What is freelance work?


Quick Answer

Freelance work occurs when a person performs tasks or projects for multiple clients as an independent contractor. This type of work is different from conventional employment with a single employer. Flexibility and diversity of work are common benefits, but uncertainty of work and lack of income predictability are common concerns.

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Full Answer

People freelance in a variety of areas. Writing and construction are common examples. A freelancer may work on many projects simultaneously for different clients, or complete one project at a time for a client before moving on to the next one. A freelancer is self-employed and responsible for preparing business income and expense records for tax reporting. If an individual freelancer simply operates as a sole proprietor, the person adds business taxes to Schedule C when filing an individual tax return. Clients who paid more than $600 to the freelancer are supposed to send a Form 1099 documenting income.

Companies use freelancers as an alternative to hiring regular employees to perform certain types of work. This arrangement works well when the employer doesn't need regular, consistent and ongoing performance of services. A small-business marketing department might hire a freelance copywriter to work on print documents as opposed to hiring someone full-time and not having regular work for that person to complete.

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