How to Pay Taxes as a Freelancer?

An average full-time job will have taxes taken out for each paycheck without a response from you. Taxes deduct from earnings for you, which you can partially get back in the upcoming tax season.

If you’re a freelancer, you pay taxes much differently than individuals that work a regular nine-to-five job. Continue reading to learn how you can pay your taxes as a freelancer.

How do freelancers pay federal taxes?

Freelancers can pay taxes through websites and agencies that allow tax payment processing to the federal government.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) list these websites where you can pay federal taxes online:

As a freelancer, you’ll have to pay 15.3 percent, which is the federal tax rate for self-employed individuals in the United States. Freelancers and contractors will pay toward the Form 1040-ES (1040ES).

It’s a form that calculates the estimated tax payments of wages you’ve earned for the year.

Regular full-time employees have 7.65 percent deducted from their paychecks.

When you have a full-time job, your employers pay the other half of 15.3 percent. Since you’re a freelancer, you’ll have to pay the full percentage because you’re the employee and the employer.

When should you pay for federal taxes?

Freelancers, contractors, etc. have to pay their federal taxes every quarter. Here are the quarterly dates for federal tax payments.

  • April 15 – for January, February, and March.
  • June 15 – for April and May.
  • September 15 – for June, July, and August.
  • January 15 of the following year – for September, October, November, and December.

Before I talk about a good strategy to pay federal taxes, watch this video on quarterly tax payments.

You can pay your federal taxes before the due date. A reliable tax strategy for freelancers is paying your federal taxes monthly. Instead of paying a lump sum every three months, pay 15.3 percent of the wages you earned for the month.

PayUSATax may prevent you from making multiple payments within a quarter. That’s okay. Try another tax payment processor.

How do you pay local and state tax?

State tax depends on where you live. Each state has a different tax percentage. The great thing about state taxes is you get most of the money back. State tax deductions usually return to you in the next tax season.

Paying your state tax is as simple as paying your federal taxes. You’ll have to find your state’s department of revenue website to make a payment. If you’re a freelancer or contractor, you’ll pay a state tax 1040ES. Business taxes are processed differently.

Like state taxes for individuals, business taxes vary by state.

You can pay local taxes through property taxes. If you own a vehicle, a home, or other property, the local government will send a yearly invoice. The bill is a tax notice, informing you that you owe taxes on your personal or commercial property.

During tax season, you may be able to use your local tax bills as a deduction.

When should you pay state and local taxes?

Treat state taxes like federal taxes and pay it every month. Don’t hold on to the money. Pay it the same day the deposit goes through.

Watch this video on how state and local taxes work during tax season.

For local taxes, pay them before the year is out. Untimely payments of local taxes come with steep fines.

How much should I save for taxes as a freelancer?

It depends. You can save hundreds of dollars if you make tax payments every month. Also, you can save money by doing your taxes yourself. It cost roughly $176 to prepare a regular 1040 and state form.

Automated services online, like TurboTax, has made it easier for freelancers, contractors, and others to do their taxes. If you feel more comfortable with a tax expert, find a tax preparer whose familiar with freelancers.

Freelancers Pay Taxes FAQs

Let’s go over a few frequently asked questions you’ve seen on search engines across the internet. If you have any tips and comments on how to pay your taxes a freelancer, leave them in the comment section below.

How do freelance artists do taxes?

As a self-employed individual, a freelancer artist can pay taxes like all other freelancers and contractors, the 15.3 percent self-employed tax.

Do authors have to pay taxes?

Yes. The authors may or may not be self-employed. If they are self-employed, they will be responsible for paying 15.3 percent of their earnings.

How do I pay my taxes?

You can pay your taxes by phone, online, or by mail to the IRS.

What is the freelance tax percentage?

The freelance tax percentage is under the self-employment tax, which is 15.3 percent.

Do I need to pay tax as a freelancer?

Yes. If you’re earning a wage, you will need to pay your taxes.

Do you charge tax on freelance work?

Some freelancers charge taxes to pay off their taxes for the month, quarter, or year.

No Job in Your Field of Study…Create it Yourself

I know how difficult it is to accept that the degree you worked for, went into the debt for, isn’t a quick return of investment. Some of you have put in the work, though. The job came right out of college. That’s a great feeling, and those left out of that promise we’ve shown for years are sort of happy for you.

The reality is that not all of us acquire the job we want. Or sometimes, we don’t acquire a job at all. The hard truth is some professionals see a liberal arts degree as useless. They don’t say the word useless. They’ll phrase it as “not practical.” In some way, the professionals and employers are right. Some of the liberal art degrees don’t fit in the day to day in the workplace.

You have the degree. You have a part-time job to go along with it or maybe a side hustle. The asterisk putting more pressure on you are rejection e-mails, no-call backs, and money.

