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Starting as a freelancer in the US
Thread poster: Yoanna

Yoanna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:31
English to Polish
+ ...
Sep 6, 2004

1. Do I have to 'register' anywhere as a self-employed professional or do I just mention it while doing my taxes at the end of the year? I will be working only under my own name, by myself.
2. How do I bill clients - tax included [after I add up, as in the grocery store?]? How much tax, or do I just take a net rate and then pay my taxes from that?
3. Any other tips?

Thanks


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not too difficult Sep 6, 2004

Some of these things depend on local jurisdictions, but nromally if you just use your own name, not a "business name", then there should be no formalities required. Sales taxes are not usually due on services but there are some states or localities that might require sales tax or a "gross receipts tax" or something similar so you would have to research that for the place where you are located to find out how to handle it. There is no general rule in the U.S.

For income tax purposes you report it as self-employment income, and clients would report these expenses on IRS Form 1099 if it is over a certain amount in a year, I think $600. Remember that you also have to pay "self-employment tax" on this income; that is, you pay all your own Social Security because there is no employer to pay the employer part for you.

Normally you would just bill for your services and the taxes are on you...


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ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:31
German to English
+ ...
Answers Sep 6, 2004

Yoanna wrote:
Do I have to 'register' anywhere as a self-employed professional


No.

Yoanna wrote:
How do I bill clients - tax included [after I add up, as in the grocery store?]?


Where I live (Chicago, Illinois) there is no tax on services. I believe that this is true for the entire US, though I'm not 100% positive. Tax laws differ from state to state and from municipality to municipality.

Yoanna wrote:
Any other tips?


Don't take any wooden nickels.


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Yoanna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:31
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Henry & Norbert! Sep 6, 2004

I guess I just have to read up on Arizona laws, then

Thanks for the tips!


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:31
German to English
+ ...
Quarterly estimated payments Sep 6, 2004

Yoanna wrote:
I guess I just have to read up on Arizona laws, then
Thanks for the tips!


Well, I think you 'll need to do a bit more than that; I'd first start with the irs web page. For instance you will likely be required to make quarterly estimated tax payments (i.e. in advance each quarter), see e.g.
http://www.irs.gov/faqs/faq-kw172.html
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p505/ch02.html#d0e3656

In the big picture, your best bet is to get in touch with a tax professional/accountant. Mine takes care of all my tax issues for a few hundred dollars, and is always there in case of questions.


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 03:31
English to French
+ ...
Business license Sep 6, 2004

You may have to apply for a business license at your city hall. They don't want businesses in residential neighborhoods but if you explain that it's just you and your computer you should be fine.
Also, you should open a separate bank account to keep your finances separate, and be sure to keep all receipts and keep logs for your expenses and your fees.
That's all you're required to do by law.
HTH
Sarah


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
Best thing Sep 7, 2004

The best thing is to check with other persons in your area doing the same thing. If it's just you and your computer and no shingle out in front, then I'd say keep it quiet. If you get a business license they'll start taxing you computer, your chair, your desk, etc. and maybe even run you out of the neighborhood. You are just a contract worker who normally works at home.

I said usually there are no other taxes, but my colleagues in New Mexico, for instance, have to pay a 6 point something gross receipts tax, so every state and even every city is different. I understand that NYC charges income tax, but there are states that charge none. Unfortunately for you, Arizona does have an income tax.


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Kathi Stock  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:31
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Check with your local Chamber of Commerce Sep 7, 2004

That's what I did when I got started here in the U.S. They were very helpful and answered all these questions (applicable taxes, business registration, etc.)
The best thing is: their service is free

Good luck,

Kathi


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Yoanna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:31
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
After some research... Sep 10, 2004

First of all, thanks for all of your responses and ideas - you were very helpful!

I did some research. Here's some info for all you Arizonans

1. On azcommerce.com there is an online small business guide which puts you through questions and then gives you an idea what you have to do to start a service at home in the State of Arizone.

2. Trademark / name registerin @ the Secretary of State office

3. Registering as a business in the Town of Gilbert.

And the rest has to do with taxes; I will find it out when I go and meet someone who can help me [www.score.org] and/or receive my CDs and brochures from the IRS [free].


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Yoanna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:31
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Here some more info & question Oct 28, 2004

I have a business license [as a sole proprietor] from the town of Gilbert and an AZ tradename [the latter not obligatory]. One can also put his/her business name in the state public record to make it 'seen'.

Unfortunately, I don't know how to get the business 'rolling'. I've contacted about 140 agencies [is it impossible to find real direct clients?? as a freelancer]; and the only thing I've learned from it is not to contact those located in Poland anymore [rates not compatible to the US market].

Any advice??


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Olga Zamaraeva
Greek to Russian
+ ...
Once again Mar 23, 2005

Hi everyone,

I'll try to resurrect the topic.

I am now trying to get started as a freelance translator in WA.

So is the business license required by law or is it not?..

I've got my employment authorization and I've got my tax ID. Am I required to have anything else?.. I am really afraid of doing anything unlawful.

Thanks!


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Starting as a freelancer in the US

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