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A Freelancer’s Guide to QuickBooks Self-Employed

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QuickBooks Self-Employed (QBSE) is online software that makes accounting duties more manageable and organized for freelancers or those in the gig economy who are required to file a Schedule C.

Creating Excel spreadsheets and storing thousands of receipts can become a jumbled mess when trying to keep your business finances in good order.

If you are an Uber driver, independent contractor, or do other types of freelancing work, QuickBooks Self-Employed is designed to make your life a whole lot easier.

Let’s check out the features of QuickBooks Self-Employed and see if it can be beneficial to you as a freelancer.

Plans and Pricing

Let’s get down to the most important info you need: price.

QuickBooks Self-Employed makes it easy because they only offer two plans to choose from.

The Self-Employed plan costs $10 per month, and the Self-Employed Tax Bundle costs $17 per month.

They run promotions often where you can get as much as 50% off the first three months for signing up, so check the website often.

Self-Employed Plan

The Self-Employed Plan gives you the vital tools needed to keep your freelancing business on track.

Cost: $10 per month

Platforms: Desktop online, desktop mobile, and mobile app (not available as standalone software)
With this plan you can easily:

Separate business and personal finances

Every freelancer and small business owner knows that keeping your personal expenses and business expenses separate is a must when you are getting ready to file your yearly tax return.

You can link your bank accounts and credit card accounts to get real-time tracking on expenses and business income.

QuickBooks Self-Employed lets you keep track of where your money is going by automatically sorting out your bank, credit card, or PayPal transactions into categories.

You can also take photos of receipts and add them to your expenses.

This makes itemizing your deductions easy when tax time comes around.

Track mileage automatically

If your business requires you to travel or meet up with clients, then you know that a big percentage of your deductions comes from logging your miles.

By logging in on the QuickBooks Self-Employed mobile app, you can track mileage whenever you drive for business purposes.

The app is available on iOS and Android.

Estimate your quarterly taxes

You can eliminate the need for an accountant because QuickBooks Self-Employed automatically calculates your quarterly taxes for you.

It also gives you reminders for due dates so you can avoid quarterly tax late fees, and it also organizes your expenses for instant tax filing.

Create invoices for clients

Instead of using a separate software or app to send invoices to clients, you can send them instantly from QuickBooks Self-Employed.

This feature lets you accept online payments, and you can customize your invoice template that fits your style.

If a client is late on paying, you have the option of sending that client a reminder that an invoice is past due.

Run financial reports

You can run reports on what matters the most to your business.

Gain information on profit and loss, tax summary, and business expenses.

You can also customize reports so you can get a better insight on specific business needs.

Self-Employed Tax Bundle Plan

The Self-Employed Tax Bundle plan gives you all the tools of the Self-Employed Plan listed above, with the addition of a few extras.

Cost: $17 per month

Platforms: Desktop online, desktop mobile, and mobile app (not available as standalone software)
The extra additions on this plan include:

Tax return filing

QuickBooks is in the Intuit TurboTax family.

If you are a sole proprietor who files a federal tax return with TurboTax, the cost to use their service starts at $119.99.

If you file your state tax return, that’s an additional $39.99, bringing your total to around $160 to file with TurboTax.

When you upgrade to the Tax Bundle plan, you get the benefit of filing one state and one federal tax return, which is included in this plan.

Paying quarterly taxes direct from QuickBooks Self-Employed

The Self-Employed plan only lets you calculate your quarterly taxes.

This plan lets you calculate and pay your quarterly taxes online directly from QuickBooks.

Transfer information to your TurboTax account

QuickBooks Self-Employed is seamlessly integrated with your TurboTax online profile when you purchase the Tax Bundle plan.

This makes importing all of your business’s financial info and other income easy.

Is QuickBooks Self-Employed Right for Me?

There are a number of different options that QuickBooks offers other than QuickBooks Self-Employed, which we will get into later.

