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All the Information You Need on Self-Employment Tax

Being your own boss gives you the freedom to create your own schedule, work from home, and follow your passions. But taxes are also included. Self-employment tax is payable by self-employed people (SE tax) or 1099 workers. You must pay self-employment tax if you operate a business or another type of firm on your own behalf.

The SE tax is generally the same as the Social Security and Medicare taxes that employees pay, with the exception that the employer is only responsible for paying half of these and deducting them from employee salaries. If you’re self-employed, it’s up to you to pay both portions of the tax as you don’t have an employer.

What is the self-employment tax system?

It’s critical to comprehend how much tax self-employed individuals pay. You are subject to SE tax if your income is $400 or higher. Your net income is taxed at 15.3% of the SE rate (12.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare).  When filing your yearly income taxes, you must pay the remaining half of the SE tax and deduct half of it from your taxes. A tax tool, such as an income tax calculator, can help calculate how much you might have to pay. 

Submitting a “SE” tax

Independent contractors utilize Schedule SE to file “SE” tax (1040-SR or 1040 form). The SE schedule often represents the tax paid on your gross income’s net earnings. If your gross income is at least $400, you must file an income tax return. If you’re a self-employed independent contractor and were paid $600 or more, this information is recorded on Form 1099-NEC. You’ll receive a copy of this and the IRS will too.  

Estimated tax obligations

Self-employed people must make four quarterly tax payments throughout the year, which are due on the 15th of each quarter (APRIL, JUNE, SEPTEMBER, JANUARY). Failing to pay your tax bill by the deadline or didn’t pay enough the year before, fines and interest may accumulate. You must employ the estimated tax method whenever you anticipate owing $1000 or more in taxes on your return. You’ll need to make estimated tax payments as part of your obligation. 

Deductions for self-employment income

To determine how much tax self-employed people owe, you must submit all of your self-employment earnings and deductions on Schedule C of your income tax return (Form 1040). Subtract your permissible company expenses from your gross self-employment revenue after you’ve calculated it (ordinary and necessary business expenses). After figuring this out, multiply the result by 92.35% to get your self-employment tax. Independent contractors receive 1099 forms from clients detailing the payments you received from them over the course of the year.

In addition to tax deductions, you might also be eligible for tax credits. A tax credit is different from a deduction in that it lowers your income that you’re taxed on. If you have a child, you could claim the child tax credit 2022. Or there’s an education credit 2022 that helps cover the cost of tuition, textbooks and other fees.   

Who is not subject to SE tax?

The net income you receive through self-employment is what is subject to self-employment tax. If you make less than $400, you are exempt from self-employment tax. Social Security and Medicare taxes are not deducted from the portion of your annual salary that are exempt from federal income tax withholding. However, more of your pay can be excluded from income tax as well as social security and Medicare taxes if you file Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer. If you get a stipend from the church or a church income from ministering activities that is less than $108.28 (Christian Science members are exempt). In that situation, self-employment tax is not applicable to this.


Your business or professional earnings are considered self-employment income if you do not have a position with another company or institution. If you work as a self-employed professional, you typically must pay SE taxes. You can find out how much tax self-employed people must pay using the FlyFin tax calculator.