How Much Tax Do Hairdressers Pay in the USA?

Let's delve into the world of taxes for hairdressers in the USA in this all-encompassing guide. Get to grips with how much tax hairdressers actually shell out, while we also throw light on the rates of income tax, deductions, and vital tax advice. This guide is your tool to fine-tune your finances as a hairdresser and up your earnings game. Staying updated is key, so why wait? Embrace the know-how and start mastering your taxes today!


Within the bustling beauty and grooming industry of the United States, hairdressers play a pivotal role. They broaden our beauty horizons with a plethora of offerings; from haircuts and stylings, to colorings and treatments, enhancing our appearance and boosting our self-esteem. Be it as freelancers or as salon staff, hairdressers have to navigate across multiple layers of taxes imposed by the federal, state, and local governments. Grasping these tax obligations and rules proves to be critical in maintaining legality and financial health. Take a deep dive with us into the depth of how heavy the tax toll is for hairdressers across the USA, and let these invaluable insights equip both greenhorns and veterans in mastering the art of taxation.

Tax Deductions: Hairdressers, Make Most Of Them!

Getting a firm handle on the tax responsibilities of hairdressers in the USA is best done by first learning about the various taxes they may be subject to. Hairdressers, regardless of whether they are entrepreneurship-spirited or work under a salon's umbrella, generally owe federal income tax, state income tax, self-employment tax, and possibly even local taxes. To top it off, they might have to periodically make tax payments estimated for the year to stay on top of their tax dues. Let's break down each of these tax ingredients to make it easier to digest.

1. Federal Income Tax

Just like any income earner in the United States, it's a mandate for hairdressers to pay federal income tax. This tax is progressive, with the tax rate climbing in step with income levels. The task of outlining federal tax rates and clear instructions for hairdressers to compute and pay their federal income tax falls to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is paramount for hairdressers to accurately keep record of their income and deductions on their yearly federal tax return, usually due by April 15th of the subsequent year.

2. State Income Tax

Besides the federal income tax, hairdressers also have to pay mind to the state income tax, which may change based on the state they live and work in. As each state rolls out its unique tax rates and rules, hairdressers should get their heads around the rules that apply to them. Generally, the amount of state income tax is computed from the individual's taxable income, arrived at by deducting permissible deductions and exemptions from the total income.

3. Self-Employment Tax

Hairdressers who have taken the entrepreneurial leap, either running their own salon or working as independent artisans, are tasked with the duty of paying self-employment tax. This tax works out to be the combined sum of Social Security and Medicare taxes that traditionally the employees and employers split. However, when one's the boss of oneself, both ends of these taxes fall into their lap. As it stands, the self-employment tax rate is pegged at 15.3%, with 12.4% towards Social Security and 2.9% funneled into Medicare.

4. Local Taxes

Hairdressers could also be liable for local taxes, contingent on the specific municipality or county where they ply their trade. Potential local taxes can encompass income taxes, sales taxes, among other charges set by local administrations. Given the broad range of these taxes, hairdressers are encouraged to liaise with local tax authorities or seek professional advice to get a complete picture of their local tax responsibilities.

Tax Deductions for Hairdressers

Just as other business moguls or self-starters, hairdressers too can cash in on various tax deductions to trim down their taxable income. By diligently monitoring and recording eligible expenses, hairdressers can whittle down their overall tax dues. Let's check out some prevalent tax deductions open to hairdressers:

1. Salon Supplies and Equipment

Hairdressers can deduct the cost of purchasing and maintaining salon supplies and equipment necessary for their work. This can include scissors, combs, hair dryers, styling products, and other items directly related to their profession.

2. Rent or Lease Expenses

Hairdressers who rent or lease space for their salon can deduct these expenses as business deductions. This includes the monthly rent, utility bills, and other costs associated with the salon premises.

3. Professional Training and Education

Continuing education and professional development are essential for hairdressers to stay updated with the latest trends and techniques. Expenses related to workshops, seminars, conferences, and training courses can be claimed as tax deductions.

4. Marketing and Advertising

Hairdressers can deduct the costs associated with marketing and advertising their services. This includes expenses for creating and distributing promotional materials, maintaining a website, running advertisements, and social media marketing.

