I'm about to start a small business and am going to do it under an LLC (sole proprietorship in federal tax eyes). I had assumed a much heftier tax rate around ~30% but I'm seeing just tax for self-employment which comes to around 15-16%.

Is that all the tax that I'd owe on my company income which in essence "flows-through" to me?

  • 1
    No, you also have to pay income tax. The self-employment tax is in addition to the income tax. If you set up the LLC as an S corporation, then the corporation's earnings are treated as your earned income, which is why you have to pay income tax on that.
    – phoog
    Dec 19, 2016 at 3:23
  • One of the important reasons that people use an S-corporation rather than an LLC is to prevent all of the profits from being subject to self-employment taxation. If an S-corporation pays a reasonable wage, profits are not subject to self-employment taxation or FICA.
    – ohwilleke
    Dec 19, 2016 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


You don't owe any federal taxes on a sole proprietorship LLC. (And hopefully you formed the LLC in a state that doesn't impose any taxes on LLCs or their assets.)

As you said: For tax purposes all of the company's income passes through to you personally, and you are personally responsible for paying taxes on that income.

"Self employment tax" is just another way of saying that you have to pay full FICA tax on earned income. In contrast, if you have a "traditional" employer the law requires that employer to pay half of your FICA taxes.


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