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Is DoorDash Worth It After Taxes? [Our Unbiased Thoughts]

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Key Takeaways

  • Dashers must manage taxes and expenses as 1099 contractors, impacting net earnings.
  • After operational costs, Dashers typically owe about 15.3% in taxes on net income.
  • Deductions for business expenses can reduce taxable income, but financial planning is crucial.
  • DoorDash’s value varies individually, offering flexibility and potential profit despite tax responsibilities.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Dashing

Before discussing the issue of taxes, it’s worth first understanding how Dashers play into the delivery ecosystem

Dashers are people who sign up to take food from restaurants and stores to customers at whatever location they are in. They aren’t employees, but rather just work with DoorDash, working for themselves while setting their own schedules.

In short, Dashers are not full-time employees, but rather, 1099 contractors who work with, not for DoorDash. This heavily impacts the amount of taxes they owe the IRS, as well as how they are paid.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into how much Dashers make – at a very high level.

How Much Do Dashers Get Paid?

DoorDash drivers typically earn between $15 and $25 per hour. Payment amounts typically include per-delivery base payments taht range from $2 to $10, and also customer tips, which commonly range between $5 and $10 per delivery. Drivers keep 100% of tips.

Dashers can also earn more money through promotional incentives, bonuses, and inflated earnings during peak times of high demand.

Regardless of how much a driver makes though, they are still responsible for paying common driving-related expenses such as:

  • Gas: Gasoline is a primary cost for Dashers, with expenses depending on delivery numbers and routes. Keeping a mileage log and fuel receipts is essential for taxes.
  • Tolls: In areas with toll roads, this can be another expense. Some Dashers use toll-free navigation, while others keep coins on hand or invest in toll passes.
  • Equipment: DoorDash doesn’t require uniforms or signage, but suggested tools include a phone charger, flashlight, insulated bag, and optional items like spare plates for better service.
  • Parking: In cities, parking fees can affect profits. Dashers should plan their parking, especially in areas with added fees.

In short, while DoorDash provides competitive pay and tips, Dashers must consider these expenses for true profitability.

How Much Taxes Do Dashers Pay?

DoorDash drivers, as independent contractors, typically pay around 15.3% in taxes.

But, being a Dasher means navigating the tax system a bit differently than regular employees. This is due to the self-employment status that comes with being an independent contractor for DoorDash.

Key Tax Points for Dashers:

  • FICA Contribution: DoorDash drivers are responsible for their FICA (Federal Income Insurance Contributions). This consists of social security taxes at 6.2% and Medicare taxes at 1.45%.
  • No Tax Withholding: Unlike traditional employees, DoorDash doesn’t withhold any taxes from a Dasher’s earnings. This means that drivers need to set aside funds to cover their tax bill when it’s due, as they’ll often face a higher bill from the IRS.
  • Local Sales Tax: Depending on the area, Dashers might also need to consider local sales taxes.

In essence, while DoorDash provides a flexible earning opportunity, Dashers must proactively manage their tax obligations to avoid surprises come tax season.

Now that we’ve explored potential earnings and expenses, let’s delve into the tax implications for Dashers.

Tax Breakdown for Dashers: A Detailed Example

When considering the profitability of a DoorDash gig, understanding the tax implications is paramount. As Dashers are treated as independent contractors, their tax situation is unique compared to regular employees. Let’s break down the tax considerations with a step-by-step guide and an example for clarity:

  • Self-Employment Tax: As independent contractors, Dashers must pay a self-employment tax. This tax covers both Social Security and Medicare. As of my last training cut-off in 2022, the self-employment tax rate is 15.3%.
  • No Withholding: Unlike traditional jobs where employers withhold taxes from your paycheck, DoorDash doesn’t do this for Dashers. This means you need to set aside money throughout the year to cover your tax bill.
  • Quarterly Estimated Payments: Because there’s no withholding, many Dashers find it beneficial to make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS, ensuring they don’t face a large bill come tax time.
  • Deductions: Fortunately, there are tax deductions Dashers can claim to reduce their taxable income. These can include business-related expenses like mileage, mobile phone bills, and any equipment necessary for delivering.

