How to Calculate Self-Employment Net Earnings

by D. Laverne O'Neal

Being self-employed offers many advantages. However, one disadvantage is self-employment tax. Self-employment tax is the equivalent of payroll withholding for employees, in that it consists of Social Security and Medicare taxes. Self-employment tax is applied to your net earnings. Whether you have one or several businesses, you must calculate net earnings for the tax year. To perform the calculation, you need to know which business deductions the IRS will allow.

1. Calculate your gross earnings for the tax year. This figure should include the earnings from all your businesses, if you have more than one.

2. Talk to a tax accountant or attorney to find out which business deductions are allowable. Deductions may include anything from business travel expenses to trade association membership dues and publication subscriptions.

3. Subtract the amount of the deductions from the gross income amount.

4. Multiply the result by 0.9235 to arrive at the net self-employment income for the year.

About the Author

D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.

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