Self-employment tax is a tax consisting of Social Security and Medicare taxes primarily for individuals who work for themselves. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most wage earners.
You figure self-employment tax (SE tax) yourself using Schedule SE (Form 1040). Social Security and Medicare taxes of most wage earners are figured by their employers. Also you can deduct the employer-equivalent portion of your SE tax in figuring your adjusted gross income. Wage earners cannot deduct Social Security and Medicare taxes.
Self-Employment Tax Rate
The 2010 Tax Relief Act reduced the self-employment tax by 2% for self-employment income earned in calendar year 2011. The self-employment tax rate for self-employment income earned in calendar year 2011 was 13.3% (10.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare). The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 extended the self-employment tax reduction of 2% for calendar year 2012 so the rates for 2011 remained in effect for 2012. For self-employment income earned in 2013 and 2014, the self-employment tax rate is 15.3%. The rate consists of two parts: 12.4% for social security (old-age, survivors, and disability insurance) and 2.9% for Medicare (hospital insurance).
For both 2010 and 2011, the first $106,800 of your combined wages, tips, and net earnings are subject to any combination of the Social Security part of self-employment tax, Social Security tax, or railroad retirement (tier 1) tax. The amount increased to $110,100 for 2012, $113,700 for 2013, $117,000 for 2014, and $118,500 for 2015.
All your combined wages, tips, and net earnings in the current year are subject to any combination of the 2.9% Medicare part of Self-Employment tax, Social Security tax, or railroad retirement (tier 1) tax.
In 2013 an additional Medicare tax rate of 0.9 percent went into effect and applies to wages, compensation, and self-employment income above a threshold amount received in taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012. See the Questions and Answers for the Additional Medicare Tax page for more information.
If you use a tax year other than the calendar year, you must use the tax rate and maximum earnings limit in effect at the beginning of your tax year. Even if the tax rate or maximum earnings limit changes during your tax year, continue to use the same rate and limit throughout your tax year.
Self-Employment Tax Deduction
You can deduct the employer-equivalent portion of your self-employment tax in figuring your adjusted gross income. This deduction only affects your income tax. It does not affect either your net earnings from self-employment or your self-employment tax.
If you file a Form 1040 Schedule C, you may be eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Learn more about EITC, or use the EITC Assistant to find out if you are eligible.
Self-Employment Health Insurance Tax Deduction
Under Section 2042 of the Small Business Jobs Act, a deduction, for income tax purposes, is allowed to self-employed individuals for the cost of health insurance. This deduction is taken into account in calculating net earnings from self-employment. See the Form 1040 and Schedule SE instructions for calculating and claiming the deduction.