Self-Employment Income

§ 404.1080. Net earnings from self-employment.

(a) Definition of net earnings from self-employment. If you are self-employed, you must first determine the amount of your net earnings from self-employment before figuring the amount of your earnings that count for social security purposes. Some of your earnings may not be included as net earnings from self-employment even though they are taxable for income tax purposes. If you are an employee but we consider you to be self-employed for social security purposes, you must figure your earnings as though you were actually self-employed unless you work for a church or church-controlled organization that has exempted its employees (see § 404.1068(f)). Subject to the special rules in §§ 404.1081 through 404.1095, the term net earnings from self-employment means—

(1) Your gross income, as figured under subtitle A of the Code, from any trade or business you carried on, less deductions attributed to your trade or business that are allowed by that subtitle; plus

(2) Your distributive share of income (or loss) from a trade or business carried on by a partnership of which you are a member, as described in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Income or loss from a partnership. (1) Your distributive share (whether or not actually distributed) of the income or loss from any trade or business carried on by a partnership of which you are a member, other than as a limited partner, is determined under section 704 of the Code.

(2) If you are a limited partner, your distributive share is included in your net earnings from self-employment if—

(i) The amount is payable to you for services you render to or on behalf of the partnerships; and

(ii) It is a guaranteed payment described in section 707(c) of the Code.

(3) You are a limited partner if your financial liability for the obligations of the partnership is limited to the amount of your financial investment in the partnership. Generally, you will not have to perform services in the operation of, or participate in the control of, the business carried on by the partnership for the taxable year involved.

(c) Reporting methods. Your gross income from a trade or business includes the gross income you received (under the cash method) or that accrued to you (under the accrual method) from the trade or business in the taxable year. It is immaterial that the income may be attributable in whole or in part to services you rendered or other acts you performed in a prior taxable year.

(d) What is a taxable year. (1) The term taxable year means—

(i) Your annual accounting period on which you regularly figure your income in keeping your books; or

(ii) A short period resulting from your death before the end of your annual accounting period or from a change of your annual accounting period.

(2) The term annual accounting period means—

(i) A calendar year, consisting of 12 months ending on December 31; or

(ii) A fiscal year, consisting of—

(A) 12 months ending on the last day of any month other than December; or

(B) A period, if elected under section 441 of the Code, that varies from 52 to 53 weeks and always ends on the same day of the week that occurs last in a calendar month or nearest to the last day of the calendar month.

(3) Your taxable year for figuring self-employment income is the same as your taxable year for the purposes of subtitle A of the Code. Your taxable year is a calendar year if—

(i) You keep no books;

(ii) You have no annual accounting period; or

(iii) You have an annual accounting period that differs from the definition of fiscal year as described in paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of this section.

[45 FR 20075, Mar. 27, 1980, as amended at 50 FR 36574, Sept. 9, 1985]