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I'm trying to amend last year's taxes because when I went to file this year I remembered that I made a couple grand cutting grass the year before and forgot to file it.

I'm not sure how to file this as I'm not a business and only cut grass that summer because I was without a job and needed to make some extra cash. I did what I had to do and went knocking on the neighbor's doors that i knew wouldn't mind pawning off their grass cutting on me for a fee.

This will also boost my return for last year because the job I started late in the year kept me right below the amount that would give me my child tax credit so I want to make sure I do it correctly.

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am getting a headache trying to figure it all out. It's way too confusing!

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    Please add a country tag.
    – Hart CO
    Apr 3 at 0:04
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    If it's the US, see instructions regarding miscellaneous income/hobby income.
    – keshlam
    Apr 3 at 0:31

1 Answer 1

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Assuming US:

There's no minimum income for the Child Tax Credit, nor for the Child and Dependent Care Credit although the latter requires you spend time working or trying to. Do you perhaps mean the Earned Income (Tax) Credit (EITC or EIC)? That doesn't have a minimum either, but does have a phase-in where you get more credit for more earned income up to a point (but you must not have "too much" investment income).

If you do (or here, did) any activity on an 'ongoing basis' with the goal of making money, and not (primarily) for enjoyment or recreation, it IS a business for purposes of US taxes. IRS doesn't require you to have any specific legal structure (for some fields local laws require qualification or licensing, and sometimes bonding, but I never heard of any for lawnmowing) although you should keep (here reconstruct if possible) clear records that support your filed return(s).

If you're not incorporated and don't need/have an EIN (you don't pay any employees or subcontractors, and aren't subject to any of the special 'excise' taxes that apply to some industries like coal mining or certain petroleum products) this is a Sole Proprietorship and you file schedules C and SE. (Note SE will take some of your money, but for low income people usually less than you gain in EIC, and it ensures you have Social Security credits for the year when you get old -- or, $deity forbid, totally disabled.)

Yes, the tax returns for any business, even the simplest self-employment situation, are more complicated. This is a nuisance, especially with the huge growth of 'gig' platforms like Uber and Etsy. If your income is under about $60k, you might try to find a VITA site you can use; their volunteers are trained (and tested) to deal with problems like yours, and are free. Of course just before this year's unextended deadline they are probably jammed; if I were you I would wait until about the last week of April. Sites are permitted and encouraged (but not required) to handle amended (or delinquent) returns for the last few years. If you were lower-income for the past year -- I interpret your Q as 2022 filed in 2023? -- but not now I'm not sure exactly how the eligibility rule works, but you could certainly ask.

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