Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
Forums  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear
Forums  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear
Register to forums    Log in

FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 07 Aug 2008 (Thursday) 18:42
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links (only for non-logged)

Freelancing and Taxes

190 posts
Joined May 2007
Location: Abilene, Texas
Aug 07, 2008 18:42 |  #1

I've tried a quick search through this forum, but couldn't find anything related to my question. My apologies if this has been answered elsewhere.

I started working for the local paper as a freelancer/stringer three months ago. On all my paychecks, they list me as an Independent Contractor and don't withhold any amount for taxes or anything.

That's fine...I set aside 30% of those checks in a separate savings account. But, I've been reading recently about needing to make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS. However, I have friends who do some independent contract type work on the side, and they simply process it all with their other tax returns once a year.

I am not incorporated, or running as a business. I am not trying to claim my cameras as equipment expenses or anything like that (not yet, anyway). I get an assignment from the editor, I shoot it, and then send in an invoice at the end of every month.

Can anyone advise me about the need to make quarterly payments, or whether I can wait until tax time next year?

Portfolio (external link)
Photoblog (external link)
Gear List

1,251 posts
Gallery: 2 photos
Likes: 15
Joined Oct 2004
Location: 44644
Aug 07, 2008 19:10 |  #2

My accountant told me when I needed to make quarterly payments. I think that if you're not up in the $20-30K range just wait until tax time. My advice is not official so you should check with an accountant.

Any cat owner will tell you -- no one really owns a cat...

Cream of the "Prop"
57,560 posts
Likes: 177
Joined May 2007
Location: Probably Chasing Aircraft
Aug 07, 2008 19:19 |  #3

Not a tax expert either but I have been self-employed for nearly 20 years...

You can pay quarterly estimated taxes but you run the risk of getting "probed" if you aren't within a certain percentage of being correct in your estimate. IIRC, you need to be within about 10% or so of being correct.

The other option is to not pay quarterly estimated tax and pay it all at the end of the year but you may encounter (minor) penalties for doing it this way.

BTW, 30% set aside probably isn't enough to cover both income tax and social security...

The real key is to find an accountant who understands the nature of being self-employed and is willing and able to be "creative" (within the allowances of the law) with how things are itemized.

Another thing to be aware of is that if you are being told when to work, where to work, how long to work and if you are using any of the papers gear, you are (according to the IRS) an employee. The IRS definition of an "Independant Contractor" is someone who can come and go as they please and provide all tools and materials with which to do what they do.

Your newspaper could get in very hot water for not properly reporting what they pay you.

But as mentioned earlier (and I'm sure it will be the consensus) seek professional financial help.

Crosswind Images (external link)
Facebook Fan Page (external link)

"If you aren't getting extraordinary images from today's dSLRs, regardless of brand, it's not the camera!" - Bill Fortney, Nikon Corp.

1,884 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Nov 2007
Location: Kissimmee, FL
Aug 07, 2008 21:21 |  #4​s/faq12-9.html (external link)

Gear List
"Those are some mighty fine pots and pans you have, they must make a great dinner!

"My dog ate my title"
3,365 posts
Likes: 20
Joined Jul 2005
Location: The Miami of Canada - Chicago!
Aug 07, 2008 23:08 as a reply to  @ cory1848's post |  #5

Another (possible) option, assuming you have a day job. :p

I have two sidelines, one doing some independent contractor engineering work, the other as a wanna-be photog. ;)

I've set up my full time job to withhold extra taxes from my paycheck. Its simple and almost painless.

I'm a chimper. There I said it...
37,921 posts
Gallery: 179 photos
Best ofs: 6
Likes: 13241
Joined May 2007
Location: Oak Park, Illinois
Aug 07, 2008 23:21 as a reply to  @ mbellot's post |  #6

I pay quarterly.

Senior Member
372 posts
Joined Sep 2006
Aug 08, 2008 09:52 |  #7

I am an independant contractor in the IT industry and make well over the $20k-30k mark. I receive a 1099 at the end of the year from the company I am contracting for. You will probably get a 1099 from the newspaper. Did you fill out any paperwork with your SS# when they hired you? that was probably for the 1099. the first 4 years I did not pay quarterly, I just payed annually and was usually hit with a $400 penalty for not paying quarterly. I am paying quarterly this year to save me the $400 penalty and the panic towards the end of the year worrying if I've saved up enough to pay in full. Your estimated quarterly taxes are basically the amount you paid last year, divided by 4. You'll have to pay any overage if you earned more than the previous year or have fewer deductions.

Senior Member
904 posts
Joined May 2008
Location: KY
Aug 08, 2008 12:22 |  #8

If this is your full time job then yes by all means pay quarterly, if however you have more income coming in and you get a 1099 from the paper just pay the taxes at the end of the year when you do your taxes and your schedule C unless you are making a significant amount then you might want to pay quarterly

2,336 posts
Likes: 8
Joined Sep 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Aug 08, 2008 13:59 as a reply to  @ Tigershark's post |  #9

I'd agree that setting aside 30% isn't probably enough. As a "self employed" person, you are responsible for paying income taxes, social security taxes, payroll taxes. And don't forget to set some more aside for your state taxes! Your state may also have an occupational tax (e.g., taxes levied simply for practicing a profession -- nice, eh?).

Typically, you figure out what your total state and federal tax liability at the beginning of the year, then work out what you have to pay each quarter to make that total amount. And, as a self employed person, you get the distinct honor of filing TWO tax returns on April 15. One for the previous year, and another for the first quarter of the current year.

EOS Rebel SL1
Full Gear List

Senior Member
966 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Aug 2004
Location: NYC
Aug 08, 2008 18:43 |  #10

I don't pay any taxes at all.

sponsored links (only for non-logged)

1,463 views & 0 likes for this thread, 10 members have posted to it.
Freelancing and Taxes
FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Forums   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset   •  Home

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!

COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.

POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.58forum software
version 2.58 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©

Latest registered member is bigtoxy69
1199 guests, 100 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15,144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018 Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.