Anyone who operates a business as a sole proprietor must fill out Schedule C when filing his or her annual tax return. IRS form Schedule C accompanies the main tax return form, 1040, for taxpayers who must report a profit or loss from their business. This schedule asks about the taxpayer’s business name, product or service, business address, accounting method, gross receipts or sales, and cost of goods sold. This form is also where business owners report their tax-deductible business expenses, such as advertising, car and truck expenses, commissions and fees, supplies, utilities, home office expenses and many more. A business expense must be ordinary and necessary to be listed as a tax deduction on Schedule C. Small business owners also use Schedule C to take a deduction for the use of a personal vehicle for business purposes and to report when it was placed in service for business purposes and the number of miles it was driven for business use.

Using the entries on Schedule C, the taxpayer calculates the business’s net profit or loss for income tax purposes. This figure then is transferred to form 1040 and is used in calculating the taxpayer’s overall tax liability for the year. Taxpayers who operate more than one sole proprietorship must file a separate Schedule C for each business.

There are a few other less common scenarios that require the use of Schedule C. These include earning wages and incurring expenses from being statutory employee, receiving income and taking deductions from certain qualified joint ventures, and receiving certain income reported on Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income. Also, sole proprietors engaged in certain lines of business may have to file other forms in addition to Schedule C. For example, landlords may need to file Schedule E to report rental income that is not subject to self-employment tax, and sole proprietors with a home office will need to file form 8829 to claim a deduction for expenses related to the business use of their home.

  1. What are some examples of industries that cannot claim cost of goods sold (COGS)?

    Generally speaking, the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, allows you to deduct the cost of goods that you either make or ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What's the difference between IRS Forms 1040EZ and 1040A?

    Two of the forms used for filing individual federal income tax returns are IRS Form 1040A and IRS Form 1040EZ (the third ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I use the IRS Free File tax forms?

    Free File is a way for taxpayers to prepare and file their federal taxes online for free. The service is available to individuals ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are catch-up contributions included in the 415 limit?

    Unlike regular employee deferrals, catch-up contributions are not included in the 415 limit. While there is an annual limit ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are personal loans tax deductible?

    Interest paid on personal loans is not tax deductible. If you take out a loan to buy a car for personal use or to cover other ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) be used for Lasik?

    The owner of a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can use money from the account on various eye surgery procedures, including ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Tax Forms Every Investor Must Understand

    Recent legislation has added a few new items to the list of tax forms that taxpayers must use to report their investment income. Know which forms you will need to file your taxes this year.
  2. Taxes

    Retired? 7 Tips for Cutting Taxes Before 2015 Ends

    As 2015 nears its end, here are some financial moves retirees can make before December 31 that can help to lower your tax bill.
  3. Taxes

    How & Where to File Form 1040 (And Which Version)

    All taxpayers need to know three things when filing a 1040: which form to use, how to file and where to file. After reading this, you'll know all three.
  4. Savings

    Should You Look at 529 Plans Outside Your State?

    529 savings plans are not restricted by geography. So if your in-state offering has high fees or poor investment choices, look elsewhere.
  5. Taxes

    Revisiting the Internet Sales Tax Bill: 2013 Vs. 2015

    Learn about the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015 being reviewed by congress and the differences between it and the 2013 Marketplace Fairness Act.
  6. Taxes

    5 States Without Sales Tax

    Learn about the five states that do not charge sales taxes and about other taxes the states levy instead in order to generate revenue.
  7. Investing Basics

    How to Deduct Your Stock Losses

    Held onto a stock for too long? Selling at a loss is never ideal, but it is possible to minimize the damage. Here's how.
  8. Investing Basics

    Internet Sales Tax's Effect on Interstate Commerce

    Find out how a national Internet sales tax could affect interstate commerce, and why some bigger online retailers are lobbying for such a tax.
  9. Taxes

    10 Money-Saving Year-End Tax Tips

    Getting organized well before the deadline will curb your frustration and your tax liability.
  10. Taxes

    2016 Tax Code Changes Add Some Wiggle Room

    It's never too early to prepare for tax season. Next year features a host of tax law changes. Check our handy list to see which ones apply to you.
  1. IRS Form 8379: Form 8379: Injured Spouse Allocation

    A tax form distributed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ...
  2. IRS Form 4868

    An IRS form that must be submitted by individuals who wish to ...
  3. Earnings Stripping

    Earnings Stripping is a commonly-used tactic by multinationals ...
  4. Skinny Down Distribution

    Skinny down distribution is corporate practice of slimming down ...
  5. Sales Tax

    A consumption tax imposed by the government on the sale of goods ...
  6. Earnings Before Interest & Tax - EBIT

    An indicator of a company's profitability, calculated as revenue ...

You May Also Like

Trading Center