Paying Self-Employment Tax

Self-employment carries the responsibility for the self-employed to pay SE tax. Are you wondering what process you would have to go through to remit your payment to the Internal Revenue Service?

We have a guide that will tell you the requirements as well as the steps in fulfilling your tax obligations to the government.

Get an SS Number or an ITIN

You would need a Social Security Number or an individual taxpayer identification number to pay self-employment tax. Get the SS Number from any Social Security office. If you are not eligible for an SSN, get an ITIN from the Internal Revenue Service. Form SS-5 is used to apply for a Social Security Card. Form W-7 is used to apply for ITIN.

Determining Self-Employment Tax

Determine net earnings from self-employment using Schedule SE (Form 1040). You may also use other forms, to see what other forms you can use, visit the IRS website at Net earnings from self-employment is your total earnings that is subject to self-employment tax. You would have to pay self-employment tax if your net earnings from self-employment is at least $400. Self-employment tax has a rate of 15.3%, which is the total of 12.4% for social security and 2.9% for Medicare. Only part of your income is subject to the social security tax, but all of it is subject to Medicare tax.

Through estimated tax, self-employed individuals pay taxes for income as they are generated. Employed people don’t have to worry about this because their employers withhold money from their salaries to cover the tax that corresponds to what SE tax is for the self-employed. For a self-employed person, one way to skip hard-core computation of estimated tax is to base the current year tax estimates on tax payments the previous year.

Pay Self-Employment Tax to the IRS

Payment for self-employment tax is made to the IRS along with the federal income tax. SE tax payment may be made online through the Web site of the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. For information on online tax payment, visit Self-employment tax payments are scheduled quarterly beginning on April 15 and subsequently on the 15th of June, September and January (or the first business day after the 15th). Since SE tax is paid as money is earned, payments should only be made for periods when income is received. No payment is required for the tax due date when money was not earned for the taxable period.


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