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FreshBooks 2018 Tax Report

Freelancers spend 183 million hours filing taxes each year

With tax season underway, FreshBooks wanted to get a better understanding of the burden American freelancers bear every April.

The FreshBooks 2018 Tax Report is a subset of the second annual Self-Employment Report, which surveyed more than 2,700 people in the U.S. who work full time — either as traditional employees, independent professionals, or small business owners.

Freelancers take 3x as long to file taxes as traditional employees The average freelancer can spend up to 10 hours filing their taxes (20% say they spend more than that). In contrast, 80% of traditional employees say they spend less than 5 hours filing taxes.

The majority of freelancers will outsource their taxes The self-employed are 50% more likely than traditional employees to pay someone else to do their business and/or personal taxes—putting an additional financial burden onto them.

50% of freelancers say the tax system doesn’t benefit them Those with traditional W2’s can simply “fill in the blanks” when filing. But there is no simple, consistent filing process for the self-employed, so freelancers have to work harder to get the returns owed to them.

Instead of filing taxes, freelancers would rather…

  1. Get stuck in line at the DMV (31%)
  2. Draw the middle seat on a long plane ride (30%)
  3. Shave their heads (16%)
  4. Have major dental work (15%)
  5. Contract the flu (15%)

Survey Methodology FreshBooks conducted this study in collaboration with Research Now. More than 2,700 people who work full time – either as traditional employees, independent professionals, or small business owners – were surveyed online in November of 2017. Samples have been weighted (as required) to reflect various characteristics of their target populations (e.g., age, gender and industry) leveraging data from the U.S. Census, U.S. Small Business Administration, the NAICS Association and other sources. The study’s margin of error is +/- 2.3% at 95% confidence.

For more information contact Carly Moulton, research@freshbooks.com

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