What Do I Need to Know to File Schedule C?

Filing Schedule C
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Are you using Schedule C to file your business taxes? Small business owners who are filing business taxes as a sole proprietorship or single-member LLC must file using Schedule C - Profit or Loss from Business. Learn about the changes to Schedule C for the current tax year, how to prepare this form, and how and where to file it.

What is Schedule C?

Schedule C is the business tax return used by sole proprietors and by single-member LLC's  It's used to report net income for the small business. This income is included in the owner's income tax return along with other income.

Changes in Schedule C for 2019 Taxes

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has made several changes that affect small businesses. Read about the benefits and drawbacks to businesses from this new legislation.

Employer ID for single-member LLC. The IRS has changed the employer ID (EIN) requirement for Schedule C. Businesses set up a single-member LLC's must use the EIN issued to the LLC, not the EIN issued to you in your name "as a sole proprietor." 

Mileage rate. On line 9, use the standard IRS business mileage rate for 2019 (58 cents a mile) for business driving) to calculate business mileage deductions.

Schedule C-EZ. Beginning in 2019, you can't use Schedule C-EZ to report your small business information on your tax return.

Who Must File Schedule C

If you operate your business as a sole proprietorship (that is, you have not designated a legal business entity like an LLC, corporation, or partnership), you must complete a Schedule C. If you operate your business as a single-member limited liability company (LLC), you also use Schedule C for your business income taxes.

Get Information for Schedule C

Before you begin to work on your Schedule C, you will need to gather certain end-of-year business information. You will need:

How to Complete Schedule C

This article has step-by-step instructions for completing Schedule C

Include Schedule C on Your Tax Return

Beginning with 2018 tax returns, the information on your net business income from line 31 of your Schedule C is added to your personal tax return on Schedule 1, Line 12: Business Income or Loss. This income is included with all other income sources to determine your total adjusted gross income tax liability for that year's taxes.

As a small business owner, you don't have taxes deducted from your income, so you may need to pay quarterly estimated taxes in your business income and for self-employment taxes, to avoid penalties.

Schedule C for All Businesses You Own

Yes, Schedule C is used to report the net income from one business. So if you have several small businesses that use Schedule C, you must complete this form for each business. Then, net income from totals all Schedule C's are added together on Schedule 1, Line 12 of your personal tax return .

Schedule C for Husband-Wife Businesses

If you and your spouse own a business as community property (in a community property state), you are a partnership. But you may be able to elect to be taxed as a Qualified Joint Venture (QJV. There are specific qualifications, and two-spouse LLCs can't generally qualify as a QJV. If you meet the criteria, you divide the income and expenses between the spouses, based on their share of the business. Then file two Schedule C forms, one for each spouse. Check with your tax advisor before attempting to file your business taxes as a qualified joint venture .

How to Correct Errors on Schedule C

To correct an error in Schedule C, you will need to file a corrected Schedule C as part of your amended personal tax return, using form 1040x. Read more about how to file Form 1040x to amend your tax return.

Don't Forget Self-Employment Taxes

The net income information on Schedule C is used to determine the amount of self-employment tax you owe (for Social Security/Medicare taxes); Schedule SE is used to calculate the self-employment tax amount. Schedule SE is a complicated form (even the simple version), so you may want to get help from a tax professional or use a tax preparation software program that includes business income. 

Other Schedules You May Need to File

If you have income (not personal income) or special deductions, you may need to file one or more of these schedules as part of your tax return, in addition to Schedule C:

Schedule C can be complicated, even for simple businesses, and you don't want to miss anything important. Get help from a tax professional or use business tax preparation software to prepare Schedule C, along with your personal tax return.

For more information:

IRS Publication 334 Tax Guide for Small Business is for individuals who use Schedule C.

The IRS Instructions for Schedule C includes many details and specific directions for each line item on this form.

Article Sources

  1. IRS. "Instructions for Schedule C Profit or Loss From Business." Page 2. Accessed June 22, 2020.

  2. IRS. "About Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040)." Accessed June 22, 2020.

  3. IRS. "Schedule C Profit or Loss From Business." Accessed June 22, 2020.

  4. IRS. "Form 334 Tax Guide for Small Business." Page 6. Accessed June 22, 2020.

  5. IRS. "Form 334 Tax Guide for Small Business." Page 3. Accessed June 22, 2020.

  6. IRS. "Instructions for Schedule C Profit or Loss From Business." Page C-2. Accessed June 22, 2020.