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  • Writer's pictureJo Soria

6 No-Fuss Tax Tips for Gig Workers

Whether driving for a rideshare service, freelancing as a graphic designer, or renting out your spare room through a platform like Airbnb, gig work offers flexibility and autonomy beyond the average nine-to-five job. But if you're new to the game or doing more gig work than before, how should you be prepping for tax time?


Join the #TRN team as we explore the best tax tips for gig workers on maximizing their earnings while staying on good terms with our friends at the IRS.


Uber delivery person on bike; tax tips for gig workers

What do we love about gig work? That previously mentioned flexibility and autonomy. The responsibility of ultimately managing our taxes, however? Maybe not so much. But a little homework on the how-tos of tax filing and expense tracking can save you time, money, and potential headaches down the road.


Here are some of our go-to tips for gig workers in 2024.


"I Don't Know How Much I Made Last Year:" Recordkeeping is a Must

Good news: you get to think of yourself as a small business owner. Yay!


The bad news: you have to think of yourself as a small business owner. Ugh. And all of the accountability that comes with it. That means you can't rely on Uber, DoorDash, or your clients to track your activity and finances comprehensively.


One fundamental aspect of managing your taxes as a gig worker is keeping meticulous records of your income and business-related expenses, such as mileage, supplies, or equipment purchases.


Stay on Top of It

You can get fancy with specialized accounting software and apps or keep it simple with a homemade spreadsheet (we like this option a lot). Either way, the point is to start (and maintain) a trackable system that's easy for you to understand and explain.


By maintaining organized records throughout the year, you'll be better prepared come tax time and can maximize your deductions.



"I Didn't Know I Had to Pay More": Understand Your Tax Obligations

As a gig worker, you're considered self-employed in the eyes of the IRS, which means you're responsible for paying self-employment tax in addition to income tax. Self-employment tax covers Social Security and Medicare taxes, and it's essential to budget accordingly.


Familiarize yourself with the current self-employment tax rate and factor it into your financial planning. Check out our resources section at the end of this article for tax rates and other details straight from the horse's mouth (the IRS).


Depending on how much you make in supplemental gig income, you might also be responsible for quarterly tax payments instead of one large annual payment.


"Wait, I Was Supposed to be Paying Taxes Throughout the Year?": Learn About Quarterly Tax Payments

Don't freak out, but do pay attention: unlike traditional employees whose taxes are withheld from their paychecks by employers, gig workers are typically responsible for making quarterly estimated tax payments.


These payments serve to prevent a hefty tax bill at the end of the year and help you stay on top of your tax obligations. Once you've figured out your self-employment tax rate (see section above), keep track of your monthly income and expenses to estimate your quarterly payments accurately. Failure to make these payments on time can result in penalties and interest, so it's crucial to stay proactive.


"How Do I Know What I Can Deduct?": Let's Talk Tax Breaks

We all love a good tax deduction, right? One of the perks of being self-employed is the ability to deduct legitimate business expenses, thereby lowering your taxable income.

Common deductions for gig workers may include mileage, home office expenses, software subscriptions, and professional development courses. But remember, you'll need to be able to show that these expenses were business-related, not personal.



Be sure to consult the IRS guidelines or a tax professional to ensure you take advantage of all available deductions while still staying compliant and avoiding an audit.


Women on computer; tax tips for gig workers

"I Feel Like I'm Doing This Wrong:" Consider Talking to a Professional  

From trusted roofers to the very best licensed health insurance agents, we're big fans of getting a professional second opinion whenever we can. For even better results, consider talking to a professional before starting your small business owner path so you can get it right from the beginning with way less stress.


A professional accountant or tax preparer can help you understand from the get-go what kind of documents you'll need to keep track of, what kind of expenses you may be able to deduct from your tax liability, or how to ensure a tidy tax submission. They also stay up-to-date on the legislation and tax code changes that may affect your business.


You can even get more specific information about payment plans, filing extensions, how to avoid an audit or other topics that will ease your tax season stress.


"The Tax Deadline's Coming and I Still Don't Know Where to Begin:" Don't Panic

While those first few tax seasons as a freelancer can feel confusing or overwhelming, remember that you're not alone. You can tackle your taxes like a pro with the right tools and knowledge. So breathe in deep, grab a snack and a cup of coffee, and begin collecting and organizing all of your tax documents in one folder.


From here, you can visit our resources section below and make a personalized checklist of the steps and documents you'll need to complete your return or set an appointment with a tax preparer. You've got this.


Need more tax tips for gig workers? Check out these additional resources:


 

Want to be a guest blogger with the #TRN Team? We are looking for writers to contribute. Reach out to jo@trustedreferral.org to get started.

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