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MarcoDemarco's avatar

Can I have a full-time job and work on the side?

Asked by MarcoDemarco (211 points ) May 5th, 2012

I live in New York City and I have a full-time job. I don’t think I can be considered a freelancer because of my job status, but I want to work on the side as a writer and screencaster and I need some advice on getting started.

I would like some specific details regarding legalities. What tax forms will I need to fill out? Any other forms I should know about?

Thanks for your help guys.

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7 Answers

DrBill's avatar

if you work as a part time worker, you do not need any other forms. If you work as a contractor you will need to fill out schedule C

geeky_mama's avatar

You can work on the side unless your employment contract with your full-time employer specifically has a clause saying you cannot work on the side.
Look at everything you signed when you joined your employer full-time first. My employer specifies that I cannot work in a similar field of employment on a part-time basis while being employed by them. It also has non-compete clauses—so even if I left the company there are certain companies I cannot work for until my non-compete expires.

Also, it might be best to either let your supervisor or HR department know that you’re working on the side as a writer. Shouldn’t be a problem – but might be best to mention it.

lillycoyote's avatar

If you do writing on the side as freelancer any money you make will be part of your taxable income but you will be and independent contractor or self-employeed. I get a little confused about the difference, as far as State and Federal, and local tax authorities consider the difference between being self-employed and being an independent contractor. I think you would be considered and independent contractor unless maybe you decided to write poetry and sell it on the street. Here’s something on the difference. http://biztaxlaw.about.com/b/2009/04/26/self-employed-vs-independent-contractor-what-is-the-difference.htm

And Since you don’t have and employer withholding taxes, or deducting medicaid taxes or paying your social security on your freelance income you will responsible for taking that into account, and will be responsible for paying your own SS. I believe you also might have to pay some kind of self-employent tax on the freelance income. I believe if someone pays you more than $600 over the course of the year they will be required to file a 1099 form with the IRS, Stage and local treasuries. I know you guys get taxed up the wazoo in NYC. Do you live and work in the city? Will you have to pay a city wage tax. I don’t know what would happen if you live in the city but do your freelance work outside the city or in New Jersey or something like that. That could get complicated. Or if you were do do your freelance writing out of your apartment, if what expenses might be deductible, depending on whether or not you set yourself up as some kind of business entity.

But @DrBill is right. If you are hired as an “official” part time employee for your outside work you won’t really have to do much of anything. You’re employer will file w-3s, I guess they are, with the taxing authorities and you will get w2s from your employers. I had 4 part-time jobs once and I just filed four sets of W-2s with my taxes. I also once had a part-time job and worked as an independent contractor on the side and that kind of turned into a mess, of my own making, I will admit. My contractor job was working for an accountant and she kept warning me. But, when tax time came, it was a pretty big shock how much that all adds up to, when your taxes aren’t being withheld, Medicaid taxes aren’t being deducted and you have to pay your Social Security on that income entirely by yourself, no contribution from your employer. Be mindful of that. That’s all I can say.

blueiiznh's avatar

I have done it. It is not easy.
Make sure there are no moonlighting clauses.
I did it while employed full time by a firm and consulting for another.
I was only able to do it because the full time firm was not too much demand and I could still perform at a high level for each.
The key is to not burn yourself out and stay healthy. I was able to sustain it for 6 months before the demands on the full time job ramped and I let the contract go.
I did not do it for money, but for experience and to free myself of boredom.

MarcoDemarco's avatar

Hey guys thanks for the feedback.

My full-time employer does not limit me from working on the side. I can do whatever I want.

My main issue is figuring out whether I will be considered a freelancer or a contractor. Will I need to register as a business owner?

Once I’ve got that figured out I need to know what legal forms I’d have to fill out in order to pay taxes. That’s pretty much it.

Thanks again and thanks to anyone else who can help me out.

kitchi1's avatar

My father worked as a Computer Drafter everyday except fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, because him and my mom (AKA HIS EX WIFE) owned a kennel, so he had a fullime job and a part time.

*He doesn’t always work on the weekends at the kennel, and everyone has off sat+sun, he just misses friday.

MarcoDemarco's avatar

Thanks kitchi1. I think this is a question I need to reach out to a lawyer for. I really appreciate everyone’s posts.

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