This accounting software may be a good fit for you if you:

  • Are a freelancer or sole proprietor with no employees (the software doesn’t have any payroll functions)
  • Do not employ any contractors (if you employ a contractor and pay them more than $600, you would need to file a 1099 Form, and QuickBooks Self-Employed does not support this)
  • File a Schedule C with Form 1040
  • Make the majority of transactions using a credit or debit card
  • Are an LLC business owner with no partners
  • Run a side business

If you don’t meet the criteria above, check out the Small Business plan of QuickBooks Online.

These plans are geared towards LLCs with partners and those with businesses that possess a more complex infrastructure.

How to Use the 30-Day Free Trial

30-Day QuickBooks Self Employed trial
On the fence?

You have the option to start a 30-day free trial, and the best part is that you don’t have to submit any credit card information.

This gives you some peace of mind and lets you try their product without any risk.

Once you reach the end of your 30-day trial, you will receive an email to ask you to continue your subscription.

Getting Started With QuickBooks

Once you get successfully logged in through the 30-day free trial, you can then experience all of the benefits for yourself.

There are six tabs where you will get all of your information, so let’s go through them one by one.
QuickBooks Self-Employed dashboard

The Dashboard

The dashboard has a simplistic, user-friendly feel.

Everything is organized in tabs called Home, Transactions, Miles, Taxes, Reports, and Invoices.

The reports available on the dashboard are profit and loss, expense tracking, accounts info, invoices, mileage, and estimated tax.

Transactions Tab

The transactions tab will show you all of your business income and spending information in a convenient bar graph.

It will give you a list of transactions with the amount, category, date, and type of transaction.

Miles Tab

You will need to download the QuickBooks Self-Employed mobile app for information to show here.

The mobile app will use its mileage tracker and record how many miles you use.

Via the app, you can set it to track every time you get into your car automatically, or you can manually track your miles by turning the function on and off.

You will see miles driven, mileage deduction, date, and distance of each trip.

Taxes Tab

The Taxes tab has two sub-categories.

The Annual Taxes tab gives you info about your business deductions, schedule C deductions, and taxable profit.

You will also see an estimated tax payment which will be based on all of your deductions and your personal and business incomes.

The Quarterly Taxes tab tells you what your recommended payments are for each quarter, as well as the amount you have to pay for each of those quarters.

Reports Tab

The reports show you four types of reports you can export or print out.

You can customize these reports by date and by tax year. These reports are:

  • Profit and loss
  • Receipts
  • Tax summary
  • Tax details

Invoices Tab

Here you can create invoices to send to clients directly from QuickBooks Self-Employed.

You have the option of setting up online payments via Automated Clearing House (ACH), direct deposit, or PayPal.

FAQs About QuickBooks Self-Employed

With any product comes certain risks, especially if you are paying for the service.

Here are some questions you may have about QuickBooks Self-Employed.

1. Is QuickBooks Self-Employed a good option for freelancers?


This product was designed to meet the business accounting needs for freelancers and individuals who are the sole proprietor of their companies.

If you are a Lyft driver, have an Etsy shop, or do general contracting, QuickBooks Self-Employed is perfect for you to track expenses.

2. What other plans does QuickBooks offer?

Aside from plans for self-employed individuals, QuickBooks offers programs for small businesses and accountants.

They also have a stand-alone desktop version you can buy for a one-time fee. Click here for more info.

3. Do the mobile app and online desktop version have the same features?

No, the main purpose of the mobile app is to track your mileage.

If you want to pay your quarterly taxes, send invoices, and get detailed financial reports, you will need to login on the online desktop version.

4. Is QuickBooks Self-Employed secure for use?


The program uses 128-bit SSL encryption, and you get logged out of your account after about three minutes of inactivity.

To learn more, you can visit their security page.

Try the 30-Day Free Trial

If you are a freelancer looking to keep track of your expenses and want to organize your tax details and business income better, we would suggest looking into QuickBooks Self-Employed.

With its powerful business tools combined with its affordability, this program will help you get a simple start on mastering your accounting needs when it comes to your business.

Give the 30-day risk-free trial a try today.

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