April 15 Is Really Just Right Around The Corner: Advice For Freelancers

It may not feel like it but April 15 really is right around the corner. If you plan to do your own taxes (or use software) this year but haven’t started yet, you may want to think about getting busy and digging your receipts out of that shoebox. (Why is it always a shoebox? Why?)

We’ll begin by self-pimping a piece we wrote last year for CNN/Money. The takeaways: Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you can’t do everything on your own, and don’t forget that as a freelancer, unless you (or your spouse) also have a W-2 job in which your withholdings have been pumped up, you’re going to have to pay a ton in estimated taxes throughout the year.

Here’s the important thing about estimated taxes: If you want to pay them online, you can’t e-file like you normally file your 1040. You have to sign up for this other system called EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System), and it takes 10-15 days to get you set up in the system. If this is your first year freelancing and you haven’t set up the account yet, you’ll need to have it set up before April 15 (when another estimated tax payment is due) unless you want to mail the IRS a check.

Ugh! If it all seems too much, it might not be too late to call up an accountant and dump your shoebox in her lap.

photo: donjd2 and the lolcat builder