Taxes…are so very…TAXING!

That’s why my husband and I went last weekend to a well-known tax preparation organization. The woman who did our taxes was highly professional and friendly and knew what she was doing. But I digress.

For a (too-long) time, we did our taxes on our own. Doing so would take about a day, lots of groaning, and the last of our patience. Gone were the days when we had only one W-2 for each of our jobs and could use the simple 1040EZ. Suddenly, we also had 1099s for my freelancing and had to fill out Schedule C, Schedule 1, and Schedule SE. And do lots of math. Did I mention that I never liked math?

Let’s talk about these forms for a minute, for those who may not be familiar with them.

Schedule C is for reporting income or loss from a business you operated or a profession you practiced as a sole proprietor. (Source: IRS) This applies to yours truly, since I operate Fiedler Editorial as a sole proprietor. I must report my profit (or loss) for the year on this form. My business expenses are also listed; whether I use a professional or not, I must keep good records of what I spend money on, how much money, and when and where I spent it. (NOTE: Our tax preparer really liked the printout of the expenses spreadsheet that I kept throughout the year. It pays to be neat.)

Schedule 1 is, in a freelance editor’s case, income from self-employment. (Source: IRS) It is also for several kinds of other income not directly reported on the 1040, but I won’t get into all of those here and bore you to death.

Schedule SE, which stands for Self-Employment, is for figuring the tax due on net earnings from self-employment. The Social Security Administration uses the information from Schedule SE to figure your benefits under the Social Security program.(Source: IRS) Everybody (that I know of) wants Social Security benefits once they qualify, and if you don’t have an employer who is taking money out of your paycheck for Social Security (i.e., you are self-employed), then you had better be filling out the Schedule SE.

I wish you the best on your tax preparation this year, whether you use a tax expert or not, and I hope you get a nice refund.

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