QuickBooks Self-Employed is a software program designed for self-employed individuals who are required to file a Schedule C, such as freelancers, realtors, Uber drivers and independent consultants. There are two pricing plans that start at $10 per month. You can track all income and expenses, mileage to and from clients and file your taxes with the QuickBooks Self-Employed TurboTax bundle.
If you are currently using an Excel spreadsheet or stuffing receipts in a shoebox, QuickBooks Self-Employed allows you to scan and categorize expenses as with just a swipe in their mobile app. Currently, you can choose between a free 30-day trial or up to 50% off the purchase of QuickBooks Self-Employed.
QuickBooks Self-Employed vs. QuickBooks Online
|Create customer invoices|
|Import data from another QuickBooks program|
|Automatically create tax due date reminders|
|Separate personal expenses from business expenses|
|1 free federal and state tax return filing with TurboTax|
|Track sales & sales tax|
|Pay 1099 contractors|
Note: The above table compares our recommended editions of QuickBooks Self-Employed TurboTax Bundle and QuickBooks Online Plus. If you need to track sales tax, manage bills, track inventory or pay 1099 contractors, then you will need to go with the QuickBooks Online Plus plan. Check out our QuickBooks Online Comparison to learn more about the Simple Start and Essentials editions of QuickBooks Online.
QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Self-Employed
If you are a freelancer or solopreneur who files a Schedule C, then QuickBooks Self-Employed will work for you. However, if you are a partnership or a corporation, then QuickBooks Online Plus is going to be a better fit for you.
When to Use QuickBooks Self-Employed
In general, QuickBooks Self-Employed will work for individuals or businesses that meet the following criteria:
- Files a Schedule C with Form 1040
- Pays majority of expenses using a debit card, credit card or cash (minimal paper checks)
- Writes no more than five checks per month
- Invoices no more than 10 customers per month
- Does not have any employees (QuickBooks Self-Employed does not have payroll functionality)
- Does not employ any contractors
If you do employ contractors, and they are paid $600 or more in a calendar year, then you will need to complete 1099 reporting. QuickBooks Self-Employed does not support this function.
Get started today with QuickBooks Self-Employed and you can save up to 50 percent off for the first three months. Plans start at just $12 a month.
When to Use QuickBooks Online
If you file taxes as a partnership, S-Corp or C-Corp and you need to perform one or more of the following tasks in your business, then QuickBooks Online Plus is going to be a better fit than QuickBooks Self-Employed:
- Buys and sells products, like a retail store
- Manages heavy accounts payable
- Has employees who work for you
- Hires 1099 contractors who are paid at least $600 or more within the fiscal year
Plans start at $50 per month for QuickBooks Online Plus and you can get 50% off for your first 3 months.
QuickBooks Self-Employed Cost & Pricing
QuickBooks Self-Employed offers the following two pricing options.
|QuickBooks Self-Employed||QuickBooks Self-Employed TurboTax Bundle|
The TurboTax Bundle includes the following features that are not offered in the standalone Self-Employed version:
- Export Schedule C data to TurboTax
- One federal and one state tax return filing are included
- Pay quarterly taxes online directly from QuickBooks Self-Employed
QuickBooks Self-Employed was created for freelancers who don’t need all of the bells and whistles included in QuickBooks Online but still need a software program that addresses their basic needs like manage income and expenses, track miles to and from clients and transfer the data to a tax return easily. While you can’t manage unpaid bills or print checks, it’s still a great program that meets the needs of many freelancers, Uber and Lyft drivers and part-time property investors.
Intuit QuickBooks Self-Employed Features
QuickBooks Self-Employed will help you organize your income and expenses with all of the many features that are included. We have listed below the key features that are included in QuickBooks Self-Employed:
Track Your Mileage Automatically
If you drive for business reasons, you can deduct the cost of mileage or actual vehicle expenses. QuickBooks Self-Employed has a mileage tracker app that you can download on your Android or IOS phone, and it will automatically track your start and stop locations for all of your trips. Below is a screenshot of what this looks like:
Connect Your Bank & Credit Card Accounts
Similar to QuickBooks Online, you can download your bank and credit card transactions directly into your QuickBooks Self-Employed account so that they can be categorized to complete the Schedule C.
Separate Personal Expenses From Business Expenses
This is done by setting up a category for personal expenses during the bank account setup. Any expense that comes out of your bank account and is not related to your business should be categorized as personal expenses so that it is not included as a tax deduction.
For example, if your rent check is downloaded from your bank into your QuickBooks Self-Employed account, and you do not work from home or claim the home office deduction, this would be considered a personal expense and should be categorized that way.
If you don’t have a separate bank account for your business, you need to set one up. It is not a good idea to commingle personal funds with business funds. If you are ever audited by the IRS, and you do not have separate business accounts, I can promise you that it will not go well. Check out the top business checking accounts we recommend for small businesses.
Attach a Receipt to a Transaction
Create Tax Payment Due Date Reminders
Based on the tax profile that you complete during setup, QuickBooks Self-Employed will project your annual profit, provide you with estimated tax payment recommendations and provide alerts for all tax due dates.
Transfer All Information to Schedule C in TurboTax
With the purchase of a TurboTax Bundle, you get QuickBooks Self-Employed combined with TurboTax Home & Business. This makes it easy to transfer all of your Schedule C information into TurboTax to complete your tax return. If you do your own taxes, this is the plan you should subscribe to because TurboTax will make tax time a breeze by calculating all of the deductions that you qualify for and will lower your tax liability.
File Both Federal & State Taxes
With the purchase of a TurboTax Bundle, QuickBooks Self-Employed includes both a federal and state tax return filing for free. However, the product does not currently handle state quarterly estimates or tax payments.
Run Financial Reports Quickly
There are three reports you can download easily and email to your accountant for tax filing:
- Profit and loss statement
- Tax summary
- Tax detail
Having the ability to run these reports will give you insight into how profitable your business is as well as provide the details of your estimated tax liability.
Access Real-time Data
On the homepage of QuickBooks Self-Employed, there is a dashboard where you can see the most up-to-date information on:
- Business profit
- Business spending
- Bank and credit card account balances
Go ahead and sign up for a 30-day free trial so you can download the QuickBooks Self-Employed app and start tracking your miles and taking a snapshot of those receipts so they will automatically populate in the program for you. There is no risk — and no credit card required.
QuickBooks Self-Employed Reviews
QuickBooks Self-Employed customers like how user-friendly the program is and they also like the automatic mileage tracker app. On the negative side, customers don’t like that it is missing some of the features you would expect in an accounting software product like the ability to create recurring transactions and track accounts payable.
For more information, visit or QuickBooks Self Employed customer review page.
The Bottom Line
If you are a freelancer or solopreneur with no employees or contractors, QuickBooks Self-Employed was made for you. You can sign up for the standard version and then upgrade to the TurboTax bundle whenever you’re ready.
If you are ready to ditch that Excel spreadsheet and get your income and expenses organized, sign up for a 30-day, risk-free trial of QuickBooks Self-Employed and check it out for yourself.