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QuickBooks Self-Employed is a cloud-based accounting software specially designed for self-employed individuals such as freelancers, real estate agents, Uber drivers, and independent consultants. It lets you monitor income and expenses, track mileage to and from clients, and file your taxes with its QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle. It offers three pricing plans that range from $15 to $35 per month. You can try QuickBooks Self-Employed for free for 30 days or purchase it right away and get a 50% discount for three months.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Review

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What We Like

  • Separate business and personal expenses paid from the same bank account
  • Track mileage and expenses on the go
  • Calculate quarterly estimated tax payments
  • Transfer Schedule C tax information to TurboTax (available in Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle)

What’s Missing

  • Doesn’t accommodate multiple businesses
  • Lacks a balance sheet
  • Can’t track unpaid bills
  • Limited invoicing functionality
  • No integrated payroll
  • Freelancers who need to track profit and expenses and file federal tax returns: With QuickBooks Self-Employed, you can categorize expenses and bill customers if needed. It also offers assisted tax filing features to help you file your federal and state tax returns easily. For other popular accounting options, read our guide to the best accounting software for freelancers.
  • Freelancers who pay business and personal expenses from the same bank account: QuickBooks Self-Employed allows you to designate payments from your bank account as “personal” so that your income and loss statement is accurate.
  • Businesses looking for easy-to-use software: QuickBooks Self-Employed’s uncluttered dashboard and intuitive navigation allow you to set up and use your account quickly.
  • Businesses that need to track mileage: If driving is part of your work or business, you can use QuickBooks Self-Employed to track business mileage automatically as well as potential tax deductions.
  • Freelancers working outside of their home or office often: QuickBooks Self-Employed has its own mobile app that lets you create and send invoices, track business mileage, and scan receipts from your mobile app. You may also check out our evaluation of the best mobile accounting apps.
  • Incorporated businesses and partnerships: Since QuickBooks Self-Employed is not a double-entry bookkeeping system, it can’t produce a balance sheet and isn’t suitable for businesses other than sole proprietorships. For other QuickBooks options, check out our QuickBooks Online comparison.
  • Frequent invoicing: QuickBooks Self-Employed doesn’t store customer, product, or service information, so you have to add the recipient and sales information every time you create an invoice. If you need a powerful invoicing solution, we recommend QuickBooks Online.
  • Entrepreneurs with more than one company: QuickBooks Self-Employed doesn’t allow for multiple companies, so a better option is Wave, which we ranked as one of the best multi-company accounting software. It has the added benefit of being free forever.
  • Companies with many employees: QuickBooks Self-Employed has no built-in or integrated payroll processing system. If you need to pay employees, consider Lendio Accounting, which seamlessly integrates with Gusto.

Visit QuickBooks Self-Employed

If you think QuickBooks Self-Employed isn’t suitable, check out our top recommendations for the best accounting software for small businesses.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Deciding Factors

QuickBooks Self-Employed New Feature for 2023

  • Tag setup: You can use customized tags to sort transactions based on key metrics that are important to your business. For instance, if you want to track more details about your locations, you can set up tags, such as a specific business site or region.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Alternatives

QuickBooks Self-Employed Pricing

QuickBooks Self-Employed has three pricing plans that range from $15 to $35 per month:

  • Self-Employed: $15 per month
  • Self-Employed Tax Bundle: $25 per month
  • Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle: $35 per month

All subscriptions include income and expense tracking, business mileage tracking invoicing, and a mobile app. If you want to file one state and one federal tax returns and pay quarterly estimated taxes online, you need at least the Self-Employed Tax Bundle. If you need unlimited live help from TurboTax experts or to talk to a real CPA when needed, you should upgrade to the Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Features

While QuickBooks Self-Employed doesn’t have a balance sheet and can’t track assets and liabilities, it includes many features that help you organize your income and expenses.

