How to File Your Wag! Taxes in 2023

by
Chloe Bryan
Updated 
February 1, 2023
January 17, 2023
Icon check
Reviewed by
a tax professional
How to File Your Wag! Taxes in 2023
by
Chloe Bryan
Updated 
February 1, 2023
January 17, 2023
Icon check
Reviewed by
a tax professional

Taking care of pets is a big responsibility. And taking care of other people’s pets? That’s especially intense. 

Pet owners can be pretty particular about their furry friends’ lifestyles. (As a dog owner myself, I can confirm that the length of Pete’s morning walk is one of the most important things in the entire world.) If you’re a trustworthy dog walker, pet sitter, or trainer on Wag!, you deserve the moon — including all the tax write-offs you’re entitled to.

Here’s how to figure out your Wag! taxes, so you can concentrate on teaching Fido “sit” and keeping Spot out of the kitchen trash.

Contents

Do you have to pay taxes on your Wag! income?

Yes, most likely. Independent contractors, including self-employed pet caretakers, should assume they owe taxes if they make over $400 in profit in a given year.

Do you have to pay taxes on tips?

Yes, you have to pay taxes on tips — they’re part of your income. Not sure if something is a tip? Check for these two criteria:

  • It’s not a mandatory payment
  • The amount is determined by the client (in this case, the pet owner — though maybe the pet will have some input)

If both apply, it’s a tip.

What taxes do you have to pay on your Wag! income?

You’ll have to pay two taxes on your Wag! income: self-employment tax and income tax.

Income tax

No matter what type of work you do, you have to pay income tax. If you’re a W-2 worker, this will get taken out of your wages automatically. If you’re self-employed, you’ll have to pay it yourself.

Want to get an idea of how much you’ll owe (or how much your refund will be)? Check out Keeper’s free income tax calculator. If you have a W-2 position in addition to your freelance work, it’ll even estimate your withholding.

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Self-employment tax

All freelancers and sole proprietors have to pay self-employment tax on top of income tax. (Sorry.)

How self-employment tax works

This tax is also called FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act). It helps fund Social Security and Medicare. 

All workers are on the hook for FICA taxes, including W-2 employees. Unfortunately, freelancers have to pay double what W-2 workers pay. Traditional employees split the 15.3% tax rate with their employer, but freelancers pay both halves — there’s no separate employer to split the bill with!

How write-offs can lower your self-employment taxes

Even though you have to pay more in taxes, there is a silver lining: you can write off business expenses on your taxes.

Let’s say, for example, that Esther makes $10,000 a year walking pups. However, in order to run her business successfully, she needs to purchase supplies like leashes, poop bags, and treats — and she often drives her from clients’ houses straight to the dog park, pet shop, or playdates with other pups.

Those costs actually decrease the total amount of money Esther brings in. After all, she didn’t get to enjoy all those dollars if she spent some of them on supplies and transportation!

How to lower your Wag taxes with business write-offs

So, which expenses can pet caretakers write off? The answer varies depending on the nature and scope of your business, but here are a few suggestions:

  • 🦴 Treats: If you carry extra treats with you to entice shy pups or reward good behavior, that’s a write-off!
  • 💩 Poop bags: Ah, the joys of dog walking. On the bright side, poop bags — as well as any holders, dispensers, or leash attachments you buy to carry them — are deductible
  • 🏠 Kennels: Operate a dog-sitting business from your home? You’ll probably need kennels in multiple sizes to house your furry guests. Those are write-offs, too
  • 🎾 Toys and enrichment: Squeaky toys, Kongs, tennis balls, food puzzles… if you keep any of these in your arsenal, you can write them off
  • 🐕 Leashes and harnesses: You can’t walk a dog without a leash! (And if you do, please stop doing that.) That means they’re write-offs
  • ✂️ Accessories: Ask yourself this question: What do I use to keep my business running smoothly? You can write off any gear for walking pups in rain or snow, bedding for boarders, pet shampoo, grooming tools, training gear, and more
  • 📱 Phone bill: If you’re a Wag! user, you most definitely book and communicate with clients on your phone. To learn how to calculate the business-use percentage of your cell phone bill, check out Keeper’s guide to cell phone write-offs
  • 🚴 Transportation: Bike to dog-sitting or walking gigs? Take public transportation? Those expenses are write-offs
  • 🚗 Car expenses: If you use your car, you can write off gas, insurance, repairs, and fees. And if you chauffeur your furry friends around, don’t hesitate to claim car cleanings as well! 

Use your car a lot for Wag! work? One relevant tax deduction that independent workers “often overlook” is car loan interest, says Daisy Douglas, EA, a tax consultant and author. 

“Even if you take the standard mileage rate, you can write off a portion of the interest paid on your car loan based on the percentage of time your car is used for work versus for personal use,” she explains. “Your car loan servicer can provide you with a statement showing the amount of interest you paid that year.”

