Taxes for sole proprietors

If you are your entire business, you need to know a fair amount about taxes. Our post on freelancer tax tips is a good place to start: it explains self-employment taxes, estimated taxes, and why they all seem like so damn much. The next post deals in more depth with estimated taxes and their pitfalls.

Estimated taxes are paid quarterly—sort of. The due dates are generally as follows:

  • April 15 for the period January 1 through March 31. That’s a normal quarter, so cool.
  • June 15 for the period April 1 through May 31. This is only two months, who knows why?
  • September 15 for the period June 1 through August 31. That’s three months, but not the standard quarter.
  • January 15 of the following year for the period September 1 through December 31. This finally gets back to the normal quarter period.

So you’re paying quarterly estimated taxes, but they’re not really quarterly, even though the standard way to estimate them is to divide your previous year’s total tax by four.

By the way, David Foster Wallace’s posthumous novel, The Pale King, is about taxes. So that’s interesting, or not.