Plastic Surgeon’s Share Of LLC Income Not Subject To Self-Employment Tax


In Hardy v. Commissioner, a Tax Court deliberate a self-employment taxation consequences of a cosmetic surgeon’s share of income warranted by his investment in an LLC that owned and operated a medicine center. Whether a professional’s share of a pass through’s income is theme to self-employment (SE) taxation is an critical emanate that affects many taxpayers. In Hardy, a taxpayer successfully argued that his share was some-more like pacifist income and was not theme to SE tax. In this post we will quickly plead a emanate and a reason for a Tax Court anticipating in preference of Dr. Hardy.

Readers might remember a contention of Fleischer v. Commissioner, where a Tax Court treated a taxpayer individually, rather than his solely-held S Corp, as a legitimate owners of income in Financial Consultant Fails To Avoid Self-Employment Tax With S Corp Structure.

In that post we compared and contrasted self-employment taxation consequences of regulating an S Corp and other pass by entities. Limited partners, like shareholders in an S Corp, are generally safeguarded from self-employment income on partnership profits. That is given Section 1402(a)(13) excludes from a clarification of self-employment income a distributive share of singular partners’ income, other than a guaranteed remuneration for services. Section 1402(a)(13) predates a blast of other pass by entities like LLCs that concede members, distinct singular partners, to actively attend in a business of a entity while also providing in some ways for guilt protection.

There has been doubt per how that income should be characterized. Naturally, taxpayers have analogized members in these entities to singular partners for self-employment taxation purposes; IRS, with some success, generally when a members were active in a business that generated a use income, generally treats a members’ share of a entity’s income as net business income theme to self-employment tax. The key, during slightest from a Tax Court’s perspective, is to establish either a income that a member receives is some-more compared to a collateral investment in a entity or a services that a members perform in their ability as individuals.

When a income seems some-more connected to a services that a members perform it is treated as self-employment income. The 2011 Tax Court box Renkenmeyer v. Commissioner, involving partners in a law organisation is instructive. In that box a Tax Court resolved that given a “revenue was subsequent from authorised services achieved by a partners in their ability as partners, they were not behaving as investors in a law firm.”

In Hardy v. Commissioner, motionless this past week, a Tax Court renowned Renkenmeyer. Hardy was a cosmetic surgeon specializing in pediatric reconstructive surgery. In 2006 he purchased for $163,974 a 12.5 per cent seductiveness in a medicine core run by an LLC. The opinion hold that he did not have self-employment income on his share of a medicine center’s income. To get to a end a opinion walks by Hardy’s purpose with a medicine core and a ways that surgeons acquire income.

Hardy had no suggestive non-surgery compared use responsibilities with a medicine center:

Dr. Hardy has never managed MBJ [the LLC/surgery center], and he has no day-to-day responsibilities there. Although he meets with a other members quarterly, he does not have any submit into government decisions. He generally is not concerned in employing or banishment decisions. His purpose and appearance in MBJ have not altered given he became a member.

While Hardy achieved some of his surgeries during a medicine center, he had no requirement to do so. The opinion discusses how patients compensate surgeons directly for a medicine procedures. Patients alone compensate a price to a surgical trickery for a use of comforts and compared services. What was a pivotal fact was a inlet of Hardy’s seductiveness some-more closely resembled that of a pacifist investor, with Hardy’s share of a LLC income compared to a fees patients paid for a use of a centers. In hint his cut was not categorically tied to surgeries that he performed. Those fees were due Hardy eccentric of any services or surgical procedures he chose to perform during a medicine core that generated a income in question:

Dr. Hardy receives a placement from MBJ regardless of either he performs any surgeries during a medicine center, and his placement is not contingent on how many surgeries he performs during MBJ. MBJ does not have a smallest medicine requirement to accept a distribution.

With that as background, a opinion renowned Renkenmeyer and hold that a income was not theme to SE tax:

Dr. Hardy is an financier in MBJ, that is discernible from a singular guilt partnership shaped by a partners in a law organisation in Renkemeyer, Campbell Weaver, LLP v. Commissioner. MBJ owns and operates a surgical center. MBJ is versed for doctors to perform surgeries that need internal and ubiquitous anesthesia. MBJ bills patients for a use of a facility. Although Dr. Hardy performs surgeries during MBJ, he is not concerned in a operations of MBJ as a business. In contrariety to a partners in Renkemeyer, Campbell Weaver, LLP, who are lawyers practicing law and receiving distributive shares formed on those fees from practicing law, Dr. Hardy is receiving a placement formed on a fees that patients compensate to use a facility. The patients alone compensate Dr. Hardy his fees as a surgeon, and they alone compensate a surgical core for use of a trickery in a same demeanour as with a hospital. Accordingly, Dr. Hardy’s distributive shares are not theme to self-employment taxation given he perceived a income in his ability as an investor.

[notes and citations omitted]

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