The Ultimate Guide to Saving for Taxes as a Self-Employed Coach

how much should I save for taxes

If becoming a coach is your calling, there’s nothing that compares to the feeling of working with your dream clients and helping them become the best version of themselves. No other job in the world can fulfill you in the same way!

You’ll get to enjoy several benefits as a self-employed coach, but you’ll also have to deal with the complication of income tax. Because you no longer have a boss, you’re fully responsible for setting aside money to pay your taxes.

So how much should you save for taxes from your income as a coach? Keep reading to find out how you can figure out that exact number.

Things to Consider When Calculating How Much to Set Aside for Taxes as a Self-employed Coach

Before you can figure out how much you’ll owe in taxes, there are a few details you need to consider.

If you’ve had a job before you decided to start your coaching business, you’ll be familiar with income taxes. At the federal level, everyone in the US pays a certain percentage of their income for income taxes. The exact percentage will vary depending on which tax bracket you’re in.

For example, the federal tax brackets for singles in 2022 are the following:

Taxable IncomeTax Bracket
$10,275 or under10%
Between $10,276 and $41,775Flat rate of $1,027.50 plus 12% of the excess over $10,275
Between $41,776 and $89,075Flat rate of  $4,807.50 plus 22% of the excess over $41,775
Between $89,076 and $170,050Flat rate of $15,213.50 plus 24% of the excess over $89,075
Between $170,051 and $215,950Flat rate of $34,647.50 plus 32% of the excess over $170,050
Between $215,951 and $539,900Flat rate of $49,335.50 plus 35% of the excess over $215,950
Over $539,900Flat rate of $162,718 plus 37% of the excess over $539,900

You’ll go through the same process if you have state taxes to pay, too. Some states don’t have income taxes, such as:

  • Alaska
  • Nevada
  • Florida
  • New Hampshire
  • Tennessee
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

However, income tax applies to people who have traditional jobs. Their employers also pay taxes as a business.

Self-employed coaches will need to take other taxes into account in addition to their income tax because you don’t have an employer paying those taxes for you. 

You’ll see these taxes referred to as the self-employment tax or SE tax.

So why are you paying this tax, exactly? Where does the money go?

Two taxes make up this additional obligation:

Social security and medicare taxes.

If you had a paycheck from an employer, this tax would show up on your pay stub as the FICA tax, which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. You pay half of this tax while your employer contributes the other half.

You’ll be considered self-employed by the IRS if you’re a coach  (unless you offer coaching services on behalf of your employer), but also if you’re:

  • Freelancing
  • Working as an independent contractor
  • Have a sole proprietorship or business partnership

Together, the social security and medicare taxes total 15.3% of your taxable income. However, 12.4% of that tax comes from social security, which won’t necessarily apply to your entire business income. 

Self-employed individuals only pay Social Security taxes on their ‘wage base.’ Any income you generate over that amount is not taxable income. 

The exact wage base varies annually, but in 2022, it’s $147,000.

On the other hand, the remaining Medicare tax (2.9%) applies to your entire self-employment income. You’ll also have an additional Medicare tax of 0.9% if you have income above certain thresholds (depending on your filing status).

Unlike people with regular jobs, self-employed coaches must pay taxes using quarterly tax payments. 

Finally, there’s the last consideration before you panic about all your money vanishing in front of you — you can drastically reduce your taxable income! Without tax write-offs, you’d be taxing your income twice. You can read more about how to write off your expenses in this post.

How Much Should You Set Aside for Your Coaching Business Taxes: The Calculation

Okay, so now you have all the information about your tax obligations. So how much should you set aside for when it’s time to pay taxes for your coaching business?

First, let’s calculate the amount of income tax you’ll need to pay. You’ll need to perform this calculation at the federal and state level. 

You’ll find the complete list of tax brackets for 2022 and 2023 on the AARP website.

Start by finding your total business income and subtracting all your business expenses. For example, if you made $100,000 from your coaching packages but also spent $15,000, your net earnings would be $85,000. 