5. Insurance Premiums

Hairdressers often need insurance coverage to protect themselves and their business. Premiums paid for professional liability insurance, property insurance, and health insurance can be deducted as business expenses.

6. Travel and Transportation

If hairdressers need to travel for work-related purposes, such as attending client appointments or industry events, they can deduct their travel expenses. This includes transportation costs, lodging, meals, and other necessary expenses.

7. Office Expenses

Hairdressers can deduct the costs of office supplies, such as stationery, computer software, and other items used in their day-to-day business operations.

8. Retirement Contributions

Self-employed hairdressers can contribute to retirement plans, such as Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs or solo 401(k) plans. These contributions are tax-deductible and help hairdressers save for their future while reducing their taxable income.

It’s important for hairdressers to maintain proper records and receipts for all business expenses to substantiate their deductions. Consulting with a qualified tax professional or using tax preparation software can help ensure accurate reporting and maximize eligible deductions.

Understanding Estimated Tax Payments

For hairdressers who are self-employed or have income that isn’t subject to tax withholding, such as tips or commissions, making estimated tax payments is necessary to meet their tax obligations throughout the year. Estimated tax payments are typically made quarterly and serve as advance payments of the expected tax liability. By making timely estimated tax payments, hairdressers can avoid underpayment penalties and ensure they are staying on top of their tax responsibilities.

Let's Unravel the Mystery of Estimated Tax Payments

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are tips received by hairdressers taxable income?

Yes, tips received by hairdressers are considered taxable income and must be reported on their tax return. Hairdressers are responsible for accurately reporting all tips received, whether they are cash tips or included in credit card transactions. It’s important to keep detailed records of tips to ensure accurate reporting and compliance with tax regulations.

Can hairdressers deduct the cost of salon maintenance and renovations?

Yes, hairdressers can deduct expenses related to salon maintenance and renovations. This includes costs such as repairs, repainting, plumbing, electrical work, and other necessary improvements. However, it’s important to distinguish between deductible maintenance expenses and capital expenditures, which may need to be depreciated over time. Seeking advice from a tax professional can help determine the appropriate treatment for these expenses.

What happens if hairdressers don’t pay their taxes?

Failure to pay taxes can lead to various consequences, including penalties, interest charges, and legal action by tax authorities. The IRS and state tax agencies have the authority to enforce tax collection and can use wage garnishment, bank levies, or property liens to recover unpaid taxes. It’s crucial for hairdressers to fulfill their tax obligations to avoid these potential repercussions.

Can hairdressers deduct their uniforms or work attire?

Yes, hairdressers can typically deduct the cost of uniforms or work attire as business expenses. The uniforms must be necessary for work and not suitable for everyday wear. Hairdressers should keep records of their uniform expenses, including receipts, to support their deductions.

Are hairdressers eligible for tax credits?

Yes, hairdressers may be eligible for various tax credits that can help reduce their overall tax liability. For example, the Child and Dependent Care Credit may be available to hairdressers who incur expenses for child care while they work. The Lifetime Learning Credit or the American Opportunity Credit can also provide tax benefits for hairdressers pursuing further education or training. Consulting a tax professional or using tax software can help identify and claim applicable tax credits.

Do hairdressers have to pay sales tax on their services?

No, hairdressers generally don’t have to charge sales tax on their services. Sales tax typically applies to the sale of tangible goods rather than services. However, it’s important to note that the rules may vary by state, and some states might impose sales tax on specific salon services or products. Hairdressers should consult their state’s Department of Revenue or a tax professional for guidance on sales tax obligations.


Hairdressers in the USA have specific tax obligations that they need to understand and fulfill. By familiarizing themselves with federal, state, and local tax requirements, as well as utilizing available deductions, hairdressers can effectively manage their taxes and optimize their financial well-being. It’s crucial for hairdressers to maintain accurate records, seek professional guidance when necessary, and stay informed about any changes in tax laws and regulations. By doing so, hairdressers can focus on their craft and thrive in their profession while meeting their tax responsibilities.

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