Example Calculation: Gross Earnings, Deductions, and Net Tax

Let’s assume a Dasher earns an average of $20 per hour and works 20 hours per week. Over a year (assuming they work every week), their gross earnings would be:

$20/hour x 20 hours/week x 52 weeks/year = $20,800

From this amount, let’s assume they spend $2,000 on gas and $500 on other business expenses throughout the year. This results in total deductions of $2,500:

Gross Earnings: $20,800 Deductions: – $2,500 Net Earnings: $18,300

On this net amount, they would owe self-employment tax: $18,300 x 15.3% = $2,801.9

Remember, this is a simplified calculation and doesn’t account for income tax or any additional deductions the Dasher may qualify for. It’s always advisable for Dashers to consult with a tax professional to ensure they’re maximizing their deductions and paying the correct amount in taxes.

The Final Verdict: Is DoorDash Worth It After Taxes?

So, is DoorDash truly worth the effort after taxes and expenses?

DoorDash promises dashers consistent opportunities and scheduling freedom, a compelling offer in today’s changing job market. Yet, this flexibility comes with tangible costs.

Dashers are oftentimes surprised at the tax liability owed during tax season, which can oftentimes be quite significant. After all, they’ve already spent so much covering operational costs like gas and vehicle maintenance.

On the contrary, they have also taken advantage of DoorDash’s earnings structure, meaning that many have likely earned amounts that are significantly above minimum wage, or other gigs in the platform economy.

Pros of Dashing

Flexibility: Choose your own working hours.

Earning Potential: Base pay, tips, and bonuses can exceed minimum wage.

Market Leadership: Consistent job opportunities due to DoorDash’s prominence.

Cons of Dashing

Operational Expenses: You cover all vehicle-related costs.

Tax Responsibilities: Dashers handle all their tax duties.

Financial Uncertainties: No guaranteed income, benefits, or job security.

Which leads us to one conclusion: DoorDash’s worth after taxes is highly individualized.

For the financially savvy driver who value flexibility, DoorDash can be highly profitable, and very worthwhile to do. But for those wanting stable net earnings without the extra expenses and tax confusion, exploring other opportunities might be more beneficial.

How Do You File Taxes as a Dasher?

When it’s time to file taxes, DoorDash drivers who’ve earned over $600 in a year will receive a 1099-NEC form, detailing their payments. While navigating the 1099 form is straightforward, it’s essential to know what to focus on.

Here’s a concise guide for Dashers:

  1. Nonemployee Compensation: Prioritize this section. It indicates your total earnings for the year.
  2. Claim Deductions: Consistently tracking business expenses is crucial. For Dashers, the following costs can be deducted:
    • Mileage
    • Phone & its accessories
    • Health Insurance
    • Insulated delivery bags & courier backpacks
    • Tolls
    • Parking fees
    • Vehicle inspections
    • Roadside assistance

Remember, while this overview offers a starting point, consulting a tax professional ensures accuracy and maximizes potential deductions.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, while DoorDash offers the allure of flexibility and potentially competitive pay, it comes with the responsibility of managing expenses and taxes.

Like any other job, being a DoorDash Dasher has its ups and downs, but there is potential to make a living with the right work ethic. Taxes can be mind-numbing at first, but with practice and repetition, it’s manageable.

Do you think it’s worth it? Leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

1 thought on “Is DoorDash Worth It After Taxes? [Our Unbiased Thoughts]”

  1. I would like to know if it worth it to do DOORDASH. And earn more than $600.00 a year. And how much do I have to pay to do the taxes. If I make more than $600.00 a year. So I can be prepare in how much money I have to have in doing taxes for 2023. I serious concern about this in doing DOORDASH and I really want to earn money in doing it.


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