How To File Self-Employment Taxes

Female small business owner taking inventory with digital tablet
Hero Images / Getty Images

Filing your self-employment taxes is a priority if you are self employed. It is essential that you pay your self-employment taxes on time each year. If you are going to pay more than $1000.00 in taxes for the year you are required to pay your taxes on a quarterly basis. If you fail to do this you will be fined. If you are working for someone else and running your own business you may consider increasing your withholdings so that you do not need to pay the quarterly payments.

You should talk to an accountant before you do this.If you are considering becoming self-employed, you need to be aware of your tax obligations before you take the step. You can pay your self-employment taxes by following these easy steps.

Determine What You Need to Pay

First, you need to determine how much you need to pay. You can do this by talking to a tax accountant. The accountant can help you determine how much you will owe based on your past earnings or projected profits. Your self-employment tax rate is 15.3% of your profit. This is in addition to your income tax. If you have been in business for a year, you can make quarterly payments based on last year's income. Simply divide what you paid last year by four and pay that much each quarter. Your tax accountant can help you determine if you need to raise or lower this based on your current business projections.

Make Taxes Your First Priority

You need to set aside money each month so that you can pay your estimated payment on time each quarter.

If this is your first year in business you should set aside at least thirty percent to cover yourself on taxes for the year. If you have state taxes, you may need to adjust the amount you save to include your state taxes.

Set Up Your Electronic Payment Account

Set up your payment account. The IRS allows you make the payments online through the site.

You need to  register for a PIN and that can take a few weeks to process, so you should register well before the payment due date in order to make the payment on time. You may also mail the payments in. If you fail to make the payments, then you will face stiff penalties. Even if you think the amount you will owe is going to be less than the estimated payment, you need to make the estimated payment.

Trust Your Accountant

Use your CPA and follow her advice. This is very important, because she will know things that can help you to decrease the amount that you are taxed on. You may be able to deduct your retirement contributions, your health costs and many of your business expenses. This is an important part of making the most of your money.

Make Sure You Pay on Time

Always pay your estimated payment and taxes due. The IRS can access your money and freeze your accounts. You do not want to deal with the headache of owing them back taxes. You should also file your taxes on time each year. If you need to file an extension, you must do so by the deadline. The IRS expects you to pay your estimated taxes when you file your extension, so it is important to set aside the money throughout the year.

Pay Your State Taxes

Many people do not remember to pay their quarterly taxes for their state as well. Your accountant will help you determine the amount you need to pay since the state income tax rate does vary from state to state. Generally, the payments for state income taxes are due at the same time as the federal payments This will make the entire process easier to manage. This can prevent you from owing too much when you file your taxes. 


  1. If you are a college student or recent grad check out these tax tips before you file.

  2. If you do need an accountant, you should look for an accountant that you can trust, and who will work with you. YOu can ask family and friends for recommendations.