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Tax Tips for Early Intervention Therapists: Be Prepared, Not Surprised

by Ann Reese and Christie Raymond


For therapists transitioning to independent contractor status, tax season can bring unexpected challenges. Unlike traditional employees whose taxes are automatically deducted from their paychecks, independent contractors are responsible for managing their own tax obligations. To avoid last-minute stress and potential financial shocks, it's essential to prepare throughout the year. Here are some practical tips to help you stay organized and on top of your taxes.

 

1. Set Aside Funds Regularly:

As an independent contractor, taxes aren't withheld from your earnings, which means you're responsible for paying both income taxes and self-employment taxes (including FICA) on your own. To avoid being caught off guard by a hefty tax bill, set aside a portion of your earnings regularly. Aim to save at least 20% of your income for taxes, though your actual tax rate may vary depending on your specific circumstances.

 

2. Keep Detailed Records:

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Accurate record-keeping is crucial for maximizing deductions and ensuring compliance with tax laws. Whether you opt for the shoe-box method, digital scanning, or a combination of both, make sure to keep all business-related receipts organized and categorized throughout the year. This will streamline the tax preparation process and help you claim all eligible deductions.

 

3. Separate Business and Personal Finances:

Maintaining separate bank accounts and credit cards for your business expenses is not only good practice but also essential for financial clarity and compliance. Mixing personal and business finances can complicate tax filing and may even jeopardize the limited liability protection offered by forming an LLC. Keep your business transactions distinct to simplify accounting and tax preparation.

 

4. Understand the Role of an LLC:

The main purpose of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is to limit personal liability of its’ owner and gives the business its own legal identity. While forming an LLC can offer personal asset protection, it is important to understand that it won't necessarily reduce your tax burden. The tax implications of an LLC depend on various factors, and it's essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding. Additionally, remember that an LLC requires separate tax filings and may involve additional administrative burdens.


Beginning January 1, 2024, reporting companies (corporations, limited liability companies, and any other entities created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state) will have a legal requirement to report beneficial ownership information to FinCEN. The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) requires small businesses to report Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The requirements for filing are the responsibility of those entities required to file. A reporting company created or registered to do business before January 1, 2024, will have until January 1, 2025, to file its initial BOI report.

This information is based on information provided in the following FinCEN report: https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/BOI_Small_Compliance_Guide.v1.1-FINAL.pdf. Additional guidance may also be found at https://www.fincen.gov/boi-faqs.   

 

5. Consider Professional Assistance:

Navigating tax laws and regulations can be complex, especially for those new to independent contracting. Consulting with an accountant or tax professional can provide invaluable guidance tailored to your specific situation. An expert can help you maximize deductions, minimize tax liabilities, and ensure compliance with all legal requirements. Investing in professional assistance can ultimately save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

 

6. Plan for the Future:

Tax season offers an excellent opportunity to review your financial situation and plan for the future. Evaluate your income, expenses, and savings goals to make informed decisions about budgeting, retirement planning, and investment strategies. Taking a proactive approach to financial planning can help you achieve long-term stability and success in your career.

 

Common Tax Write-Offs for Therapists:

 

As a therapist, there are several expenses you may be able to deduct on your taxes, including:

  1. Professional Development: Costs associated with continuing education, conferences, workshops, and professional memberships.

  2. Office Supplies: Expenses for items such as paper, pens, printer ink, and other office supplies used in your practice.

  3. Travel Expenses: Deductible mileage for business-related travel, including trips to clients' homes or other therapy locations.

  4. Home Office Expenses: If you have a dedicated space in your home used exclusively for your therapy practice, you may be able to deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage, utilities, and other home office expenses.

  5. Health Insurance Premiums: If you pay for your own health insurance, you may be able to deduct the cost of premiums.

  6. Technology Expenses: Costs associated with computers, software, internet service, and other technology used in your therapy practice.

  7. Marketing and Advertising: Expenses for promoting your therapy services, such as website development, advertising, and business cards.

  8. Professional Services: Fees paid to accountants, lawyers, or other professionals for services related to your therapy practice.

 

These are just a few examples of common tax write-offs for therapists. Check out our List of Common Tax Deductions below. Be sure to keep detailed records of all your expenses and consult with a tax professional to determine which deductions you're eligible to claim.

List of Common Tax Deductions
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Conclusion:

 

Preparing for tax season as an early intervention therapist requires diligence, organization, and foresight. By setting aside funds regularly, maintaining detailed records, separating business and personal finances, understanding the implications of forming an LLC, seeking professional assistance when needed, planning for the future, and taking advantage of common tax write-offs, you can navigate tax season with confidence and peace of mind.

 

Remember, while the information provided here can offer general guidance, it's essential to consult with a qualified accountant or tax professional for personalized advice tailored to your specific circumstances. By taking proactive steps and staying informed, you can effectively manage your tax obligations and focus on what matters most—providing quality care to the families you serve.

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