No. of Recommendations: 3
On the WF though, the 227 is calculated the same way (finance charge plus last month's charges), but I know there will be about 100 of auto-charges put on that card associated with my contract work. I need to take ginko's advice and find a new card to use for the contract business, then deduct those expenses, plus some amount of withholding from my income before I start the family budget process. That last sentence shows me that I need to make a third goal for this month; increase my billables by some amount that my fuzzy math-mind has yet to determine.

Okay, my DH is self-employed, so I just wanted to mention a few things:

1) you will need to make estimated tax payments. 10% is a great start, but I would aim at 20% minimum, with an eye towards increasing it to at least 25% or one-third of your gross, unless you got a really huge tax refund last year (at least 1/3 of what you expect to gross this year), and your situation hasn't changed much.

The first estimated tax payment of the year is due April 15th, same as your return. Pay at least the 10% you're talking about putting aside--even if you can't pay all the taxes due on your earnings, the IRS likes to see some come in at least four times a year.

2) please get a copy of Schedule C (where you declare your self-employed income) and Publication 535, which is about Business expenses, so you can keep the right receipts to deduct stuff as business expenses, and keep the proper records to deduct business use of your car and home office, if you have one.

Yes, this is a pain. No, you don't want to do it now. I sympathize. I promise you will not ever want to do it, so now is as good a time as any. It's less painful than it looks at first glance, and you will be happy when you will have the records to take deductions on your car.

3) This might sound a little crazy, but you can send an estimated tax payment for your income from last year. The last one for 2006 was due January 16th, you can send it late and possibly keep from getting a fine from the IRS. If you made between $5-7K, well, you're hoping you won't owe anything, so I'll join you in that hope and advise you to send $100. Yeah, it's symbolic, but you know what? The IRS appreciates the effort. I just don't want you to have to say, "No, I made no estimated tax payments last year," should you end up owing some on 2006. Again, if you're pretty sure that you're not going to owe anything, or if the thought of an extra $100 is making you want to run around the room and pull out your hair, don't do it, but...I would.

Yeah, I'm superstitious, I just know how the self-employed tax thing goes, and I just remember how shocking it was the first year, how much we owed. When you're used to it coming out by itself, well...just trying to prepare you gently. If you think your refund this year will be at least $2000, then I guess you can ignore this.

4) If you want to deduct your childcare expenses, get a receipt from your babysitter. You can deduct babysitting expenses on line 48 of the 1040, if they're so you could work, but you're going to want receipts (if you paid her in cash, if not, I think in a pinch the cancelled checks will do) and you're going to need her social security number. :-( You might want to look at form 2441 to see if it's worth the hassle. Really, daycare makes this a lot simpler. A lot a lot. They have a business number and were definitely not your employee, so again, you may want to ignore this until/if your kids are in daycare/afterschool care.

Also, there's a limit you don't want to have paid one person more than for the whole year, 'cause then they're your employee and you have to pay taxes on their income. I used to know it off the top of my head, but I looked it up, and for 2007 it's $1500, but I don't know what it was for 2006. Anyway, just a thought.

Sorry, that got scrolly and overwhelming. I'm just doing my taxes right now, so it's all on top of my brain, the self-employed stuff. Good luck with your budget, and hang in there! It's an iterative process, so you definitely don't have to get it all done in the first step. :-)

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