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Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Consultants Paperback – October, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

As an independent contractor, you are your boss. This is why Fishmanfs book is so important. -- New Orleans Times-Picayune

Could well have been called The Independent Contractor Bible... Don't contract independently without it. -- Leonard Charla, Small Press Magazine

Whether you already work for yourself or are thinking about, Working for Yourself will help make sure it's done right. -- Des Moines Register

About the Author

Stephen Fishman received his law degree from the University of Southern California in 1979. After stints in government and private practice, he became a full-time legal writer in 1983. He has helped write and edit over a dozen reference books for attorneys. He is the author of Software Development: A Legal Guide, Copyright Your Software, The Copyright Handbook, Consultant & Independent Contractor Agreements, Wage Slave No More: Law & Taxes for the Self-Employed, and Hiring Independent Contractors: The Employer's Legal Guide, all published by Nolo.
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Product Details

  • Series: Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers, & Consultants
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: NOLO; 5th edition (October 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141330088X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413300888
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,384,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brent Butler TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I know that as I type this I'm the low stars for this book. The reason is that I don't think the book quite lives up to its title.

Here's what you get: Generally two paragraphs (and sometimes an example) on a wide variety of topics concerned with owning and running a business. Having owned and run businesses for 30 years, I can tell you from experience that the two paragraphs offered per topic in this book are generally not all you need to know if the topic specifically applies to your business activities.

As a specific example, you get two paragraphs in the book about filing for business use of your home for a home office. Although most of the information in those two paragraphs is accurate, it is woefully short of everything you SHOULD know about filing for business use of your home. In those two paragraphs, the author indicatse that filing form 8829 for business use of your home is more likely to trigger an IRS audit. To my knowledge, that claim by the author is not correct. 8829 is a very matter of fact set of calculations that the IRS has no particular quibble with, unless they should come to believe that you are overstating the percentage of your home used for business purposes. If the figures you submit on that form are accurate and consistent, you have no reason to fear filing it. There are a couple of tips you should know about filing that form to your best advantage vis a vis the power of the deduction. This book makes no mention at all of that, and that information is quite important to the subject of 8829.

However, most of the information given in this book is accurate. It will certainly put you in the right frame of mind to specifically tackle a more in depth research effort.

I would recommend this book to two sets of people.

1.
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After surveying most of the small biz books out there, this is the far and away the best. Fishman claims his focus is on sole proprietors in a service business (in part to not compete with Steingold's Nolo Press book on small biz which isn't nearly as good). Even if you have an inventory based biz, 95% of this book is still extremely helpful. It covers the widest rage of topics and in more depth and with better organization than any other book on the subject. You won't need many other books except maybe something specific for taxes (do not get Nolo's Tax Savy book -- its very superficial; I really haven't found a tax book that I like yet). If your business will be very large and complex (and especially if it will involve other investors, complex financing, employees or IP) also get the Entrepeneur's Guide to Business Law by Bagley and Dauchy.
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I am a software contractor looking at incorporating. I had looked at LLC options, but some clients require incorporating, so that was ruled out. My best route seemed to be S-Corp. This book answered most of my questions. The "Incorporating Your Business, for Dummies" was pretty good, but not as good as this book. This book has a lot of details and laid some of my worries to rest. It will also save money with your professional team (attorney, accountant) by answering simple, but essential, questions. Definitely worth the money.
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A potential employer asked that I incorporate my freelancing business before they start sending me jobs. I wanted to do some research on the pros/cons of incorporating, what kind of start-ups costs this would entail, and what kind of corporation I should be. At first, the whole process of incorporating sounded like a huge money burden on my part--with filing fees and taxes--but this book has helped me sort out the issues and provided detailed information about the different ways to incorporate--sole proprietorship, LLC, S-corps. Although I haven't yet decided which path I will take, this book has made the jump to freelancing, and self-incorporating, less scary.
Not only do I understand my choices better, but I also now understand the different structures for businesses and their tax responsibilities. Great distillation of information! The copies of tax forms in the back are also a great reference. Highly recommended.
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I decided to take a chance on this book as a reference for my use as a 1099 contractor (in sales) and a self-employed artist, carpenter, painter, landscaper, etc. I was not expecting much, basically a brief overview of important topics, and maybe, if I got lucky some obscure information I didn't know I needed. Maybe YOU will get lucky and this book will have the information you need... but I am almost certainly going to return it.

First of all, it seems strange to me that a book titled "working for yourself", with the words "laws and taxes for the ONE PERSON business" plastered across the back cover, has so much information about hiring and managing employees (an entire chapter plus multiple blurbs throughout. - employee taxes/salaries/health coverage requirements/etc.) I have absolutely no need for any of this information.

Also, relatively loaded (i.e. compared to other topics, this particular one spans pages rather than sentences) with information about keeping trade secrets and nondisclosure agreements, etc. (totally useless for me and I am having trouble of thinking of many businesses that would need this - maybe YOURS?)

Some of the most pertinent (i.e. USABLE) information for my type of business includes what might be called "record keeping for the thickheaded" and extremely basic facts about the income tax system (such as a list of the dates on which quarterlies are due). (information I am already quite familiar with and which is available for free and in a more complete package right here on the grand 'ole internet - recommend checking the IRS website).
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