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The only part of the $9000 1099 from 2008 that can be used to count toward earned income is $9000 - expenses - self employment tax, not $9000 - self employment tax, correct?

Almost. It's the Schedule C bottom line minus the 1040 line 27 deduction for 1/2 S/E tax.

I thought at some point there was a mention of another $2,000 or so of her income. If it's taxable compensation, that also adds to the amount available.

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