Article Date:
May 2018

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Reduce Self-Employment Taxes by Renting from Your Spouse

If you are a sole proprietor, you know that the 15.3 percent self-employment tax can eat up your profits in a hurry.


You may be able to use a simple strategy to ease this tax burden.


If you own an office building or other assets, you can set up a rental arrangement with your spouse that could significantly cut your self-employment taxes.


How the Strategy Creates Cash


Suppose you operate a sole proprietorship and you earn $100,000 of net income.


You must report your income on Schedule C of your tax return, which creates a self-employment tax liability of $14,129.55.1


Here’s how the rental strategy can help. You give the office building to your spouse, who then rents the office space back to you. To do this, you must have a valid non-tax purpose for the transaction, as we explain later.


You pay your spouse $2,000 rent each month (the fair rental value of the building), which moves $24,000 off Schedule C and onto Schedule E.


Schedule E, unlike Schedule C, does not give rise to self-employment taxes.


Thus, this strategy reduces your self-employment income by $24,000, which puts an extra $3,391.09 of cash in your pocket at the end of the year.2


The Legal Authority


The tax court approved this arrangement in ... Log in to view full article.

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