The one where Jennie finds out she’s self-employed.

In the midst of trying to figure out my American income taxes, I discovered that I am considered “self-employed in a US business” thanks to the Google Ads on my website. Huh? I’m self-employed? But I don’t even make enough money to break even each month!

I had thought my Google payments would just be considered as other or miscellaneous income for tax purposes. But nope. Apparently I have my own business and so I must pay the Self-Employment Tax of 15.3%.

I don’t qualify for the Economic Stimulus Payment or the Earned Income Tax Credit either. Awesome. But at least I can deduct web hosting and internet connection costs.

But here’s the kicker… US citizens have to file taxes only if their income is over $8,750, which mine is definitely not. However, if you are self-employed, you have to file taxes if your income is over $400! Lame.

So since I will have to pay the SE tax anyway and since I’m really starting to fear not being able to find a job in France, I suppose I should try to make my “business” more profitable. What do you think I should add/change/redo on my website? I’m not very good with marketing since I care more about the content and quality than how many people are looking at it or linking to it… But working on my site will probably be my full-time job this summer while I’m waiting for the right to work in this country, so let me know what I should work on!

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  • MFreborg

    As a fan of your site and as a fellow multi-lingual maniac, I thought of the following things…- “Book-like” PDF versions of your tutorials (French, German, etc.)- French V- perhaps a guide for written French/compositions- Lists, lists, lists of words for those of us who study them ;)- A separate section all about verbs?Anyway, great site… I admire your hard work.

  • MFreborg

    As a fan of your site and as a fellow multi-lingual maniac, I thought of the following things…

    - “Book-like” PDF versions of your tutorials (French, German, etc.)
    - French V- perhaps a guide for written French/compositions
    - Lists, lists, lists of words for those of us who study them ;)
    - A separate section all about verbs?

    Anyway, great site… I admire your hard work.

  • Rose

    I love your site. There is SO much helpful information on there. Maybe you could organize it? I find the long pages of text kind of intimidating. Is there a way you could organize it either visually with charts and stuff, or with individual pages to subtopics?I also love that there are no stupid graphics to clog things up. Keep it simple.

  • Rose

    I love your site. There is SO much helpful information on there. Maybe you could organize it? I find the long pages of text kind of intimidating. Is there a way you could organize it either visually with charts and stuff, or with individual pages to subtopics?

    I also love that there are no stupid graphics to clog things up. Keep it simple.

  • Jennie

    I am actually working on making the pages shorter right this minute. It’s going to take me a while though. :)

  • Jennie

    I am actually working on making the pages shorter right this minute. It’s going to take me a while though. :)

  • IslandGirl4Ever2

    Hi Jennie,I thought ALL Americans living overseas regardless of income MUST file taxes every year with the U.S. I know you don’t have to “pay” taxes if you make less than $85,000 U.S. Hmmmm… And can I ask why you didn’t qualify for that stimulous.. just wondering.. I thought everyone was eligible.. That’s what the guy at the US Embassy in Paris told me over the phone a few weeks ago… I’d etter call him back… Also, I love your blog, too.. I hope you can find some ways to make it rentable… Bon courage et bonne chance!! — Leesa :)

  • IslandGirl4Ever2

    Hi Jennie,

    I thought ALL Americans living overseas regardless of income MUST file taxes every year with the U.S. I know you don’t have to “pay” taxes if you make less than $85,000 U.S. Hmmmm… And can I ask why you didn’t qualify for that stimulous.. just wondering.. I thought everyone was eligible.. That’s what the guy at the US Embassy in Paris told me over the phone a few weeks ago… I’d etter call him back…
    Also, I love your blog, too.. I hope you can find some ways to make it rentable… Bon courage et bonne chance!! — Leesa :)

  • Le Tigre

    Maybe you could offer online tutoring through Skype? That could be very profitable. Or translating?

  • Le Tigre

    Maybe you could offer online tutoring through Skype? That could be very profitable. Or translating?

  • Au Soleil Levant

    Your site is so awesome as it is! But I find that sometimes I get confused looking at the English grammar terms instead of the French terms. Like Past Indefinite, had to think about that one. Maybe label with both English and French? And a major thanks for having your site in the first place, it has helped me sooooo much.

  • Au Soleil Levant

    Your site is so awesome as it is! But I find that sometimes I get confused looking at the English grammar terms instead of the French terms. Like Past Indefinite, had to think about that one. Maybe label with both English and French?

    And a major thanks for having your site in the first place, it has helped me sooooo much.

  • Karen

    What about an rss feed or putting together a monthly newsletter for subscribers? I really enjoy your site. You have a nice mix of informative and interesting material.

  • Karen

    What about an rss feed or putting together a monthly newsletter for subscribers?
    I really enjoy your site. You have a nice mix of informative and interesting material.

  • Zhu

    That sucks! PLus, it reminds me I have to do my own taxes this month. I hope Canada doesn’t consider me as self-employed… I made like $20 with Google so far! :D Your blog is nice, no doubt. Interesting writing and thoughts. That said, to generate more income, I’d suggest:1) To move to self-hosted WordPress (or any other software that allows you that) – makes a difference. Looks more professional, more opportunities etc.2) Go for an original template, something people don’t know.Note that I’m not criticizing the existing blog… just thinking of marketing!;) By the way, I tagged you… no strings attached though! ;)

  • Zhu

    That sucks! PLus, it reminds me I have to do my own taxes this month. I hope Canada doesn’t consider me as self-employed… I made like $20 with Google so far! :D

    Your blog is nice, no doubt. Interesting writing and thoughts. That said, to generate more income, I’d suggest:

    1) To move to self-hosted WordPress (or any other software that allows you that) – makes a difference. Looks more professional, more opportunities etc.

    2) Go for an original template, something people don’t know.

    Note that I’m not criticizing the existing blog… just thinking of marketing!;)

    By the way, I tagged you… no strings attached though! ;)

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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