Tax planning when you work part-time

While some Americans only think about taxes in the weeks before April 15, part-time workers will likely need to keep on top of tax planning year-round. By knowing the rules, paying attention to withholdings and keeping an eye out for benefits all year, you’ll be able to maximize benefits and minimize pre-filing stress.

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What qualifies as part-time work?
For many companies, if you work fewer than 30–35 hours per week for an employer, you’re considered part-time. If you are an independent contractor or freelancer working part-time for multiple clients, you may also be considered self-employed.

19% of American workers are part-time.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2015

Are you aware of withholding?
In most full-time jobs, employees agree to a withholding amount when they start work, then forget about it. But for part-time workers, withholding may require more planning.

If you …
Have multiple jobs
Your employers may collectively withhold too much or too little from your paycheck. You can be proactive by checking the IRS withholding calculator then asking your employers for new Forms W-4 to update your withholdings accordingly.

Work part-time as an independent contractor
Your client likely won’t withhold any taxes from your pay. Plus, you’re responsible for Social Security and Medicare tax. With employees, the employer splits the cost of these taxes; as a contractor, you’re responsible for the full amount. You can find payment details on the IRS website.

12.4% Social Security tax
2.9% Medicare tax
0.9% Addition Medicare tax (for some higher earners)

Look for deductions
Here are some of the more common deductions that benefit part-time workers:

$0.54 per mile
Source: IRS

Mileage: Travel between two different jobs may be deductible.

Business expenses: You may be able to deduct certain unreimbursed expenses, such as union dues or subscriptions to professional journals.

Home office: If you work from home, you may be able to deduct associated expenses.*

*Home office space must be used exclusively for business, and the IRS has many requirements.

Uniforms and tools: Required clothing or certain tools can be deducted, as long as they’re not reimbursed or suitable for everyday use.

Insurance and fees: Unreimbursed business liability insurance premiums are generally tax deductible.

Health care: If your employer doesn’t pay for coverage, or if you’re self-employed, you may be able to deduct premium costs.

Keep in mind that to claim these deductions, you will likely be required to itemize.

Take advantage of tax credits
You may qualify for these if you work part-time.

Earned Income Credit:
The EIC is meant for working people with low to moderate income. It’s a refundable tax credit—you may qualify for a refund if your tax credit is greater than the taxes you owe.

Health care credit:
If you bought health insurance through the federal marketplace—especially if it was because you didn’t have access to employer-sponsored insurance—you may qualify for a tax credit.

One last thing …
If you’re not happy in your part-time job—perhaps you’re looking for full-time work—you may be eligible for the job-search tax deduction. As long as you’re looking in the same field of work, career counseling and other expenses are generally tax deductible. For additional details, check the IRS website.

Close Disclaimer
The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

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