Quick Questions about Taxes - 1099-misc and mileage deductions

DS (college graduate) has a full time job with a W-2 and also works seasonally for his alma mater as a marching band instructor. He received a 1009-misc for the $3000 one-time payment. Because he does drive to the school to instruct and he also writes music for the band at home, shouldn’t write off his mileage and computer/internet usage? Without deductions, he’ll owe $900.

Last year, he used Turbo Tax and it was easy peasy with a W-2. But now he has a 1099 - we’ve read that it could give him the opportunity to write off certain work expenses. The decision to take write offs will require him to upgrade the Turbo Tax program and that’s also why we’re asking.

He’s definitely entitled to mileage. Just use the per mile figure, since I doubt he would have kept records showing what he paid for “business” use versus “personal” use. :slight_smile: Internet gets you into home office territory, and I doubt you want to go there. It’s very complicated and probably won’t matter much. Take the mileage and hope it helps enough. Don’t forget the Social Security self-employment portion.

Don’t rely on me or any other unqualified strangers for tax advice. That said, I would consider treating band instruction as a part time business and put all related expenses on the business schedule (C?). It would seem reasonable to deduct all travel expenses and a fair amount of other music related expenses from gross income, leaving only a modest “profit”.

Thank you for your replies. It seems only fair that DS take some of the deductions and show a modest “profit” rather than do nothing. He is a graphic designer and I also assume he may have opportunities for some side jobs that will also be a 1099 situation. I will suggest that he start keeping good records.

My kid does a LOT of 1099 work. He doesn’t keep good records…he keeps EXCELLENT records…and that is what your son should do if he is going to do independent contract work.

He should save all receipts, and keep written documentation of all expenses, and payments. Everything.

And yes, my kid needed the next level up of Turbo Tax to deal,with this.

Well, I’m not a tax professional, but (as an attorney) I’m also not a completely “unqualified stranger,” so I’ll repeat that mileage is a legitimate deduction [yes, form C and possibly schedule 2016 as well, I believe], but I’d be very careful going beyond that, since it is very hard to substantiate what proportion of the use of other things [computer, internet, phone] can be allocated to business versus personal use. Personally, I would not only not push the boundaries; I wouldn’t even open the door. If your son starts bringing in more income from these side jobs, he needs to get some advice from a pro about how to allocate expenses and how to substantiate them. Right now, I doubt he could do so, and he should take a very conservative approach to his taxes IMO. Best, ATS

The real issue is if he is really a 1099 candidate or if the college is skirting their requirements as an employer.

A large percentage of people receiving 1099s should really be getting w-2’s but the employer is pushing costs on to them.

Forget TurboTax (that is, if he’s using the online version). They pretend like it’s free, but it’s rarely free, and before you know it, you’re sending them over $100 for their “free” product. My son’s tax returns are extremely simple, but that was what it was costing. I started reading reviews online, and ended up on Freetaxusa.com. Easy, straightforward, cost maybe $12.95 for his state version. I don’t mind so much that TT rips you off, but they are so misleading, and you don’t find out until the end. The other website was exactly as advertised.

There are some great apps to track mileage and other reimbursable expenses.

@busdriver11, thanks for the tip. DS used freetaxUSA and paid $12.95.