This guest post is brought to you by Intuit's QuickBooks Self-Employed staff. As a reminder: Lyft isn't able to provide tax advice.
The deadline to file your 2015 taxes is next week, on April 18. If you haven't filed quite yet, you're not alone! Here's your tax to-do list.
1. Take some time to plan.
Don't know where to start? Try estimating how much you owe. That way, you can budget accordingly. If you need more time, consider filing for an extension. You'll avoid a penalty and give yourself a chance to get organized.
2. Organize your self-employment income.
Head to the Driver Dashboard for a summary of your last year's income, along with links to any 1099 forms that you qualified for. Remember, you'll only get a 1099 if you met the minimum reporting thresholds ($20,000 in earnings and 200 rides for a 1099-K, and $600 in bonuses for the 1099-MISC). Even if you don't receive a form, you're still required to report your income to the IRS.
3. Track your expenses.
No one wants to pay more on their taxes than necessary. Consolidate all of the expenses you've incurred from your time earning on the road, including passenger treats, cell phone bills, and car maintenance. When you file, you can reduce you tax liability (and keep more of your hard-earned money) by choosing the right deduction method for you.
4. Avoid an audit.
To claim an expense, the deduction needs to be considered ordinary and necessary. That's what the IRS looks for in an audit: the amount, business justification, date incurred, category of spend, and proof of payment. That's why we recommend using QuickBooks Self-Employed, which imports this information directly from your bank account.
5. Put it all together.
Now that your income and expenses are organized, it’s time to calculate the taxes owed from your rideshare business. There are two ways to do this using the Schedule C Form 1040: manually enter each category's subtotal, or let QuickBooks Self-Employed do it for you. When you're ready to file, simply export your completed Schedule C to TurboTax or a tax professional.