Working more than one job or earning some side income with gig work? You might be wondering if you’ll have to file more than one tax return.
The short answer is no; you’ll still submit one return to the IRS. But there are some details you’ll need to know to make sure you’re reporting all of your income correctly.
Here’s how to file taxes with multiple jobs and avoid a tricky tax situation.
Can you file taxes for two jobs separately?
No, you don’t need to file taxes for two jobs (or more than two jobs) separately. The IRS only requires one tax return per person, regardless of how many jobs you have.
You can use a federal tax return to report income from:
- A regular 9-5. job
- Part-time jobs
- Side hustles
- Gig work and freelance jobs
- Businesses you own
The IRS has a more detailed guide to taxable or nontaxable income. Generally, any amount included in your income is taxable unless it’s specifically exempted under the tax code.1
How to file taxes if you have two jobs
Filing taxes with two jobs is similar to filing taxes with one job. Just be sure to include all of your taxable income on your return.
Option 1: Two jobs at two different times of the year
Filing taxes with two jobs doesn’t always mean you’re working them simultaneously. For example, you might start the year with one company and then transfer to another in the fall.
Switching jobs means that you’ll get two W-2s for the tax year. Employers must send a W-2 to you (and the IRS) once your income exceeds $600 per year. These forms must be sent out by January.2
If you have two W-2s for two different jobs, you’ll enter all of the relevant information from each one on your tax return when you file. That includes:
- Each employer’s name and address
- Each employer’s federal identification number (EIN)
- Amounts listed in boxes 1-14
- Each employer’s state identification number and locality name, if included
- Amounts listed in boxes 16-19
- In a nutshell, your W-2 shows all the income you earned from an employer for the year and how much you had withheld for federal and state taxes.3
Chime tip: Review your W-2 to check for errors; if you spot any, contact your employer to request a corrected form.
Option 2: Multiple jobs at the same time
You might be working more than one job at once. In that case, how you report that income on your taxes depends on the type of jobs you have.
For example, say you work a regular 9-to-5 gig for a private company. On the weekends, you earn extra money driving for a ride-sharing company.
In that case, you’d get a W-2 from your employer, but you might get a Form 1099-K from the ride-sharing company. Form 1099-K is used to report income for payments received through third parties or marketplaces, which includes money you earn from a ride-sharing app.4
When you file taxes, you’d add the details from your W-2 as usual. You’d then use your Form 1099-K to determine the taxable income you must report.
Note: For the 2023 tax year, you would only get a Form 1099-K if you received more than $20,000 in payments through third-party apps or marketplaces and had more than 200 payment transactions. That threshold is set to drop to $600 sometime after 2024.4
Option 3: Freelance work
Doing freelance work allows for flexibility since you can choose your clients and set your schedule. If you work for yourself and not an employer, the IRS generally considers you an independent contractor.
Instead of getting a W-2 showing your income, you’ll get a Form 1099-NEC. This form is used to report non-employee compensation, and you should get one from each client you work with if you earn more than $600 for the year.5
Now, there are a few things to remember about filing taxes with multiple jobs when all of those jobs are freelance:
- Since you’re not an employee, no taxes are deducted from your pay. Instead, you’re responsible for paying the appropriate amount of taxes to the IRS and state tax authorities yourself. That includes self-employment tax as well as income tax.
- Most independent contractors and freelancers are expected to make quarterly tax payments four times a year. These are estimated payments of taxes due since you won’t know exactly how much you owe for the year until you file your return.6
- Paying estimated quarterly taxes late or underpaying them can result in tax penalties. If you don’t pay enough in estimated taxes, you might owe additional taxes when you file your return.6
- You may be able to reduce what you owe by deducting eligible business expenses or claiming personal tax deductions and tax credits.
Check out our detailed guide on how to file taxes as an independent contractor.
Details to check before you file
Before you sit down to file your tax return, it helps to get organized. Collect all of your W-2s (and 1099s if you have them). If you’re missing a W-2 or didn’t get a 1099 even though you think you should have, contact the employer or client to get a copy of those forms.
Here are some other documents you might need to gather to file your return.
H3 – Nonemployee compensation
Nonemployee compensation is entered on Form 1099-NEC. If you got one of these forms, you earned income from which no taxes have been deducted yet.
When reporting nonemployee compensation, make sure that the amounts on your tax return exactly match what’s on your form. The IRS receives a copy of all 1099s, so if there’s a discrepancy in what you’re reporting, that could cause a delay in your return processing.
That’s bad because it can slow down the receipt of your tax refund if you’re expecting one. It could also put you on the path to being audited if the IRS suspects you deliberately omitted some or all of your 1099 income on your return.
