Line 18 isn't automatically filled out because it calls for you to make an estimation. Only you have an idea of what the amount might be.
See the instructions for Line 18 of Schedule SE in the IRS's 2020 Instructions for Schedule SE for guidance on what you need to enter. The instructions are very vague, but also open-ended, allowing you to use any reasonable method:
Use any reasonable method to divide the net profit or (loss) you reported on line 3 between (a) January 1, 2020, through March 26, 2020, and (b) March 27, 2020, through December 31, 2020. A reasonable method will accurately reflect the time when income was earned or accrued and deductible expenses were paid or incurred, depending on your method of accounting. In most cases, a proportional division of the amount reported on line 3 based upon the number of days in each period will be considered reasonable.
Well every the form has been filed and this is the first year its asking me this? Can someone from turbotax respond to this , it doesn’t ask for estimation it says from a march date toll december .. that form schedule c is in turbo tax and i thought should be figured out electronically like everything else.. what am i missing?
Gladys, what John the Turbotax person said in his reply above is that TurboTax knows your Total income you entered, but it doesn't know how much of that income came between January - March 26th and which part of the income is from March 27th to December 31st. Only you can know that. So figure out how much of your full year tax was from March 27th to December 31st and enter it in line 18.
John's explanation was actually very good
it depends. The reason why it is asking you to enter an amount in line 18 is that because of COVID, the IRS is offering a break for the Self-Employment tax. So if your net profit was $48,000 for the year and if most of that was made before March 27, this will lessen the self-employment tax you would need to pay for the year.
For a real life example, if you made $48,000 but $40,000 was made before 03/27, you would put $8000 in the that entry. This will prove to the IRS that you had a loss of income from 03/27-12/31. This is something that you will need to determine and decide what amount to record.
**Mark the post that answers your question by clicking on "Mark as Best Answer"
In the case of a loss for 2020, the software seems to have a looping error. In my case, I had a loss for 2020. When I enter a negative number for Sch SE Line 18, it says "Minimum Value is 0". If I enter "0" or anything greater, the software says "Max deferral Line 18 is too large." So there literally appears to be no value that the software will accept, and without fixing the problem, I can't e-file. Any solutions out there?