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FAQ | Transit self-employment tax
 
Frequently asked questions

How do I know if I owe TriMet (TM) self-employment tax?
 
Use the interactive map on TriMet's self-employment tax page.

How do I know if I owe Lane Transit District (LTD) self-employment tax? 
Use the LTD District Boundary Map on LTD's self-employment tax page.
How much is this tax?
   
  2103 2012  2011 2010 
2009
 2008
  TM
.007137 .007018 .006918 .006818 .006718  .006618
  LTD .0069 .006800
.006700
.006600
.006500
 .006400

 
What if a business activity is done both inside and outside the district? 
You may apportion your self-employment earnings for those business activities that are both in and out of the district by using Form TSE-AP,Transit Self-Employment Tax Apportionment Worksheet, 150-500-051: Sales within the district divided by sales outside the district.
 
Most taxpayers will use sales factor only to apportion their income if their tax year begins after July 1, 2005. If you're filing for tax years before this date, refer to the instructions and forms for that particular tax year.
 
Exception: Taxpayers primarily engaged in utilities or telecommunications may elect to apportion net self-employment earnings using the double-weighted sales factor formula in OAR 150-314.280(3).
 
For those exceptions listed above, use Form TSE-AP to apportion your income and check the box on the transit self-employment tax return stating you meet that exception.
 
How do I file a valid extension? 
If you get an extension to file your federal or Oregon individual income tax return, it will also extend your transit self-employment tax return. Check the Extension Filed box on your transit return. Don't include your extension but retain with your records.
 
Be sure to file your transit self-employment tax return within the extension period to avoid additional penalties.
 
Why am I being charged penalty and interest on my unpaid taxes when I have a valid extension? 
More time to file does not mean more time to pay. If you have an extension, you must make your payment by the original due date of the return to avoid a penalty and interest charge. Complete one of our payment vouchers and send it with your tax payment. For TriMet self-employment payments use Form TM-V, 150-555-172. For LTD self-employment payments use Form LTD-V, 150-560-172. Be sure to use the same name and Social Security number (SSN) or federal employer identification number (FEIN) you will use on your return when you file.
 
Where do I look to find my self-employment earnings? 
Self-employment earnings are included on your federal Schedule SE, line 3. This is the net amount of earnings that you will begin with on line 1 of your transit self-employment tax return.
 
The net self-employment earnings on your federal Schedule SE may include those earnings reported on your:
  • Federal Schedule C or C-EZ; or
  • Schedule F; or
  • Schedule K-1 from a partnership return (Form 1065).
 
I have more than one business. How should I file my TriMet return? 
File one return for each individual taxpayer. If you have separate business activities, attach a schedule for each separate business to your return.
 
Am I required to file a return if I have self-employment earnings of $400 or less? 
No. Report only those self-employment earnings that are greater than $400 for each business activity.
 
Can I offset the gain on one business against the loss on a separate business? 
Yes. You may net the gain of one business from which you have self-employment earnings against the loss of a separate business from which you have self-employment earnings. Please note this is a change of law interpretation and applies to any tax year that is still open for amendment.

Example: Business 1 has $10,000 of earned self-employment income. Business 2 has a $4,000 loss. On your Transit SE tax return, you may net the gain from Business 1 with the loss from Business 2 to report total self-employment income of $6,000 ($10,000 - $4,000).
 
Can I file a joint return?
No. Each taxpayer having self-employment earnings must file a separate transit self-employment return. This is true even if you and your spouse filed a joint federal and state income tax return.
 
The only exception is a partnership filing for all of its members. Both spouses could be members of the same partnership and may be included on one transit return filed by the partnership. Refer to the information below on partnerships.
 
Are there any special provisions for the type of business that is conducted?
Yes. See the summary below:
  1. Consultants—See Services (#12).

  2. Director's fees—See Services (#12).

  3. Farmers—Taxable the same as any other business. Farm income is subject to tax to the extent that sales of farm products are within the district. Farmers with sales both in and out of the district use apportionment.

  4. Fiscal Year Filers—When a partnership tax year ends within a calendar year, the partnership files on a calendar year basis with the return due the following April 15.

  5. Insurance Agents—Exempt for insurance related income only. Noninsurance-related self-employment activities (consulting, investment advice, etc.) are taxable.

  6. Manufacturers—Taxable on income earned in the district. Businesses with activities and sales both inside and outside the district use apportionment.