Rent or royalties
Form 1099-MISC reports various income types not covered by other IRS forms, including rent and royalties. If you get one of these forms, you’ll need to report the income listed on it just the same as you would a Form 1099-K, Form 1099-NEC, or a W-2.7
Aside from rent and royalties, you might also receive this form if you have any of the following income:
- Prizes and awards
- Other income payments
- Medical and health care payments
- Crop insurance proceeds
- Cash payments for fish (or other aquatic life) you purchase from anyone engaged in the trade or business of catching fish
- Generally, the cash paid from a notional principal contract to an individual, partnership, or estate
- Payments to an attorney
- Any fishing boat proceeds
The cutoff for receiving this form is $600 as of 2023 for most of these payment types, though it drops to just $10 for royalty payments.7
Double-check you have all income documents
The IRS takes income reporting seriously, which is why you need to report all of your taxable income for the year and do so accurately.
Keeping track of your income earnings from gig work or freelance work throughout the year can make it easier to check those amounts against what’s listed on your 1099s when it’s time to file. You can also maintain copies of your pay stubs if you want to check them against your W-2 at the year’s end to ensure your reported income matches.
Also, remember that the IRS has deadlines for getting your return in. Filing taxes late could lead to penalties if you owe money or delay your refund if you expect to get money back. If you need more time to file, you can request an extension.
How multiple jobs affect your tax bracket
A tax bracket represents a range of income taxed at a specific rate. A lot more goes into explaining them, but here’s the gist: the more money you make, the higher your tax bracket tends to be.8
Understanding what tax bracket you’re in matters because getting pushed into a higher one can mean paying more taxes. That could deliver an unexpected setback at tax time if you were hoping to get a sizable refund only to find out you owe more to the IRS.
If you’re working multiple jobs or moving from a lower-paying job to a higher-paying one, consider what that might mean for your tax bracket. While you might benefit from having more money deposited to your bank account throughout the year, you may have to pay some back in taxes when it’s time to file.
Common tax deductions if you have multiple jobs
Tax deductions reduce your taxable income, which is good since it can help you move into a lower tax bracket. If you have multiple jobs, there are some common tax deductions you might be able to claim.
- Home office deduction. The home office deduction allows you to write off certain expenses if you work from home, whether you own or rent the home. You can choose a flat amount to deduct or enter your expenses to calculate the deduction.9
- Mileage and meals. The IRS allows deductions for mileage and meals as business travel expenses. If you’re driving for a ride-sharing app or doing deliveries for a delivery app, you may be able to write off some of your vehicle-related expenses.10
- Business expenses. There are other business expenses you can deduct if you’re doing gig work or freelance work. For example, if you need to buy a new laptop for your freelance writing business, you may be able to write off the entire amount.11
Tax credits are a little different. Instead of reducing your taxable income, credits lower your tax liability on a dollar-for-dollar basis. It’s possible to claim both credits and deductions on your taxes. Talking to a tax pro can help if you need clarification on what you’re eligible for.
Do I need to file multiple state tax returns?
While you’d only ever file one federal tax return, you might need to file multiple state returns in certain circumstances. Filing more than one state return might be necessary if you:
- Live in one state but work in another
- Are married and file a joint return, and one of you works in another state
- Collect rental income from properties you own in different states
- Moved during the year to start work at a new job for a different employer
- Own a business that you operate in multiple states
Filing multiple state returns can get tricky if you have a more complicated tax situation. Using an online tax filing software program can make it easier since all you may need to do is plug in your income numbers.
Working multiple jobs doesn't have to be a tax headache
Having more than one job may be necessary if you’re working toward some big financial goals or need extra income to cover the bills. Filing taxes with multiple jobs might seem intimidating, but it’s possible. Plenty of people do it each year.
Put together a simple tax checklist to file with confidence.
Should I claim 0 or 1 allowance if I have two jobs?
Claiming 1 allowance would result in more money being withheld from your paychecks if you’re working a regular job that reports income on a Form W-2. You might choose to do this with your tax withholdings if you’re worried about not paying enough taxes during the year and owing money when it’s time to file.
What happens if you only file one W-2 and have two jobs?
If you have two jobs and both employers are required to provide you with a W-2, you’ll need to include them both on your tax return. Failing to report all of your income, W-2 or otherwise, could land you in hot water with the IRS.
Does having multiple W-2s affect your tax return?
Having multiple W-2s affects your tax return in the sense that you’ll have more information to enter when it’s time to file. More income to report could also mean paying more taxes if you end up in a higher tax bracket.