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In addition to my regular job, I sometimes submit to a continuing medical education publication a short article which reviews/summarizes a recent medical research paper.

Prior to this year, I have done this about once a year. The publisher send me a check, and no tax related forms. The amount I earn for each review is $300, and I have claimed it as miscellaneous income.

I now anticipate writing about 3-4 of these articles per year for an total income of about $1000. I was wondering whether I was obligated to file this as self-employment income.

Our old friend Facts & Circumstances decides what type of income miscellaneous income is. You can get some guidance from Pub 535, but you're not going to find a bright line anywhere. As is usual, I'm most interested in the unstated: what's your day job? how did you come by these gigs? why the increase in workload?

If it is self-employment income you can set up a SEP for free at any IRA custodian and contribute 20% of your net income from self-employment (term of art). That net income is your Schedule C bottom line minus the adjustment to income for 1/2 of your Self-Employment tax. Details about plans available to the self-employed are in Pub 560.

Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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