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Tax Year Prior to 2020: Can you file taxes when all you've done is little odd jobs for cash for your whole life?

The county is asking my friend to file taxes for the first time in his life< I think, so they can use it to determine eligibility on some services they offer.  He hasn't been on a payroll for 40 years or so. Is filing even possible? Thank you.

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Tax Year Prior to 2020: Can you file taxes when all you've done is little odd jobs for cash for your whole life?

He actually should have been filing taxes all along with his odd jobs if he earned $400 or more for the year.  He is a self-employed "business owner" from the perspective of the IRS. The income should be entered into the Business area of TurboTax in the Business Income section, then General Income (skip past the 1099-MISC area). 

He will file a Schedule C as a self-employed person.  The Schedule C will flow onto his individual income tax return (Form 1040) and be netted with other personal income and expenses (if any).

How to get to that area  While inside the software and working on your return, type Schedule C in the Search at the top of the screen (you may see a magnifying glass there).  There will be a popup that says Jump to Schedule C.  Select that to get to the general area. 

When you set up your business, you can use your own name, address, and social security number (if you don't have a business name or EIN). Then, when done with the Business Profile:

  • go to Business Income and Expenses
  • select Edit next to your business (if it is there)
  • scroll to Business Income 
  • on the next screen, you will see a place to enter a Form 1099-MISC (if you didn’t receive one, you can Skip past that)
  • then, on the next screen, you will see General Income (for income received that is not on a 1099-MISC form)
  • enter a description for the income (ex. Services, or Consulting, Customer Sales) and the amount

Follow through all the areas in the Business section of the TurboTax software and it will provide you with a lot of assistance. You'll notice blue links that have more information and details about the particular sections that will be extremely helpful. 

Also, this link may be helpful to you IRS Small Business Help Center .

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