650, making a saving of $1170.

Alex Simmonds is a journalist and copywriter living in the UK. He can currently be found writing a daily blog on contracting and  home-working for The Bedouin Group., a contractor portal.

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