When you feel that pressure, start putting your energy into special interest. If you’re a novelist, start writing. Transform yourself into a mill of fiction or nonfiction. Create a vault of pages whether they be ideas or stories you wrote just for you. Consider publishing those stories after they’ve fleshed out. The idea is to create something, you may be creating something impactful and lucrative.

Although it’s an expensive hobby, photography is a great skill to add to your arsenal if you haven’t done so already. Learn the basics, watch some YouTube tutorials, and post your best work on a stock image site.

But why do this? Surely, I don’t want you to give up on your aspirations in the pursuit of a great career. Nothing is useless, especially not years of hard work to get a degree. Some of us went into debt to get educated. We went full speed ahead to achieve that goal. While you’re waiting, create the career you want.

For English majors and aspiring writers, I can tell you that freelance writing and editing is the way to go. There’s enough work for everyone. I’ll say to anyone out there stuck in limbo, keep creating and keep trying. It’s not over. The storm of failure and uncertainty won’t last. We will have our time. Press on and be faithful. We will succeed.

Big Bad Flash Stories is finally here!!!

Hello fellow bloggers and readers. After a long absence, I have finished my first self-published title.

Big Bad Flash Stories is live on Amazon.

This 55-page flash fiction collection details several accounts from our favorite folktale villain, the Big Bad Wolf.

There are several other stories within the collection that serves as an intermission to the wolf’s overall story.

Big Bad Flash Stories covers a multitude of genres with indulgence as a central theme.

This book will be served as an appetizer for what’s to come. Big Bad Flash Stories is just the beginning.

Get your copy here!

Top 5 Distractions for Writers

Brainstorming the infinite possibilities of a writer’s creativity is fun to talk about, but talking about writing doesn’t put words on the page.

Once the writing process starts, consistency becomes a constant struggle.

These days, technology soaks up most of our time. If our cellphones aren’t in our hands, we’re likely invested into television or a computer screen. Regardless of what it is, technology can be a distraction when we’re trying to get our writing done. But technology isn’t the only detractor that affects our writing.

Consider these factors listed below as known distractors to writers.

1. Internet

The World Wide Web is an essential to research, social marketing, and entertainment. Because of the infinite possibilities, most of us find ourselves shopping or reacting to cute puppy videos.

As fun as creativity is, writing is forced to compete with the ever tempting after thought that just won’t go away until we take a small peek, which can last for hours.

2. Gaming

Those of us who grew up in the era of games understand how captivating video games can be. They are just as fun as any book, comic, or film. Actually, most of these games are derived from these items.

Video games take up as much time as the internet. In combination with story and graphics, games present challenges that frustrate and reward players for long hours of play time. This means more inspiring time but less writing.

There has to be limit. Writers can be both creator and gamer, however, time must be managed effectively to get writing done.

3. Career / Work

The rule of thumb for all writers, fiction and nonfiction, is to never quit a day job.

The reality of a writer is like the reality of a singer. Many are talented, few get through the passage to noteriety. Therefore, it’s important for writers to have a career to ensure they earn a living.

Sometimes, the job chokes our inspiration. Sometimes, writers trade a few hundred words for sleep.

4. Writing at Home

Like any other technological distraction, the humble of bode is just as distracting. We are most comfortable at home, and many of us find something around the house to mess with instead of writing.

Parents face the toughest challenge. Toddlers and pre-teens are awesome but can be more than an arm full. Considering children as a distraction is insensitive, however, it’s going to be a long day to get 200 hundred words on the page when the kids get curious.

5. Writer’s Block

Staring at a blank page is a symptom of writer’s block. It’s the undeniable condition that illustrates how the brain has worn itself out. The words don’t flow as good when they’re forced out, and the classic continuous backspacing leaves the writer just as empty as the blank page.

Writer’s block lock writers into a brainstorm and floods them with deluge of anxiety.

But there is a silver lining at edge of it. Writers should continue writing even if it sounds like they’re sloshing through muddy ideas. Write them down and save them until they’re dry enough to sculpt.

Dealing with Distractions

There’s no avoiding distractions. They will appear and loom over the writer’s shoulder. How writer’s deal with distractions is the true test.

Despite challenges, work load, and anxiety, writers should write on. Conditions are part of the journey that mold writers into excellent story tellers.

Upcoming Flash Fiction Collection…Should it be free?

After much consideration, I’ve decided to give readers an appetizer of fiction through eBook hosting services such as Amazon and iBooks.

I’ve been sitting on 10,000 plus words of flash fiction the last few years. I posted them to Fiction Press before, but I was too indecisive on whether they should be on the site.

Update: I have decided to sit on this project. I want to focus on writing and editing more projects.

Writing for Professionals

Creativity is never a problem for the fiction writer. Earning a sustainable wage solely as a writer is a dream for fiction and nonfiction authors. That dream, however, takes time to establish. Therefore, it’s important to keep a job, part-time or full-time, while one pursues such an ambition.