Remember, these expenses have to be used for work in order to be deducted. So even if I ran a dog-sitting business, I couldn’t write off my dog Pete’s personal stuffed mouse. Even though he deserves the world.

Keeper can help you track your tax deductions right on the app. It’ll scan for transactions that might be Wag! write-offs, helping you save money on your taxes and time in your schedule.

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Everything you need to know about your Wag! 1099

If you make $600 or more in freelance income before subtracting any write-offs, you can expect to receive a 1099 form.

This is a record of all your freelance transactions from a specific income source for the year. You don’t actually file it — according to the IRS, it’s meant to “improve voluntary tax compliance.” However, it’s useful to see all that data in one place.

There are two types of 1099s: 1099-K and 1099-NEC form. The difference between the two forms generally comes down to the way you received your payments:

  • If you were paid via check, cash, or direct deposit, you’ll get a 1099-NEC 
  • If you were paid via debit card, credit card, or a third-party payment platform like PayPal, you’ll get a 1099-K

Wag!, however, will send out 1099-NECs for your 2022 taxes.

Where will you see your 1099 form? 

Once your 1099 form is available — which should be around January 31 — you’ll be able to see it in the Wag! Pet Caregiver app, according to the Wag! help center. (Wag! Pet Caregiver is the app contractors use to book Wag! clients.)

1099 forms are generally sent out via snail mail, but if you’d prefer to receive yours digitally, you can opt in on the Stripe dashboard on the Wag! Pet Caregiver app.

What if you didn’t get a Wag! 1099 form?

Chances are, you’ll receive your 1099 just fine. But in the case of a snafu, you can actually file your taxes without using a 1099 at all.

It’s the responsibility of your client — in this case, Wag! — to send you a 1099. If they don’t, you won’t be penalized. What you will be penalized for, though, is failing to file. So you’ll have to find the information elsewhere.

Luckily, that’s not too hard. On Wag!, you can see your payment history in the Wag! Pet Caregiver app under the “Earnings” tab. You can also reconstruct your income records by using your own bank statements and tip documentation (track your cash tips!).

“There is usually a spot to input non-1099 self-employment income [i.e. 1099 income that is accidentally missed] when filing with tax software,” says Douglas. 

If you're just looking to use your 1099 form at tax time, that's all you really need to know — feel free to skip ahead to the next section, on actually filing your Wag! taxes. But if you'd like to learn more about recent IRS drama surrounding these tax forms, keep reading.

How have the 1099 rules changed?

To get a 1099-NEC from Wag!, you only need to earn $600 from the platform. In general, however, the bar to get a 1099-K is much higher. It's only required if received over 200 payments with a gross total of $20,000. (Both criteria had to be met.)

These rules were supposed to change for 2022. When the American Rescue Plan passed in 2021, the income threshold for receiving a 1099-K was scheduled to drop down to just $600, no no minimum number of payments at all. (That would make it exactly the same as the 1099-NEC threshold.)

However, the IRS decided — at the last minute, I might add — to delay this change for a year. That means the bar's still much higher for 1099-Ks versus 1099-NECs.

How to file your Wag! taxes

When you’re ready to file your taxes, you’ll use Form Schedule C to report your income and deductions to the IRS. 

Part I of the form is for reporting your “gross receipts or sales,” which is basically your income before you claim any deductions.

part I of the schedule C form, "income"

Part II of the form is for recording your deductions. These are the business expenses that will lower your taxable income — and lower the amount you owe. 

You can also use the Keeper app to track and record your business expenses. It’ll even fill out Schedule C for you!

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Do you owe quarterly taxes on Wag! income?

Independent workers are required to file quarterly taxes if they expect to owe more than $1,000 for the year. (Not sure if that’s you? Check out Keeper’s estimated quarterly tax calculator.) 

If you’re on the hook, you’ll calculate your withholdings and pay what you owe for that part of the year. These are the dates you’ll file, so mark your calendar:

  • April 15
  • June 15
  • September 15
  • January 15

Quarterly taxes have a reputation for being incredibly annoying, which is fair. But there is one big upside: Because you’ll be keeping close track of what you owe throughout the year, you won’t get hit with a big surprise tax bill in April. Not a bad silver lining, eh?

Troubleshooting your Wag! taxes

Should you run into issues filing your taxes or using the app as a pet caregiver, there are several resources you can check out:

And, of course, there’s the Keeper app, where a dedicated team of tax assistants can help you navigate write-offs and file faster than Pete sprints to a spoonful of peanut butter. Just to clarify, that’s really fast.

Chloe Bryan

Chloe Bryan

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Chloe is a staff writer at Keeper and a writer, editor, and journalist. She previously reported on internet culture and lifestyle trends for Mashable, where she also led the shopping section. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing poetry, traveling, watching the Mets, and hanging out with her dog Pete.

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