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I was an employee until May of this year. I'll be starting a consulting assignment as independent contractor soon and have a few questions. The contract is out of state - Reimbursed partially thro' Per Diem.

1) Do I need to report Per Diem ? Is it on 1099 ?
2) Can I take full deduction for unreimbursed expenses - travel, good, logdging, utilities, other ?
3) Do I pay 15.3% FICA on (Earnings - expenses) eventhough I've already paid Social Security on earnings as employee for half year.
4) On a W2, does the employer pay 7.5 % on all earnings or they also have a max limit for Social security portion like the employee does ?
5) Is there any other way to reduce FICA taxes ?

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