The dashboard includes a left navigation bar where you can access its features, including income and expense entry, tax tracking, invoicing, and reporting. It also shows important numbers, including your profit and loss, expenses, accounts, invoices, mileage, and estimated taxes.

QuickBooks Self-Employed's Dashboard with a left menu bar and showing information such as profit and loss and expenses.

QuickBooks Self-Employed’s dashboard

You can categorize the transactions downloaded from your bank account or those that you have entered in QuickBooks Self-Employed manually from the Transactions menu. When an income or expense is recorded, you can mark it easily as personal or business.

If you are using the desktop interface, click the transaction entry you wish to categorize. Then, select the Mark as business or Mark as personal button in the top menu bar of the Transactions screen, as shown below.

Screen where you can mark a transaction either as Business or Personal in QuickBooks Self-Employed.

Categorizing transactions as business or personal (desktop interface)

An easier way to categorize your transactions is by using the mobile app. You can categorize your expenses with a swipe—swipe left to categorize it as business and swipe right for personal.

Tip: Any payments from your bank account not related to your business should be categorized as personal expenses so that they aren’t deducted from your tax return. For example, you will want to classify a mortgage or rent payment as a personal expense.

There’s no law preventing a Schedule C business from paying personal expenses out of their business checking account—but an IRS audit will go much more smoothly if you keep personal activity out of your business. It’s better to keep business and personal activity in separate checking accounts with a periodic transfer from your business checking account to your personal account as needed for personal expenses. For other helpful tips, see our bookkeeping and accounting tips for small businesses.

QuickBooks Self-Employed allows you to classify income and expenses using categories that align with the IRS Schedule C, such as utilities, legal fees, and commissions. Once this information is entered, you can view and print a summary of your taxable income and expenses, which can take some of the guesswork out of filing your taxes. If your plan doesn’t include the Tax Bundle, you can use this summary to input your Schedule C information into a tax program of your choice manually.

If you drive for business reasons, you can deduct a standard rate per mile or actual vehicle expenses. QuickBooks Self-Employed has a mileage tracker app that you can download on your Android or iOS phone. It’ll log all of your car travel automatically and keep a running tally of your business miles, calculating the corresponding deduction at the current IRS mileage rate.

You can download your bank and credit card transactions directly into your QuickBooks Self-Employed account. From there, you can categorize each transaction into the appropriate expense category or designate it as a personal expense.

QuickBooks Self-Employed’s invoicing feature allows you to generate and track invoices. It also lets you sign up to make the invoices payable online—and if you choose this option, be aware that while bank transfer transactions are free, credit card payment rates are 2.9% plus 25 cents per transaction. Once your invoice is completed, you can email it to your customer as a PDF attachment. You can also send invoices through the mobile app.

Compared to invoices in QuickBooks Online, invoices in QuickBooks Self-Employed are not that customizable. While you can upload your logo and change the font color, there are no templates to choose from. Here’s an email and PDF preview of a sample invoice in QuickBooks Self-Employed.

Screens showing a PDF and Email preview of a sample invoice in QuickBooks Self-Employed.

PDF and email preview of a sample invoice in QuickBooks Self-Employed

Tip: If you don’t see the Invoicing feature in your dashboard, then you need to enable it by toggling the invoicing button to on under Settings (gear icon).

The QuickBooks Self-Employed mobile app for iOS and Android allows you to take a picture of a receipt and attach it to a transaction directly from your mobile phone. Not only will this save you time, but it will also provide the documentation required by the IRS to deduct an expense.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Labs is a place where Intuit experiments with new features. It can be accessed by clicking the gear icon on the desktop site and then selecting “Labs” under TOOLS.

You’ll be able to view the latest integration and innovations available for you to opt into, such as its integration with Amazon. When you link your Amazon account to QuickBooks Self-Employed, you can label individual items in your order as business or personal without having to calculate the split yourself. Other items featured in the lab include custom color-coded tabs and the ability to import mileage trips from Google.

The QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle includes a subscription to TurboTax. You can transfer all of your Schedule C information automatically to TurboTax to complete your tax return. You should choose this plan if you prepare your own taxes.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle includes both a federal and state tax return for $120 per year ($10 per month extra). Purchased separately, TurboTax Self-Employed is $120 and doesn’t include the state return.

Based on the tax profile that you complete during setup, QuickBooks Self-Employed will project your annual profit, calculate your estimated tax payment, and alert you of tax due dates. This valuable tool helps protect you from an underpayment penalty because of not making the required quarterly estimated tax payments. Just be sure to stay up to date on categorizing your transactions and inputting your business income.

It’s important to note that QuickBooks Self-Employed only offers federal quarterly tax estimates. So, if your state collects income tax and requires estimated quarterly payments, then you’ll need to calculate that on your own.

The platform will calculate your quarterly tax liability, and the QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle allows you to pay the quarterly tax online. I5 may help avoid a federal underpayment penalty but doesn’t include state-estimated tax payments, which might be due, depending upon where you live. Remember that to pay your federal quarterly taxes through QuickBooks Self-Employed, you need to sign up for the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).

QuickBooks Self-Employed Customer Service & Ease of Use

QuickBooks Self-Employed has an intuitive dashboard that’s easy to navigate. The tabs on the left side of the dashboard make it easy to explore the other features. Overall, it’s intuitive and not cluttered with unnecessary information, making it approachable for accounting novices. When setting up your account for the first time, you can choose to connect your bank account or manually enter transactions.

A screen prompt asking whether to add transactions manually or connect your account in QuickBooks Self-Employed.

Add transactions manually or connect your bank accounts

Meanwhile, QuickBooks offers multiple customer support options. These include QuickBooks blogs, video tutorials, a built-in live chat, a help center called Learn & Support, a community forum, and an in-software automated assistant.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Integrations

QuickBooks Self-Employed has limited integrations. It connects with third-party software programs like PayPal and Etsy and other Intuit products such as QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Payments, and TurboTax.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Assisted Bookkeeping

As a freelancer, you might not have enough time or expertise to execute all your bookkeeping tasks. While QuickBooks Self-Employed users may not deal with intensive bookkeeping, you might still need help with minor tasks like connecting bank accounts and categorizing income and expenses. If needed, you can enlist a QuickBooks ProAdvisor to help you with your bookkeeping duties.

QuickBooks Self-Employed User Reviews

Most of the positive QuickBooks Self-Employed reviews are about its intuitive user interface. Many users like that they can instantly add new transactions and that the software guides them when filing taxes. On the other hand, some wish that it had more features, like recurring invoices and the ability to send estimates. We agree its invoicing features are very limited and suggest QuickBooks Online if you regularly send invoices to customers.

Below are QuickBooks Self-Employed’s ratings from popular review websites:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is QuickBooks Self-Employed scalable?

No, it isn’t, as it lacks multiple tiers that you can scale with. When your business and accounting needs grow, you need to switch to a different solution, like QuickBooks Online.

Is QuickBooks Self-Employed easy to use?

Yes, it is. The cloud-based software has a streamlined interface that’s easy to navigate. It uses simple language and doesn’t have unnecessary features, so it takes very little time to get acquainted with it.

What are the top QuickBooks Self-Employed alternatives?

If you want a more scalable and sophisticated accounting solution, you can choose from our top-recommended small business accounting software, including QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, and Xero.

Bottom Line

QuickBooks Self-Employed isn’t a true double-entry accounting program like QuickBooks Online, but its lack of features makes it very easy to use. It has an excellent mobile app that can serve modern freelancers in terms of invoicing their clients, tracking business mileage, and monitoring business expenses. It’s a good choice to monitor your deductions and uses that information to complete your tax return.

If you’re a freelancer needing a solid solution for tracking income and expenses, sign up and receive 50% off the first three months. However, if you anticipate outgrowing QuickBooks Self-Employed, we suggest that you go straight to QuickBooks Online.

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