New Intuit software crunches numbers for self-employed workers

From SFGate — Carolyn Said writes about a new offering from Intuit called quickbooks self employed that was developed to help freelancers, sole proprietors and independent contractors keep track of their expeneses and other tax data.  She writes:

“Freelancers have some unique needs, Chriss said. By shadowing some, Intuit found a propensity to co-mingle their business and personal expenses — meaning at tax time, they couldn’t claim all their business deductions. “They would buy printer paper and toilet paper at Target on one receipt, and there was no way to expense that printer paper,” Chriss said.

The solution: a quick way for freelancers to categorize expenses either by clicking in the computer software, or swiping left or right in the smartphone version after linking their credit cards and bank accounts.

“We tried to make it as drop-dead simple as possible,” Chriss said. And, yes, the swiping is reminiscent of the Tinder dating app. “It is pretty sexy to swipe left or right,” he deadpanned.

Another key feature, particularly for new freelancers: The software estimates the self-employment taxes due to the Internal Revenue Service each quarter. “For many, this is the first time they have to figure out how much to set aside for taxes,” Chriss said. “Invariably, they underestimate it.”

Intuit pitched the software as useful for people offering “peer-to-peer” rentals, such as Airbnb hosts. However, it lacks features to meet IRS requirements to record Airbnb revenues as rental income, a different category than self-employment earnings.

Eli Campos of Campbell has worked since last February as a driver for Lyft, Uber and restaurant-delivery service DoorDash while he looks into electrician courses. He used a beta version of Intuit’s software for several months and said he appreciates its ease of use and seamless connection with his financial accounts.

“Rather than having to crunch the numbers yourself, it does all the hard work for you,” he said. He already does his taxes with Intuit’s TurboTax. “The neat thing is it’s very easy to transfer the numbers over,” he said….

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