What tax write-offs can I claim?
Yes! A lot of freelancers and independent contractors don’t realize it’s possible to write off business expenses and claim the standard deduction. But you absolutely can.
For freelancers, side hustlers, and other self-employed people, the answer is $400 in self-employment income. That’s after you subtract your write-offs. People who only have W-2 income, though, don’t have to file taxes unless they’re making at least the standard deduction. Sometimes, though, you should file your taxes even if you’re not required to. You can get a refund back!
You won’t go to jail — unless you evaded taxes on purpose and your tax bill is really high. The most common consequence is having to pay a penalty, up to 25% of what you owe. Depending on how behind you are, you might have to deal with other inconveniences, like being forced to paper file and losing out on your refund.
If you’re a typical freelancer, gig worker, or sole proprietor, absolutely. A good tax software will make it simple to DIY, and you can even do it by hand. If your business is a corporation, though, you should probably hire an accountant.