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November 10, 2014

Zen99 – Free Tools for 1099 Workers

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Freelance professionals are making up an increasingly large percentage of the U.S. workforce. However, many of these so-called “1099 workers” have difficulty managing the finance-related tasks that human resources departments have traditionally handled. Zen99 offers a solution, providing independent contractors with tax and insurance tools to minimize taxes, track income, and pinpoint the best health insurance plans.

Although Zen99 is currently aimed at freelancers working for ridesharing and delivery companies like Uber and DoorDash, it can really be utilized by worker who receives a 1099 tax form. Just sign up for a free account and add your earnings and expenses. Based on the information you enter, Zen99 will provide you with an automatic tax estimate. Click on the “Insurance” tab and enter some basic information, like your date of birth, location, and gender, and Zen99 will generate a list of potential health insurance plans that you may qualify for, as well. If you choose to buy health insurance through Zen99, the company says you’ll get the same rate as you would through a health exchange or directly from the insurer.

A key part of Zen99 is the solution’s online university (Zen99 University), where users can learn about achieving financial success as an independent contractor. The “guides” posted in Zen99 University cover topics ranging from understanding the Affordable Care Act, to filing taxes as an independent contractor.

Practical Uses:

  • Track how much income you’ve generated this year
  • Make sure you’re saving enough for taxes
  • Find a health insurance plan that won’t cost a fortune
  • Learn how to maximize your income as a 1099 worker

Insider Tips:

  • Download the mobile app to use Zen99 on your smartphone
  • Zen99 works with Blue Shield and Assurant for health coverage
  • Zen99 earns a commission when users purchase insurance through the app
  • Tools to help online vendors manage their businesses will be added in the future

What we liked:

  • Zen99’s tools are completely free
  • Users can get information about taxes and insurance through the same dashboard
  • Zen99 automatically tracks how much income a user has earned
  • Zen99 estimates taxes for its users automatically

What we didn’t like:

  • Zen99’s insurance tools aren’t available in every state

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: August 2014
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Founded by: Tristan Zier and Yan Lhert
  • Web site: https://zen99.co

Costs:

  • Free