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Self-Employed: Definition, Financial Impact & Tax Implications

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Self-employment has grown significantly in recent years, and the trend is expected to continue.

Being self-employed offers many advantages, such as setting your hours and having more control over your career.

While it is an attractive option, there are numerous financial and tax implications to consider before leaping into self-employment.

In this post, we’ll define what it means to be self-employed, discuss the financial impact, and explore the tax implications of self-employment.

By understanding these concepts, you can make informed decisions about your finances and tax situation.

So, let’s get started!

What Does it Mean to Be Self-Employed?

Self-employment means that you are in business for yourself.

Self-employment offers many benefits, such as making your own decisions and being the boss of yourself.

For many people, being self-employed is the best way to achieve their career goals and a work-life balance.

What Are 3 Main Types of Self-Employment?

image showing a self-employed woman working on her business at a desk with racks of clothing behind her

The three main categories are independent contractors, sole proprietorships, and partnerships.

Independent Contractors

The definition of a contractor is an individual or a business that uses a contract to commit materials and services to a client.

Freelancers and gig workers are considered self-employed and fall under the independent contractor category.

Freelancers vs Gig Workers

These types of workers have subtle differences.

Gig workers complete specific tasks and do not have an ongoing relationship with the company that hires them.

Gig work may include ride-sharing, home improvement, etc.

Freelancers provide services to clients on an as-needed basis while building long-term relationships with their clients.

Sole Proprietorships

A sole proprietorship is a business owned by a single individual.

The owner has complete control over the business and is personally liable for all debts and losses.

Therefore if the company fails, assets like their home or savings could be at risk.


A partnership is an arrangement between two or more people formalized through a written agreement.

Partnerships often share resources and expertise, yet they also have the potential for disagreements and conflict.

Is Self-Employed an Occupation?

The term “occupation” refers to a person’s paid employment.

However, self-employment can also be considered an occupation, as those who are self-employed still perform work in exchange for compensation.

In many cases, self-employed workers are just as skilled and qualified as those employed by someone else.

Whether or not self-employment is considered an occupation is a matter of definition.

However, there is no doubt that self-employed workers significantly contribute to the economy and society.

What Are Some Examples of Self-Employment?

There are several different worker classifications, and self-employment can take various forms.

Some common examples of self-employment include freelance writing, graphic design, and consulting.

Most self-employed individuals are small business owners who own brick-and-mortar businesses, like retail shops or restaurants.

Or, they may operate a mobile business, such as a food truck or pet grooming service.

Others may work online, providing web design or virtual assistant services.

Self-employment can be freeing and challenging, as it requires self-motivation and discipline to be successful.

However, for many people, the rewards of self-employment are worth the challenges.

How Does Self-Employment Impact Taxes?

Taxes do not work the same for everyone, as various people can have employment of different sorts.

Therefore, paying self-employment taxes is different.

The IRS considers self-employment income to be subject to fewer payroll taxes.

Therefore they tax at a higher rate.

The Self-Employment Tax (SE tax) is a Social Security and Medicare tax for individuals who work for themselves.

Self-employed people pay the entire SE tax, whereas an employer would pay some.

The current SE tax rate is 15.3%.

The IRS uses a progressive tax system to tax self-employment income, which means that the more income you earn, the higher your tax rate will be.

For example, if you earn $50,000 in self-employment income, you will be taxed at a rate of 28%.

However, if you earn $200,000 in self-employment income, you will be taxed at a rate of 33%.

The 3.8% Surtax

The IRS also imposes an additional 3.8% tax on high-income taxpayers.

This tax is used to fund the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA uses this additional taxation on individuals and businesses to help pay for health insurance subsidies.

The additional 3.8% surtax applies to investment income for single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) over $200,000, or $250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.

Investment income includes interest, dividends, capital gains, and other passive forms of income.

The 3.8% surtax also applies to net rental income from real estate activity.

If you are self-employed and your business earns rental income from real estate property, you will be subject to this tax.

Fortunately, deductions and credits are available to offset the impact of these new taxes.

For example, the deduction for qualified business expenses can reduce your taxable self-employment income by up to 20%.

There are also several credits available that can offset the cost of health insurance premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses related to health care.

How to Register as Self-Employed

Registering as self-employed is a process that can be completed online, by phone, or in person.

The first step is to gather the required information, which includes your Social Security number, business address, and contact information.

Once you have all of the necessary information, you can begin the registration process.

If you register online, you will need to create an account and provide your personal and business information.

If you register by phone, you will need to provide your Social Security number and business information to the customer service representative.

In-person, you will need to fill out a form and submit it to the appropriate office.

After your registration is complete, you will receive a confirmation notice.

This notice will include your unique registration number, which you will need to use when filing your taxes.

By taking the time to register as self-employed, you can ensure that you are in compliance with the law and avoid any penalties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Self-employment can be difficult to navigate so here are some top-asked questions to help you out.

Are there grants for self-employed individuals?

Yes, and the grants depend on the type of business you run.

For example, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of grants for small businesses, including those that are self-employed.

However, these grants are typically only available for businesses that are engaged in research and development or that provide services to underserved communities.

To find out if you are eligible for any type of grant or loan, it is advisable to contact your local government or business support organization.

Do self-employed people get health insurance?

There are several options available for the self-employed to obtain coverage.

The most common way to get health insurance when self-employed is to purchase a policy through the private market.

This can be done directly from an insurance company or through an online broker.

Another option for the self-employed is to enroll in a health-sharing program.

These programs allow members to share in the cost of each other’s medical bills.

Wrapping Up

Self-employment is a growing trend in the modern economy and can provide greater autonomy and potential to those who are willing to take on the risks associated with it.

This article provided an overview of various types of self-employment, outlined the financial impact, and discussed the tax implications associated with this type of work arrangement.

It also included information on grants and health insurance options for the self-employed.

Please comment if you have any questions.

We hope this information helps you get a better idea of what it means to be self-employed.

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