Working as a Postmates delivery driver has many perks. You can choose your own hours, get paid instantly, and work at your own pace.
However, the responsibility of filing your taxes as a Postmates 1099 worker can feel daunting and stressful — especially if it’s your first time working in the gig economy and you’re used to getting a tax refund.
Armed with the right resources, though, lowering your tax bill (and filing in general) is easier than you think.
In this post, we’ll break down exactly what taxes you pay as a Postmates driver, the 1099 forms you need, and how to decrease what you owe.
How to file your Postmates taxes
While we have a separate step-by-step guide to filing self-employment taxes, this post dives into the specifics of filing as a Postmates driver.
Let’s start by going over the five steps to filing your Postmates 1099 taxes. By breaking down what can feel like an overwhelming process into digestible tasks, you’ll see it’s not as daunting as it may seem.
Step #1. Determine what taxes you need to pay
As a general rule, all self-employed people are required to pay federal, state, and FICA taxes — also known as “self-employment taxes” for independent contractors like you.
We’ll break all these down below. But for now, know that if your net earnings are less than $400, you typically don’t have to pay self-employment taxes. That also means that, if you earned less than $400 and didn’t have any other income, you’re not required to file a tax return. .
Step #2. Get your 1099 forms
If you earned at least $600 during the tax year, Postmates should send you a 1099 form documenting how much you earned on the platform. You can expect to receive this form around January 31st.
Don’t worry — we’ll cover what a 1099 is and how to use it when you file your taxes in a moment.
Step #3. Compile your Postmates expenses
Keeping track of everything you buy for Postmates can help you save a significant amount of money at tax time. How? It’ll allow you to write off your purchases and lower the amount of income you’ll be taxed on.
We’ll give you some ideas of what to write off in a bit!
Step #4. Fill out your Schedule C
This is where you report your write-offs and your self-employment income when you file your taxes. Check out our guide to filling out your Schedule C!
Step #5. Figure out when you need to pay your taxes
Most of us know about the April 15th deadline, but depending on how much money you earned, you may have to file quarterly taxes as well.
With the basics covered, let’s take a closer look at each of these five steps!
What taxes do you pay as a Postmates 1099?
When you're self-employed, the IRS considers you a sole proprietor, which is basically code for “small business owner.” In your case, you're technically running your own delivery business — even if you fulfill orders exclusively through food delivery apps like Postmates.
That means your income taxes won’t be withheld for you by an employer — you have to do it yourself. As a general rule, that means these three types of taxes:
- Federal income tax
- State income tax
- Self-employment taxes (Social Security and Medicare taxes)
Federal and state taxes
The amount of federal and state income taxes you pay depends on where you live and what income bracket you belong to.
Your federal tax rate can range from 10% to 37%. State taxes, on the other hand, will depend on your state’s tax system. Some states use a flat tax system, where a single tax rate is applied to everyone.
Others employ progressive tax systems, like the federal income tax. That means your tax rate will depend on your income level — generally ranging from 0% to 10.75%.
Also known as FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act), self-employment taxes include Medicare and Social Security taxes.
As an independent contractor, you’re technically your own employer. That means you’re responsible for filing your FICA taxes on both the employer and the employee level.
Typically, the employer pays 7.65%, while the employee pays another 7.65%. That brings your self-employment taxes to a total of 15.3%. (Fortunately, you can write off the employer portion.) To learn more about how this works, check out our beginner’s guide to self-employment tax.
If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! Our 1099 tax calculator can also help you figure out how much you’ll owe, so there are no surprises come filing time.
And speaking of filing, let’s go over the forms you need to report your income.
The tax forms you get as a Postmates driver
Form 1099 is actually a collection of forms that report non-wage income — including self-employment income — to the IRS. 1099 forms are sent to freelancers or contractors by the person or company that paid them. Postmates drivers, for instance, will ultimately receive their forms from Uber (since Postmates was acquired by Uber in 2021).
The types of 1099 forms you receive depend on a few factors, like how much you made from Postmates, and how you earned that money.
Here are the 1099 forms you may receive from Postmates.
You’ll generally receive a 1099-NEC if you made at least $600 in non-trip earnings from Postmates.
That includes referral payments, bonuses, and other income that comes from something other than deliveries.
In 2022, drives will get 1099-K forms from Postmates if they received more than $20,000 in gross delivery earnings and conducted more than 200 trips.
Originally, the 1099-K was supposed to change in 2022, going to all drivers who earned more than $600 in delivery fees. But the IRS announced it would be delaying this change.
