The gig economy has become a definitive pillar of the landscape of work, with some experts predicting that by 2027 there will be 86.5 million people working as freelancers in the United States alone. So, if you’re among these professionals who’ve chosen the freedom of the gig economy over the traditional nine-to-five, you can expect new opportunities on the horizon as more companies adapt.
However, while the future seems bright for freelancers, there are some complications that come with this mode of work you need to adapt to—one of which is navigating the tax code as a gig worker. Whether you are driving for Uber, delivering food for GrubHub, or booking babysitter jobs through Call Emmy, you are paid differently from regular W-2 employees. As such, you will have to do your own accounting to file your taxes appropriately.
Fortunately, there are a number of tax calculation tools out there built specifically for the gig worker. These apps often vary in the features that they offer, so it is best to understand which ones cater to your specific needs.
Stride is a mileage tracker and tax calculator built specifically to help gig workers save thousands on their tax bills. Used by 1.8 million users, this application can automate mileage data entry, maximize your tax deductions, and generate IRS-ready reports.
Gig workers can also use this platform to save photos of receipts and check reports for write-offs. This speeds up the process of preparing and filing taxes, without having to worry about inaccuracies in your income and expense report.
As it is primarily a mileage tracker, the app is a particularly solid choice for rideshare drivers and delivery riders. However, Stride can also be useful for home service professionals, babysitters, and caregivers who use their own car to get around on the job.
- Automated GPS mileage tracking
- Custom tracking reminders
- IRS-compliant mileage logs and tax summaries
- In-app guidance for computing deductions
- Automated and manual expense tracking
- Receipt photo capture
- Multiple job tracking functionality
- Bank integrations
- Tax program integrations
Price: Stride is 100% free. It also does not offer in-app purchases so you can rest easy knowing it won’t surprise you with hidden charges.
Why It’s Great for Gig Workers
- Stride analyzes your tracked expenses and mileage to determine if there are deductions you can claim. This allows you to get the most out of your income.
- Stride’s auto-generated reports are IRS-compliant. All you have to do is enter your information, print the form, and file.
- It comes with a straightforward user interface, so navigating your way around this gig worker tax tool is quick and easy.
- Stride is free, making it great for those who might not always have a steady stream of income.
Similar to Stride, Hurdlr is an automated business expense and mileage tracking solution used nationwide. It keeps tabs on your income streams and expenses, calculates deductions in real-time, and generates tax estimates. However, what sets it apart is its customizability.
Gig worker tax filers can set categories for transactions they want to document. For instance, you can create labels for the different apps you use for more accurate reporting. You can also tag which expenses and mileage are personal and which ones are for work. In addition, it links with over 10,000 banks, as well as platforms like Square, Stripe, PayPal, Shopify, and Uber to synchronize your income streams. The platform generates reports based on your tax filing needs.
In addition to the features mentioned above, Hurdlr can also send your tax forms or reports directly to your accountant. Just install the app and start importing your info!
- Automated mileage tracking, and income and expense documentation
- Manual income and expense entry
- Speed tag data entries
- Automated recurring expense tagging
- Real-time calculations for state and self-employment taxes
- Email reports
- Built-in invoicing tools
- Report exporting options
- Machine learning-powered deduction finder
Price: Hurdlr has a free plan for part-timers that includes mileage tracking, income and expense documentation, tax calculations summary, and email reports. If you need their more advanced tools, you can opt for their Premium or Pro plans.
Why It’s Great for Gig Workers
- Hurdlr can categorize mileage, income, and expenses. This lets gig workers that use multiple apps label their transactions and movements more accurately.
- The app can generate detailed reports based on your needs. For instance, it can tally expenses, income, or mileage by business for your tax reporting.
- Real-time estimations of how much you should set aside for taxes based on disclosed data allow you to budget accordingly.
- Hurdlr uses machine learning to find tax deductions applicable to you.
Quickbooks Self-Employed is a tax software developed by Intuit for self-employed individuals such as gig workers, independent contractors, online sellers, and small business owners. Equipped with expense and income tracking, invoicing, and tax calculation tools, this is a good option for those who want to manage their gig worker tax bills but don’t need a full-fledged accounting tool.
Aside from its core features, QuickBooks can also import transaction data directly from bank accounts or payment gateways that you connect to your account. It also lets you mark transactions, so you can separate personal and business expenses. The platform also generates reports such as profit and loss statements, tax summaries, and mileage logs, so preparing tax documents are quicker than ever.
- GPS mileage tracking
- Trip categorization
- Expense importing and sorting
- Receipt photo capture and matching
- Built-in reports
- Automatic tax estimation
- Multi-user support
- Data export to Schedule C form
- TurboTax integration
- Online tax payment
Price: QuickBooks Self-Employed offers three subscription plans which are priced depending on the functionalities you need. Their most basic plan is $15/month, but they also offer advanced plans bundled with Intuit TurboTax Self-Employed. However, this can set you back by $25-$35/month, depending on the plan you choose.
Why It’s Great for Gig Workers
- QuickBooks Self-Employed gives you the option to add your accountant or bookkeeper as a collaborator. This makes it easy to share information on your taxes.
- Basic invoicing features makes billing clients easy.
- The app has a tax checklist that gig workers can review regularly, so they know exactly what they need to prepare for tax filing season.
Make Gig Worker Tax Reporting and Filing Simple
Being a gig worker has its perks—you have a flexible schedule and can choose your projects, for example. However, this freedom comes with the responsibility of having to file taxes on your own.
Whether you recently became a gig worker due to the COVID-19 pandemic or are a veteran freelancer still getting lost on tax terms and requirements, using tools like those mentioned above can help you bring order to the chaos of filing season.
These gig worker tax tools aside, you can also choose platforms for freelancing that document how much you receive for projects. For instance, if you use one of the top apps for finding babysitting gigs—like Call Emmy—you can get detailed breakdowns of the jobs you took on, so income monitoring is fuss-free. Plus, as a bonus, Call Emmy makes it easy for you to find flexible childcare gigs.
Having these platforms by your side as you take on projects can help you diligently track work expenses and income. This way, you can make quick work of filing season and avoid missing out on tax deductions!