In the past few years, I’ve targeted professional writing and editing opportunities through job boards like Indeed and Upwork (previously Elance).

Writing for clients, though not unfamiliar, is a different world. The principles of writing and editing remain consistent, but each industry has its own writing style, subtlties one might not notice if he or she is not familiar with a particular field of study or industry.

Freelance writers and editors outside those particular industries have to learn them as they acquire clients.

Like any business, there is a slow season. At the moment, I’m in a stand still. I apply. I wait. I try again. What can I expect? The market is full of professionals, and I can’t blame clients for choosing a freelancer who works more frequently than most.

Instead, I’ve been trying to create professional writing content such as technical guides and white papers to attract clients and illustrate my versatile writing skills.

It’s a great idea, but I keep hitting the wall of writer’s block. I miss the days of having a prompt to work with.

Day 7: Coffee of the Day

The blog of the day is…

…If we were having coffee, it would be the witching hour. Around 5 a.m., occasionally, I grab a small Styrofoam cup. I fill it one-fourth way with sugar and cream. The more exotic the cream flavor the better. As long as its not peppermint or double chocolate.

I seize the coffee urn, tipping it slowly. I hold it at a specific angle because the stream often runs down the side of the urn. I never succeed. I pretend the coffee doesn’t spill and blame the person who pours the next serving.

The dark blend morphs into a caramel-color. I inhale the steam. Decent. The taste: Sweet. Caffeine is buried by the sugar, weariness drains the will to remain awake. I’m tempted to get another cup. Time is winding down, so I wait for breakfast before I decide to put something else in my stomach.

The morning shift is done, and the coffee has left me with a bubbly stomach ache. The next day, a co-worker brings an exotic blend: Pumpkin Spice. I envision the routine from the previous day.

If we’re having coffee we’re directing the news.

Tonight the challenge ends. I’d like to thank the Write Tribe for challenging me and other bloggers to find the edge we needed to blog daily. Maybe I’ll take on another challenge to keep myself busy. Also, I’d like to thank those that like, share, and/or read my blog posts. I’ll be sure to do the same.


Day 6: Guest Post Flop

I wanted to feature a guest post. My efforts have flopped today. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the fun.

The challenge has been a great way to show off my writing skills, which I hope is good for you all.

Also, I’m gravitating toward more story ideas. Eventually, I’ll have to produce something. I may take the CreateSpace route when investing into editing. I feel like I need more. Maybe I should take more risks. I just want to create enough content that everyone can enjoy.

Day 5: The Unsent Love Letter

Dear ___________,

Retrospect has brought some fond memories. In the midst of youth, there were times where my heart fluttered yet I was too distracted to notice.

I didn’t understand it as a kid in elementary school. The first girl I liked was liked by most of the boys in 5th grade. She loved dolphins and wrote about it in a class activity. At the opportunity to impress her, I ended up annoying her.

You probably don’t remember. I felt bad and wanted to apologize. Somehow, I understood pride. Courage, however, was far from me.

I knew my chances were over. So, my young mind wondered to a girl who just arrived to our school. I had big crush on her. But most of my friends liked her, too. When I didn’t get any attention, I made it business to show everyone I didn’t like her. Inside my little naive heart, I adored her.

I was mean to you for no reason. I had a crush on you for sure. Every snarky look was out of boyish infatuation. Typical yet truthful.

I had a crush in middle school. It was mutual, at least it felt mutual. I was so caught up in being tough. I found my macho bravado but lacked the courage to tell the girl I half-ass carried to the nurse’s office that I liked her.

You were as sweet as a ripe peach, so pretty that I was afraid to maim your beauty with my bald, oily fingers.

High school was different. With no car I felt inadequate. I put all of my focus into school. Of course, my crushy vibes continued. It was without measure. It was a race, and I was way behind all the other dudes.

I got bold one day. On Valentine’s Day 2006, I gave my crush a poem. I spelled her name wrong though. How cute. Unfortunately, she was dating someone else.

I should’ve pursued you more. The opportunity like many others went by, and I let it happen.

Most of all, I let a jewel in my adulthood slip away. The boyish habits sustained. The petite beauty persisted. I ignored her thinking only of my selfish desire.

This uncoventional letter, this confessional blunder of words, is regret.

As a kid, I wasn’t supposed to understand the ins and outs of courtship. As an adult, however, I was conscious. I complained about being lonely while the lady that burned for me raised her hand.

Life granted me ambition. I’ve been married to it for a long time. I didn’t think there was enough room for a girlfriend. What I didn’t realize was the room I had within my life. I was selfish.

There was enough room for you.

Although our time has long since passed, I’m here to say that I never forgot you. You left me an impression that I’ll treasure for life. And for that, I thank you.