Schedule C Forms: Basic Information for Small Businesses

Schedule C is attached to Form 1040, a form you will use to inform the IRS about the profit and loss of your small business the previous year. The IRS will then use this information to calculate your taxable profit.

Basics of the Schedule C Form

Different categories of business report their income through Schedule C as follows:

  • Sole Proprietor: If you are the sole owner of your business and not registered in another state as an LLC corporation, you will report your income through Schedule C.
  • Single-Member LLC: You will fill out the Schedule C form if you are a single-member LLC and have not opted to pay your tax as an S corporation or corporation.
  • Qualified Joint Venture: If you and your spouse have a partnership described as a qualified joint venture, you will file a Schedule C, but you need to use two forms.

How to File Your Schedule C Form

Now that you know what Schedule C is, here's a step-by-step guide to filing the form:

Step 1: Collect Your Data

Gather detailed information of the income earned through your business during the financial year from 1st January to 31st December. Prepare a profit and loss statement and include details like the cost of goods sold and the value of your inventory.

You should also make a list of total business expenses for the year. The costs would typically include office expenses, stationery, wages, miscellaneous expenses, and petty cash. It's worth noting that entertainment expenses are not deductible anymore.

Step 2: Gross Profit and Income Calculation

Next, you need to compute your business's income and gross profit. The variables include:

  • Net Receipts (Gross receipts minus returns and allowances)
  • Gross Profit (Net receipts minus cost of goods sold)
  • Gross Income (Income from other sources like tax credits + gross profit)

Step 3: Provide Your Business Expenses

Your business expenses should include depreciation, employee benefits, and insurance (but not health insurance). You can also add interest on mortgages and other business-related debts, along with legal and professional fees if any.

Your business expenses list can also include the cost of leasing business equipment, vehicles, office expenses, profit sharing, and pension payouts. You can include “other” expenses in line 27 like telephone bills, internet, and software.

Step 4:  Additional Information

Here, you provide additional information like details of your home (if you work from there) and expenses related to your vehicle. You will also need to provide other miscellaneous details, which your tax expert can guide you on.

Step 5: Calculating Net Income

This final step involves calculating your net income and/or providing details of any losses. Once done, you can now add your Schedule C form to your tax return.

Important Things You Should Know While Filling the Form

  • Include as many legitimate business expenses to lower your tax bill for your Schedule C taxes.
  • Keep the information as accurate as you can. If the IRS finds particular information incorrect or falsified, there is a minimum penalty per return of $1,000.00.
  • Be aware of changes to Schedule C requirements – these get updated every year.
  • Use a reliable bookkeeping service to prepare a comprehensive profit and loss statement for your tax preparer's accurate filing.

Common Misconceptions About Schedule C Taxes

Only One Schedule C Is Required

Many scenarios call for completing more than one Schedule C. Check the requirements with your auditor for more information.

I Only Have to File After Earning a Particular Amount

Whether you have a single-member LLC or a sole proprietorship, you must file your Schedule C. All profits and losses must be reported.

Losses From Income Qualifies a Business as a Hobby

Once you have officially declared yourself a business to make a profit, the IRS will consider that. They will not be concerned whether or not you made a profit – you need to report your profits and losses as long as you are a registered business.

Providing Personal Expenses for Home-Based Offices

Although you can deduct certain expenses when you work from a home office, there are some pretty strict rules about this scenario. Charging personal expenses randomly because a business is based out of a residence can lead to rejection and heavy penalties.


At first glance, the Schedule C form can seem overwhelming. But with the relevant information at hand, accurate and up-to-date financial records, and a competent bookkeeping service like Fincent, completing it is a straightforward process.