Social Security Tax Law and Legal Definition

Social security is designed as safety net national insurance system to protect individuals from financial distress caused by unforeseen catastrophes. In the United States, the Social Security Program was created in 1935 (42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) to provide old age, survivors, and disability insurance benefits to workers and their families. Unlike welfare, social security benefits are paid to an individual or his or her family at least in part on the basis of that person's employment record and prior contributions to the system. The program is administered by the Social Secuirty Administration (SSA) and since 1965 it has included health insurance benefits under the Medicare program. While social security benefits under the act are most often associated with old age, survivors, and disability insurance, in its broadest sense, they also includes federally funded welfare programs and unemployment compensation.

Most people who pay into Social Security work for an employer. Their employer deducts Social Security taxes from their paycheck, matches that contribution and sends taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and reports wages to Social Security. But self-employed people must report their earnings and pay their taxes directly to IRS.

You are self-employed if you operate a trade, business or profession, either by yourself or as a partner. You report your earnings for Social Security when you file your federal income tax return. If your net earnings are $400 or more in a year, you must report your earnings on Schedule SE in addition to the other tax forms you must file.