Income or Loss From Your Business or Profession
As a self-employed person, you report income and expenses from your business or profession separately from your other income, such as income from wages. On Schedule C, you report your business income and itemize your expenses. Any net profit is subject to self-employment tax, as well as regular tax. A net profit can also be the basis of deductible contributions to a SEP or Keogh retirement plan, as discussed in Chapter 41.
If you work out of your home, you may deduct home office expenses.
If you claim a loss on Schedule C, be prepared to show that you regularly and substantially participate in the business. Otherwise, your loss may be considered a passive loss deductible only from passive income, as discussed in Chapter 10.
If you have a business loss that exceeds your other income, you may carry back the loss and claim a refund. For a loss in a tax year ending in 2012, the carryback period is generally two years (40.18).
If you have no employees and business expenses of $5,000 or less, you may be able to file a simplified schedule called Schedule C-EZ (40.6).