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Navigating Taxes as a 1099 Employee: What to Expect When Earning $34,000


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Congratulations on securing your side job as a 1099 employee! Working as an independent contractor can offer more flexibility and control over your work, but it also comes with the responsibility of managing your taxes. If this is your first time working as a 1099 contractor and you've earned approximately $34,000, you're in the right place. In this blog post, we'll explore what you can expect in terms of taxes, tax deductions, and some tips to help you prepare for your tax season.

Understanding the Basics

First and foremost, it's crucial to understand that as a 1099 employee, you are considered self-employed, which means you're responsible for both your share of income tax and self-employment tax. Self-employment tax covers Social Security and Medicare, and it's typically higher than what you would pay as an employee in a traditional job because you're responsible for both the employer and employee portions.

Income Tax

Let's start by looking at your income tax liability. The amount you'll owe in income tax depends on various factors, including your total earnings, deductions, and credits. The $34,000 you've earned will be subject to income tax, but you'll be able to deduct certain business-related expenses from your total income.


One of the advantages of being a 1099 contractor is that you can deduct certain business-related expenses to lower your taxable income. Common deductions for independent contractors include expenses related to your work, such as:

  1. Home office expenses
  2. Supplies and equipment
  3. Mileage and transportation costs
  4. Business-related travel
  5. Professional fees and subscriptions
  6. Health insurance premiums (if you're not eligible for employer-sponsored health insurance)
  7. Retirement contributions (e.g., a Simplified Employee Pension or SEP IRA)

Deducting these expenses can significantly reduce your taxable income and, consequently, the amount of income tax you owe.

Self-Employment Tax

In addition to income tax, self-employment tax is another critical aspect to consider. Self-employment tax covers Social Security and Medicare, and as a self-employed individual, you'll be responsible for both the employer and employee portions. The self-employment tax rate is currently 15.3%, but keep in mind that you'll only pay Social Security tax on the first $147,000 of your net earnings in 2023.

Calculating Your Estimated Taxes

To estimate your tax liability as a 1099 contractor, you can follow these general steps:

  1. Calculate your net income: Subtract your business-related deductions from your total earnings ($34,000 in your case).
  2. Calculate your self-employment tax: Multiply your net income by 15.3%. This represents the combined Social Security and Medicare tax.
  3. Estimate your income tax: Use the IRS tax brackets for the year in which you earned the income to determine your income tax rate. Apply this rate to your net income.
  4. Add your self-employment tax and income tax to get your estimated total tax liability.

It's essential to remember that tax laws and rates can change, so consult with a tax professional or use tax preparation software to get a more accurate estimate.

Quarterly Estimated Taxes

Since you are self-employed, you are also responsible for making quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS. This helps you avoid underpayment penalties and makes your tax payments more manageable throughout the year. The deadlines for these payments are generally in April, June, September, and January of the following year. Be sure to stay on top of these deadlines to avoid penalties.


Working as a 1099 employee can be a rewarding experience, offering independence and the potential for higher earnings. However, it also comes with the responsibility of managing your taxes. If you've earned approximately $34,000 in your first year as a 1099 contractor, you can expect to owe both income tax and self-employment tax. Remember to keep thorough records of your income and expenses, consult with a tax professional if needed, and make your quarterly estimated tax payments to stay on top of your tax obligations. By being proactive and informed, you can make the tax season a smoother experience and ensure you're setting aside enough to meet your obligations while enjoying the benefits of self-employment.