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Frequently Asked Questions

Filing Your Tax Return

You must report all income you receive from your business on your tax return unless it is excluded by law. If you own more than one business, you must file a separate tax return for each business.

To file your return, you must use Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ to report your income or loss. If a reported loss is caused by an activity “not engaged in for profit,” the loss is not allowed as a deduction against other income. Small business and individuals who are in business for themselves and make under $5,000 may be able to use Schedule C-EZ. When a net profit of at least $400 is reported on the Schedule C or C-EZ, Schedule SE should be filed. Other tax forms may be needed, depending on the type of business and where the business operates.

Business with two or more owners generally are not eligible to use Schedule C. A partnership return would have to be filed unless you are qualified for some other type of business return. A married couple who jointly operate an unincorporated business and who file a joint return can elect not to be treated as a partnership for tax purposes. The husband and wife can be the only members of the qualified joint venture and both must materially participate in the business.

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