  7. Ministers—Exempt for compensation received for religious services. Compensation received for independent contract services (weddings, funerals, etc.) is taxable.

  8. Partnerships—The partnership may file one return for all partners, deducting one $400 exclusion for each partner. If individual partners have other transit district self-employment income they can't take the $400 exclusion again.

  9. Realtors—Realtors are sometimes treated as employees and sometimes as self-employed, depending on their relationship to their employers. If they're subject to federal self-employment tax, then they're also subject to the transit district self-employment taxes.

  10. Rental Income—Not subject to tax unless you're a real estate dealer and your rental income is part of the business (IRC§1402(a)(1)).

  11. Royalties—See Services (#12).

  12. Services—Services are taxable if performed within the district boundary, non-taxable if performed outside of the boundary. If you perform services both inside and outside of the district, determination is made by whether most of the cost of performance is in or out of the district. Example 1: Mary is a consultant who lives in the district. She does most of her work at each customer's place of business. In this situation, services provided to customers outside the district are not taxable. Example 2: Same facts as Example 1 except that Mary does most of the work for each customer from her home. Since most of Mary's cost of performance for each customer is in the district, all services are taxable, even though some customers are outside the district.

  13. Truckers—See Services (#12). If you have no pick-ups or deliveries within the district boundaries but are only traveling through, then you're income isn't taxed.

  14. Writers—See Services (#12). If the majority of the cost of performance to create a book, article, etc., is within the district boundaries, then the income is taxable.
 
Is anyone exempt from paying this tax?
Yes.
  • C corporations (Incorporated businesses)
  • S corporations (The distributive share)
  • Ministers—applies only to compensation received for religious services.
  • Insurance agents—applies only to insurance-related income. 

When is my transit return due?
Your transit return is due the same day as your federal and Oregon individual income tax returns, usually April 15.

When are Partnership fiscal year returns due?
This return is due the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the fiscal year.
Exception: When a partnership tax year ends within a calendar year, the partnership files on a calendar year basis, with the return due the following April 15.

 
Do I need to make estimated payments? What if I want to make a payment before my transit tax is due?
No. You're not required to send estimated tax payments. However, if you send a payment separate from your return, make sure to include the correct voucher with your check or money-order.

What is the exclusion?  
The total exclusion for all of your self-employment earnings is limited to $400.
 
Individuals: Enter $400 or the amount of your self-employment earnings, whichever is less. An individual taxpayer may not claim more than a $400 exclusion on the transit self-employment tax return. If the exclusion was partially or completely used on another transit self-employment tax return filed by your partnership, you may only use the unused amount of the $400 exclusion.
 
Partnerships: Enter $400 for only those partners whose share of positive earnings are included in the net self-employment earnings on the transit self-employment tax return. If any partner's exclusion was partially or completely used on another transit self-employment tax return for that year, include only that partner's unused amount of the $400 exclusion. Each partner is responsible for ensuring that the total of all exclusions does not exceed $400.

 
Can I file an amended transit self-employment tax return?
Yes. You can file an amended transit return any time. Complete a transit tax return for the year being amended showing the correct numbers and making sure to check the "This is an amended return" box.

Refunds: Refunds are only issued within three years of the original return due date or filed date, whichever is greater.

 
Can I file my return electronically? 
No. You must file your transit return by mail. Include your federal Schedule SE, apportionment worksheets, and payment vouchers. Make a copy for your records, and mail your return to the Oregon Department of Revenue address printed at the bottom of the tax return.

 
What if I'm audited by the IRS? 
If changes are made that affect your self-employment earnings, file an amended return to report and pay any additional tax due. If the change reduces your transit tax, you have two years from the date of the audit report to amend and claim a refund.

 
I'm getting a refund on my Oregon individual income tax return. Can I have that refund applied to this tax?  
No. We can't apply an income tax refund to pay your transit self-employment tax.

 
Where can I find the forms and instructions? 
Forms and instructions are available on our website. These forms cannot be electronically filed at this time. Please print out and mail to the address on the return.

 
Who do I contact about TriMet or Lane Transit District boundaries?
You may contact TriMet and LTD directly at:
TriMet logo
TriMet District
Call TriMet at 503-962-6466 for specific boundary questions. 
 
 
Lane Transit District logo
Lane Transit District  

You may call Lane Transit District at 541-682-6100 or e-mail ltd@ltd.org for specific boundary questions.
Additional information can be found on the Transit Self-employment Taxes (Home) page.