Latest & Greatest – Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Gig Workers of All Types

By Stephen Fishman  Published by Nolo  KF 390 .I54 F57 2018

By Stephen Fishman

Published by Nolo

KF 390 .I54 F57 2018

Are you looking for a career change? Perhaps, you are interested in lending your expertise to a company by working as an independent contractor or consultant. You wouldn’t be alone. A good percentage of the U.S. population is self-employed, meaning that they are working as independent contractors, consultants, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. The question then becomes: where do you begin? A good starting place is Nolo’s Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Gig Workers of All Types, the newest book to join the Law Library’s Self-Help Collection.

Working for Yourself includes necessary current legal and tax basics to assist you on your road to becoming your own boss. Topics include:

  • choosing the type of business entity;

  • obtaining business licenses, employer identification numbers, and sales tax permits;

  • insuring your business;

  • pricing services and getting paid;

  • paying taxes and keeping track of expenses; and

  • preparing written client agreements.

You can also find updates and changes made to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that are beneficial to those who are self-employed. In other words, Working for Yourself has the pertinent information you need to get yourself started on the road to self-employment.

Other books by Nolo in the Law Library’s collection that you might find to be of interest include: Legal Forms for Starting and Running a Small Business and the Small Business Start-Up Kit.

Houston Bar Association & Houston Volunteer Lawyers Help the Community

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June marked the end of the Houston Bar Association's calendar of activities. Looking back, it's clear to see that the HBA was quite active indeed, providing valuable service to HBA members, the profession, and the public. 

Houston Volunteer Lawyers provided in-person, one-on-one legal advice to more than 6,100 applicants at no expense to those served. Nearly 1,200 cases were referred to pro bono attorneys for long-term representation. Over 2,300 of those helped were U.S. veterans or spouses of deceased veterans.

HVL also assisted 6,561 pro se litigants with family law matters at the courthouse information both on the 17th floor of the Civil Courthouse, and expanded the pro se clinic to the Harris County Law Library where attorneys now meet with self-represented litigants five days a week from 9:00 am - 12:00 noon on a first come-first served basis. 

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More than 700 LegalLine volunteers answered 5,386 calls from residents of Harris County, and the Houston Lawyer Referral service made over 26,000 referrals to attorneys and other agencies. 

These are just a few of HBA's achievements over the last twelve months. Additional successes of the previous year are detailed in the May/June 2017 issue of the Houston Lawyer magazine. See page six for President Neil Kelly's message where he reflects on the HBA's service to its members, its initiatives in educating the public about the law, and its efforts to help the residents of Harris County. 

HVL Self Help Divorce Clinic, August 18

August is Self-Help Resource Month at the Harris County Law Library. As a service to the community and the residents of Harris County, the Houston Volunteer Lawyers are hosting a Self Help Divorce Clinic on August 18th at 1019 Congress Avenue. Details are provided below.

Are you filing for divorce? Are you representing yourself because you cannot afford an attorney? Do you and your spouse agree to the divorce? The Houston Volunteer Lawyers can help. Sign up for the HVL Self Help Divorce Clinic, and meet with a volunteer attorney, one-on-one, to prepare what you need to complete your own divorce.

WHEN:         August 18, 2017 9:00 a.m.

WHERE:       HARRIS COUNTY LAW LIBRARY (1019 Congress Avenue)

To sign up, complete this questionnaire.

If your case qualifies, a Houston Volunteer Lawyers staff member will call you to confirm that you qualify and to schedule your clinic appointment.

Legal Reference Services for the Public

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The reference staff at the Harris County Law Library is always happy to help you find the resources you need to answer your legal research questions. Whether you are a legal professional or a self-represented litigant, we strive to provide the most appropriate and thorough information to meet your legal needs.

Our print materials, especially the titles shelved at the Reference Desk, are heavily used on a daily basis. O'Connor's annotated codes and the O'Connor's legal form books are requested most frequently, along with the State Bar of Texas Practice Manuals for Family, Probate, Real Estate, and Guardianship matters.

The do-it-yourself legal website, TexasLawHelp.org, is another indispensable tool. It provides library patrons with the information they need to file for divorce, arrange for child custody, request name changes, apply for occupational licenses, and expunge criminal records. It also provides a wealth of information about common legal matters including court structure, basic civil procedure, and what to expect when going before a judge in a court of law. 

The Harris County Law Library is a self-service, public law library committed to providing open and equal access to justice for all. We aim to offer the best service possible for every individual who walks through our doors. We partner with the Houston Volunteer Lawyers to offer you the legal advice that we as librarians are not permitted to provide. As a constant reminder to ourselves and to those we serve, we post signs clearly displayed throughout the library, informing patrons of our dedication to providing legal information but not legal advice. We can point you to resources that we know to be reliable, accurate, and authoritative, but we cannot interpret legal forms, statutes, or cases. We must remain neutral and impartial, providing legal definitions and procedural explanations that facilitate access to and understanding of the legal system without providing advice, research, opinions, legal counsel, or subjective evaluations.

As providers of legal reference -- not legal research -- we must remain objective and unbiased. Law librarians are passionate about facilitating access to legal information and empowering library patrons to educate themselves about the law. Ensuring that all library patrons -- especially pro se litigants -- have the tools they need to successfully navigate the complex legal machinery of our justice system and gain access to the legal process is our goal.

To answer any questions about the kind of service we can provide, please refer to this helpful quick reference guide. We're happy to clarify any of the points covered. We look forward to serving all your legal reference needs.

Latest & Greatest – In a Nutshell® Series

Throughout the month of December, Harris County Law Library has been celebrating Self-Help Resources Month and featuring publications that are designed to assist those who are representing themselves in legal matters. Following this theme, we are pleased to announce that the law library has recently acquired several new titles from the In a Nutshell® series. Published by West Academic Publishing, the In a Nutshell® books provide concise summaries and explanations of a particular area of law. Designed as study guides, these small books are loaded with cases and statutes to guide the reader to a better understanding of the topic at hand. Some of our recent acquisitions cover such topics as legal drafting, electronic discovery and digital evidence, mental health law, children and the law, legal malpractice law, Section 1983 litigation, and consumer protection law. Look for these and other titles of interest in our Self-Help Collection or browse our collection using our catalog.