tax tips — November 22, 2019

How Do Taxes Work for Side Job Bloggers?

by Susannah McQuitty

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Taxes for your side hustle

What’s the best side hustle job that you can work from home? Every “Top 10 Side Gigs” and “20 Best Work-from-Home Jobs” article you’ll find has one thing in common: blogging.

Writing a blog means money earned in the background. You compose, hit publish, and sit back—rinse and repeat. There’s almost no area of expertise that doesn’t have an eager audience waiting to read what you have to offer.

So how do taxes work for bloggers? If you’re hoping to make supplemental income, you definitely don’t want to accidentally bite off more than you can chew because you didn’t realize the tax implications of adding a side gig.

Here’s what you need to know about taxes for your blogging side hustle.

Is a side hustle considered self-employment?

For most people, working a side hustle isn’t just for fun—you’re aim is to make a little extra money on the side to spend as you like. That extra money is profit (the money left over when you subtract expenses from overall earnings), and if you’re looking to make a profit, your side hustle is considered self-employment for tax purposes.

Sure, you may work a day job, but even people who aren’t fully self-employed can still have self-employment income.

How do taxes work for my blogging income?

There are two main elements that make up self-employment income taxes for your side hustle: an additional self-employment tax (or SE tax), and paying your taxes piece by piece via quarterly estimated payments throughout the year.

The SE tax rate is 15.3%, since you are responsible for both the employee and employer tax rates. The good news, though, is that you can deduct the employer-equivalent portion of your SE tax from your adjusted gross income, which gives you a break on your income taxes.

The other main element for self-employment taxes are quarterly estimated payments. While most taxpayers have money withheld from each paycheck, you’ll calculate and pay your tax obligation every three months. If you pay too much, you’ll get a refund when you file a tax return in the spring. Pay too little, and you’ll owe both the remainder of your tax bill and maybe a penalty too.

How can I get tax credits and tax deductions for blogging?

The best news about blogging income being self-employment income is that you can deduct business-related expenses. Some examples include:

  • Equipment depreciation
  • Legal, tax preparation and professional fees
  • Travel
  • 50% of business meals (as long as they aren’t lavish or extravagant)
  • Home office

Almost anything that you buy or spend money on that is solely related to your business can be deducted, which lowers your tax obligation in the long run—you can even deduct startup costs in the year you launch your blog.

What if I blog for fun, not to make money?

If your income from a blog only covers the expenses of keeping the blog up and you don’t plan to make a little extra money, your blog is more of a hobby than a side hustle.

In that case, you still need to report your income from the blog (if you have any) as miscellaneous income on your Form 1040. Keep in mind, though, that you won’t be able to deduct related expenses—that’s for businesses only.

The best deal for side hustlers is right in front of you

Most tax filing sites you go to charge significantly more to handle your self-employment taxes, which is why 1040.com is going to be your new best friend.

Self-employment taxes don’t cost you big bucks here—even for more complex tax situations. Just compare our pricing to other sites, and the choice is clear: Time to get started with 1040.com!

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