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Self-Employed? Not Sure What The Self-Employment Tax Is? Read here!

If you thought that running a successful business on your own was hard enough already, think again. As a self-employed individual, defined by the IRS as someone who operates a trade, business or profession, (either by yourself or as a partner), you are required to pay self-employment tax as well as income tax. Self-employment tax consists of Social Security and Medicare taxes, similar to those withheld from the pay of most wage earners. Failure to comply with IRS regulations may result in your business operations being jeopardized. The following are a few key facts to keep in mind:

1. The Social Security tax rate for 2013 is 15.3% on self-employment income up to $113,700. Should your net earnings exceed $113,700, you continue to pay only the Medicare portion of the Social Security tax, which is 2.9%. Starting this year, the Medicare tax rate for net earnings in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers) is increased to 3.8%.

2. You need to have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time to get Social Security benefits (no more than 10 years of work, which is equivalent to 40 credits). In 2013, if your net earnings are $4,640 or more, you earn the yearly maximum of four credits. If your net earnings are less than $4,640, you could still earn credit (depending on how you report your earnings).

3. Certain income does not count for Social Security and should not be included in figuring your net earnings. These include dividends from shares of stocks and interest on bonds, interest from loans, rentals from real estate, and income received from limited partnerships.

Tax law is ever-changing and can be quite complex. It is highly recommended that you consult with a financial or tax professional with any tax-related questions or concerns.

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