Yes, your mom's right about the self-employment tax. When you are paid on a 1099-MISC the IRS considers you self-employed (you are the business). You are required to pay self-employment tax (Social Security and Medicare taxes) if your net self-employment income is at least $400. TurboTax asks questions when you enter your 1099-MISC to make sure you report the income correctly. If you don't have any expenses to deduct for your IT work you don't need to upgrade to TurboTax Self-Employed.