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Self Employed Contributions Act (SECA)


The Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA) is a U.S. tax law that mandates self-employed individuals to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. These contributions fund benefits such as retirement, disability, and survivor benefits, as well as medical insurance. SECA levies taxes on the net earnings of self-employed persons, functioning similarly to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax for traditionally employed workers.


The phonetics for the keyword “Self Employed Contributions Act (SECA)” can be represented as:S – /s/ (as in “sea”)E – /ɛ/ (as in “bed”)L – /l/ (as in “love”)F – /f/ (as in “free”)E – /ɛ/ (as in “bed”)M – /m/ (as in “man”)P – /p/ (as in “pay”)L – /l/ (as in “love”)O – /oʊ/ (as in “no”)Y – /j/ (as in “yes”)E – /d/ (as in “end”)D – /i/ (as in “me”)C – /k/ (as in “cat”)O – /oʊ/ (as in “no”)N – /n/ (as in “no”)T – /t/ (as in “tea”)R – /ɹ/ (as in “run”)I – /aɪ/ (as in “bye”)B – /b/ (as in “bat”)U – /juː/ (as in “you”)T – /t/ (as in “tea”)I – /ɪ/ (as in “bit”)O – /oʊ/ (as in “no”)N – /n/ (as in “no”)S – /z/ (as in “zebra”)A – /eɪ/ (as in “ace”)C – /k/ (as in “cat”)T – /t/ (as in “tea”)S – /s/ (as in “sea”)E – /i/ (as in “me”)C – /k/ (as in “cat”)A – /eɪ/ (as in “ace”)You can also use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) for a more accurate representation:Self Employed Contributions Act (SECA): /sɛlf ɛmˈplɔɪd ˌkɒntrɪˈbjuʃənz ækt (ˈsikə)/

Key Takeaways

  1. SECA is a tax system for self-employed individuals: The Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA) is a tax system in the United States that specifically covers self-employed individuals, requiring them to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, also known as self-employment taxes.
  2. SECA tax rate and calculation: Self-employed individuals under SECA pay both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The 2021 SECA tax rate is 15.3%, with 12.4% for Social Security (up to the annual maximum taxable income, which is $142,800 in 2021) and 2.9% for Medicare (with no income cap), with an additional 0.9% for high-income earners.
  3. SECA tax deductions and schedule filing: Self-employed individuals can deduct half of their self-employment tax (SECA tax) when calculating their adjusted gross income on federal income tax returns. Individuals affected by SECA should report their taxes using Schedule SE of Form 1040, submitting it along with their annual income tax return.


The Self Employed Contributions Act (SECA) is crucial in the context of business and finance because it governs the payment of Social Security and Medicare taxes for individuals who are self-employed. This legislation ensures that self-employed workers, who don’t have an employer withholding these taxes on their behalf, contribute fairly to both systems, securing their future access to important benefits such as retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits. Moreover, by levying SECA taxes, the government ensures a consistent funding mechanism to maintain the robustness of Social Security and Medicare programs that serve as key pillars of support for millions of people in the US. SECA ultimately contributes to a more equitable and stable fiscal environment for both the self-employed and the broader society.


The Self Employed Contributions Act (SECA) serves a crucial purpose within the financial structure of the United States by addressing the unique needs of self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs. As an essential component of the nation’s tax law, SECA was designed to ensure that self-employed workers contribute to the Social Security and Medicare funds. This, in turn, guarantees that they benefit from these social safety nets upon retirement, or in case of any disability, in much the same way as employees who contribute through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). SECA effectively levels the playing field for America’s self-employed workforce, while simultaneously providing a crucial source of revenue for two critical social programs.

By mandating that self-employed individuals pay taxes on their net earnings, SECA contributions help sustain the long-term viability of the Social Security and Medicare programs. The tax rate is split between Social Security and Medicare, with the former receiving a 12.4% portion and the latter 2.9%. Thus, self-employed workers contribute a total of 15.3% of their net earnings, which is comparable to the combined contributions made by employees and employers under FICA. Moreover, this system incentivizes self-employed individuals to operate legally within the framework of the American tax system, fostering transparency and accountability.

Overall, the Self Employed Contributions Act ensures that self-employed workers are equally integrated into the social welfare infrastructure while reinforcing the financial foundation of these vital safety-net programs.


The Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA) requires self-employed individuals to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. Below are three real-world examples of individuals who would be subject to SECA taxes:

1. Freelancer Graphic Designer: Mary is a graphic designer who provides services to multiple clients. She operates as a sole proprietor and does not have any employees. Her business income is earned through the projects she undertakes for her clients. As Mary is self-employed, she is required to pay SECA taxes on her net earnings from self-employment, which entails both Social Security and Medicare taxes.

2. Independent Consultant: John is an independent business consultant who offers guidance to small businesses regarding marketing and growth strategies. He works on a project-to-project basis with his clients and receives a fee for his services. Since John is self-employed and generates income through his consulting practice, he must pay SECA taxes on his net earnings from self-employment.

3. Lyft or Uber Driver: Jennifer is a Lyft driver who earns income by providing rides to passengers in her personal vehicle. She uses the Lyft platform to connect with passengers and is not employed by Lyft. As an independent contractor, Jennifer’s earnings from ride-sharing are subject to SECA taxes, and she must pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on her net earnings from self-employment.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA)?

The Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA) is a U.S. tax law enacted in 1954 that imposes taxes on the self-employed to fund Social Security and Medicare programs. It requires self-employed individuals to pay both the employer and employee portions of these taxes based on their net earnings from self-employment.

How is the SECA tax calculated?

The SECA tax consists of two parts – one for Social Security and another for Medicare. The Social Security tax rate is 12.4%, applied to a specified income limit, while the Medicare tax rate is 2.9%, applied to all net earnings. In addition, high-income earners are subject to an additional 0.9% Medicare tax on earnings above a certain threshold.

What is the income limit for SECA tax purposes?

The income limit, also known as the Social Security wage base, is the maximum amount of net earnings subject to the Social Security portion of SECA tax. The limit is adjusted annually, and in 2022, it is set at $147,000.

How are SECA taxes different from FICA taxes?

SECA taxes apply to self-employed individuals, while FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes apply to employees. FICA taxes are split between employers and employees, with each party responsible for paying half (6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare). In contrast, self-employed individuals under SECA are responsible for paying both the employer and employee portions of these taxes.

Can self-employed individuals claim deductions on SECA taxes?

Yes. Self-employed individuals can claim a deduction equal to half of the SECA tax amount paid when calculating their adjusted gross income (AGI) on their federal income tax return. This is done to maintain parity with employed individuals, whose employers cover half of their FICA taxes.

Are there any exceptions or exclusions to SECA taxes?

Some individuals, such as religious sect members and certain state or local government employees, may be exempt from SECA taxes. Additionally, self-employed individuals with net earnings below $400 in a tax year are generally not required to pay SECA taxes.

How do I pay SECA taxes?

Self-employed individuals must calculate their SECA tax liability using Schedule SE, which is attached to their annual Form 1040 tax return. In most cases, they must also make quarterly estimated tax payments based on their expected self-employment earnings and other income for the year. These quarterly payments typically include income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes.

Related Finance Terms

  • Schedule SE
  • Medicare Tax
  • Social Security Tax
  • SECA Tax Rate
  • Net Earnings from Self-Employment

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