All About Comissioning Income Tax

Feb 12, 2024 By Triston Martin

Commission-based pay structures are only appropriate for some workers. Those in such roles are expected to go above and beyond in pursuing new clients and retaining existing ones to meet sales quotas and generate a sufficient commission to cover living expenses. Employees often receive commissions based on a predetermined proportion of their total sales.

The employer handles withholding taxes in a specific salary position. Commissioned workers don't necessarily have this benefit. Commission-based workers have varying income tax filing obligations depending on their employment status. How taxes are determined also depends on the classification of the commissions.

Commission Taxation Calculation

Taxes on the Commission are determined in several ways, depending on the employee's filing status. If the Commission is part of the worker's regular salary, the employer will withhold taxes as if the worker were an employee rather than a contractor.

If the Commission is paid on top of regular pay, the company can choose between using the percentage technique or the aggregate method to calculate the amount of tax to withhold.

The flat percentage commission deduction amounts to 22% using the percentage method. However, the percentage for withholding in 2023 is 37% if the Commission exceeds $1 million. To use the aggregate technique, you would add your base salary to your commission pay, then treat the combined sum as if it were base salary and withhold taxes at your usual income tax rate.

Commissions Paid To Workers: How Are They Taxed?

Taxation of commissions is method-specific. Federal and state taxes will be withheld at the standard rates if your company combines your base salary with any commissions you earn. At tax time, you'll receive a W-2 from your employer that details the amount of money withheld depending on your W-4 election.

Even if your employer pays your Commission differently than your salary, they must still withhold taxes. The overall amount withheld, however, can be determined in several alternative ways.

Using the percentage method, your company would deduct 37% of commissions over $1 million from your salary in addition to the standard 22%. For instance, if you closed a sale and got a commission of $5,000, your company would retain $1,100.

If your company uses the aggregate approach, your commission and base pay will be added together and treated as one continuous income stream. If you made $5,000 in regular pay and $5,000 in Commission during the same period, federal and state taxes would be withheld at the normal rates from the total $10,000 based on your W-4 election.

How Do Independent Contractors Report Their Commission Income?

Commissions are taxed differently depending on whether you are an employee of an organization or a self-employed professional. You, not the company you are doing business with, will be responsible for withholding taxes from your commissions and other revenues.

The self-employment tax for professionals is 15.3%, which consists of a 2.9% Medicare tax and a 13.4% Social Security tax on your total income. Also, your normal federal and state income taxes will apply. Estimated tax payments are often made quarterly by independent contractors and self-employed professionals.

What are the Pros and cons of Working on the Commission?

There are pros and cons to working on Commission, and they vary by profession and field. Read on to find out about some of the most important factors.


  • The flow of money is under your control. Your success is entirely in your hands, as you are responsible for meeting your monthly or quarterly goals. If you require more money in a given month, you'll know to put in more effort. However, you may not have to exert as much effort if you are an older worker seeking additional money.
  • Your possibility for gainful employment is rising. Some jobs that pay purely in Commission may not limit how much you can earn. In theory, this opens the door to an unlimited income. Even if your firm has a commission earnings cap, alternative ways to boost your income may exist.
  • Gaining autonomy is possible. Commission-based careers are mostly numbers games. The likelihood of your manager questioning your time management decreases if you consistently reach or surpass your monthly goals. Someone who likes to do their work independently with little oversight from higher-ups may find this attractive.


Commission revenue has several potential drawbacks, including:

  • Having your federal income tax bill go up or down due to your income swings from week to week or month to month.
  • Certain businesses and lenders may treat you as though you're too much of a danger to hire.
  • There may be more people leaving their jobs as a result.
  • You'll need a lot of self-control.
  • Depending on your job, you'll need to learn how to deal with the unique stresses of working from home.
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