Talk to your bookkeeper if you’re unsure what your business expenses were for the year. 

Next, calculate the amount of taxes based on your filing status and your tax bracket. With a net income of $85,000, you’d fall in the “Between $41,776 and $89,075” bracket as a single person. 

Here’s how you calculate income tax for that amount:

(Flat rate of $4,807.50) + ((85,000 – 41,775) x 0.22)

In total, you’d have $43,225 of your income that needs to be paid at a 22% rate. That means you’d pay a total of $14,317 in income tax.

Next, let’s calculate how much self-employment tax you’ll need to pay.

Bring back your net income from the previous calculation.

Are your net earnings above or below the Social Security wage base? If they’re above, remember you won’t pay the Social Security tax (12.4%) for all the income that exceeds that amount.

If it’s below, here’s the calculation you can make:

(Net income) x .9235 = Taxable income for self-employment taxes

If you’re wondering where the .9235 comes from, remember that employers pay a 7.65% portion of your FICA taxes. You can deduct that percentage from your net revenue as a self-employed coach.

Next, you can multiply your taxable income by the self-employment tax rate, which is 15.3%:

(Taxable income) x .153 = Taxes you owe for self-employment

If you use a single formula, here’s what it would look like:

((Net income) x .9235) x .153 = Self-employment taxes

Let’s plug in some numbers for a coach who netted an income of $85,000:

((85,000) x .9235) x .153 = $12,010.12

You’d pay $12,010 for your self-employment tax.

But what if your net earnings are over the Social Security wage base? If that’s the case, you’ll need to add an extra step in the calculation by separating both taxes.

For example, let’s say you made a net income of $200,000. After calculating your taxable income, you get $184,700.

Because the Social Security wage base is $147,000 in 2022, you’ll pay the following in Social Security taxes:

147,000 x 0.124 = $18,228

But now you need to add what you’ll pay in Medicare taxes, which is calculated like this:

(Taxable income) x 0.029 = Medicare taxes

With a taxable income of $184,700, here’s what this looks like:

184,700 x 0.029 = $5,356.3

Now all that’s left to do is add your Medicare and Social Security taxes together:

5,356 + 18,228 = $23,584

And you have your final self-employed tax number!

Keep in mind that the total amount of taxes you owe will depend on your tax deductions. You can deduct a portion of your self-employment tax from your net income before you calculate your income taxes — in addition to a plethora of other deductions!

If you’re not sure how much to set aside, a good rule of thumb is to keep about a third of your income for taxes (33%). However, if you live in a state with a higher income tax rate, such as California or New Jersey, consider keeping it closer to 40%. 

Where to Save the Money You Set Aside for Taxes

As you’re keeping money aside from your coaching business revenue, what’s the best way to store that money?

Firstly, don’t invest your tax savings. Investing will make it difficult to access your funds quickly (and there’s a risk you’ll lose too much to pay what you owe).

To remove the temptation to dip into your tax savings, open a separate bank account. Make it a habit to transfer money into that account every time you receive payment from a coaching client — or set up automatic bank transfers if that’s what you prefer.

When Will You Have to Pay Your Taxes as a Coach

People with regular jobs only pay taxes during tax season. But it’s different for businesses and self-employed people. As a coach, you’ll need to pay taxes every quarter.

You still file your taxes once per year. However, you’ll need to make quarterly payments based on estimated taxes.

This won’t apply if you’re in your first year of business because you won’t have filed an annual return yet. 

Simplify Tax Season by Streamlining Your Coaching Business

Tax season is already complicated enough as it is. You shouldn’t have to overcomplicate the rest of your coaching business!

Did you know that you can automate the admin side of your coaching business with Paperbell? This tool was designed with coaches in mind and lets you easily take payments, automate email follow-ups, create custom booking calendars for every coaching package, and so much more.

Sign up for a free account to test-drive it yourself!

how much should I save for taxes
By Team Paperbell
December 28, 2022

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