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My wife has been doing some contract work part time and has filled out a W9 form with the employer. She gets paid by check and no taxes are being withheld.

I know we are supposed to be paying estimated taxes (quarterly, I guess) and was just wondering what the process was for doing this? And the deadlines? I have no experience with this form of employment.

Assuming that she started this work in 2007, your first estimated tax payment is due April 17. You use Form 1040-ES (make sure you get the 2007 version) to make these payments. Details about estimated tax and the alternatives to it are in IRS Publication 505.

Also, does this give us the ability to claim work-related expenses as tax deductions?

Yes. She'll report her income and deductible expenses on Schedule C of the 1040. IRS Publication 334 is a good starting point. It's a big pub, so I'd suggest getting a hard copy, although you can download it.

Also of interest is Pub 560, which describes retirement savings options available to the self-employed.

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