On the Self-Employment Tax
By Perry D’Alessio CPA
Typically, owners filing their business returns via the use of Schedule C of Form 1040 have the lowest level of reporting requirements and also (in general) do the poorest job of keeping good records of business activity.
There is only one level of tax for the sole proprietor. The net profit (or loss) from the Schedule C business is reported on page one of Form 1040 and is combined with all of the other income items reported to arrive at gross income.
Different from interest and dividend income, or investment income that is typically considered passive in nature, self-employment income is income considered to be generated by ones’ own actions.
Self Employment Tax
There is “Self Employment” tax to be paid on virtually all self-employment income reported in the tax return. Many sole proprietors get into trouble because they neglect to take this tax into account when estimating their tax liability for the year and this tax is significant as noted below.
How SET Works
Self-employment tax is paid on 92.35 percent of all self-employment net profits. This tax is the equivalent of the combination of the employer’s and employee’s Social Security tax and Medicare tax. Social Security tax is 12.4 percent of the first $117,000 (in 2014) in net income and Medicare tax is paid 2.90 percent of net income without any upper income limit. There is also no maximum for the .9% additional Medicare tax under the PP-ACA [Obamacare] that applies when adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 for joint filers, $200,000 for single filers, or $125,000 on married-filing-separate returns.
Social Security Limit
The Social Security income limit is indexed and adjusted (upward) annually. The sole proprietor is allowed to deduct one half of the self-employment tax against income; however, this deduction is worth far less than the actual tax.
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