That means the original rules are still in effect this year.
This isn’t actually a 1099 form, but we’re including it here because you’ll receive it from Postmates at tax time.
Your Tax Summary is an unofficial document that provides a breakdown of some important tax information, namely your annual gross earnings from Postmates. It also shows you some business-related expenses you can deduct, such as service fees and commissions. (More on tax deductions below!)
How to get your forms from Postmates
The IRS requires Postmates to make your 1099 forms available by January 31.
There are two ways to get them. It’s easier to access them digitally via the Driver Dashboard in the Postmates app, but you can also opt to receive yours via mail.
What to do if Postmates doesn’t send the 1099 forms
If you qualify for the forms but do not receive them, contact the Uber support team.
What write-offs can you deduct as a Postmates 1099 driver?
As a Postmates driver, you can significantly reduce your taxable income by writing off what you buy for work, like gas mileage and car insurance. Doing this will decrease the amount of taxes you’re required to pay and save you extra money.
Let’s get started with the business expenses commonly deducted by Postmates drivers.
Deductible Postmates expenses
When it comes to tax deductions, remember that you’re only allowed to write off what you spend on doing your job. When it comes to expenses that are partially for personal use, you can’t write off the whole expense. You can, however, write off a portion of these expenses based on how often you use them for business purposes.
For example, if you drive your car 300 miles a week but only 150 of them are for deliveries, then you can only write off 50% of your insurance, registration, and lease costs.
For a more complete list, check out our guide to Postmates write-offs. The most common Postmates tax deductions are:
- 🛡️ Car insurance
- 📄 Vehicle registration
- 🚗 Lease payments
- ⛽ Gas mileage deduction
- 🅿️ Parking and toll fees
- 📉 Depreciation of your car over the year
- 🛠️ Repair or maintenance
- 🚲 Bike and helmet
- 🎒Hot bags for delivering food
- 📱A portion of your cell phone and phone bill
- 💰Postmates commission fees
Tips for tracking your Postmates expenses
The IRS isn’t known for their sense of humor, and they certainly don’t joke around about tax deductions. Here are a few simple expense tracking tips that will make tax season a little breezier — and save you money!
#1: Use an app to track your write-offs
The flexibility and freedom that comes with self-employment can start to lose its sparkle once you try to navigate your taxes.
Resources like this Postmates 1099 guide hopefully help lighten the load, but if you need an extra hand, consider signing up for a tax app like Keeper. Our 1099 expense tracker can automatically scan all of your annual transactions and ensure you’re maximizing your tax savings
#2: Keep business and personal separate
Apps like Keeper can also help you separate business and personal expenses within a single account.
If you’re not interested in using tax software, however, you can get a head start on sorting your expenses manually by opening a separate business account. That way, you can refer to it when it’s time to file.
#3: Be diligent about tracking expenses
What’s the best way to tackle a big project? Little by little.
You don’t want to get to tax season and have to conduct a lengthy retrospective of all your expenses. Instead, set up a more regular schedule for logging your business costs, and consider using a ready-made 1099 expense template!
#4: Stay on top of yearly business mileage
Vehicle-related costs can be written off in two ways:
- Standard mileage deduction, in which you write off a flat rate for every mile you drive for work. The standard mileage rate was $0.585 for the first half of 2022 (January to June) and went up to $0.625 for the second half (July to December.) It's the IRS's attempt of doing something for self-employed people dealing with high gas prices!
- The actual expenses method, in which you deduct the actual costs of running your vehicle, and then multiply that by the business-use percentage of your car.
You can find further details about both methods in our article on mileage vs. actual expenses. If you opt for the standard mileage method, be aware: you’ll need a sound process for recordkeeping that tracks things like trip date, the number of miles traveled, and the start and end location of each trip. All of that can be found included in our free mileage log template!
When to file Postmates 1099 taxes
Tax season for W-2 employees comes once a year, in April. 1099 workers, though, have quarterly Tax Days — one tax season for each calendar season.
Keep in mind: this is only true for self-employed workers who expect to owe the IRS at least $1,000. They'll have to pay taxes in installments, also known as estimated quarterly taxes.
Estimated quarterly taxes are due on:
- April 15th
- June 15th
- September 15th
- January 15th
Make sure to put these dates on your calendar! If you miss a due date, you may wind up having to pay the IRS late fees and penalties, including up to 25% interest on your tax bill.
And if you’re not quite sure how much you should be paying with each installment, tuck a reliable quarterly tax payment calculator into your 1099 toolbelt so that you can cruise into each tax season with confidence.
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