Are partners considered employees of a partnership or are they considered self-employed?

Partners in a partnership (including certain members of a limited liability company (LLC)) are considered to be self-employed, not employees, when performing services for the partnership.

  • If you're a general partner of a partnership (or the equivalent in an LLC) that carries on a trade or business, your net earnings from self-employment include your distributive share of the income or loss from that trade or business. General partners must also include guaranteed payments as net earnings from self-employment.
  • If you're a limited partner of a partnership that carries on a trade or business, only guaranteed payments for services you rendered to, or on behalf of, the partnership are net earnings from self-employment. Limited partners don't pay self-employment tax on their distributive share of partnership income, but do pay self-employment tax on guaranteed payments.