20 CFR § 404.447 - Evaluation of factors involved in substantial services test.
In determining whether an individual's services are substantial, consideration is given to the following factors:
(a) Amount of time devoted to trades or businesses. Consideration is first given to the amount of time the self-employed individual devotes to all trades or businesses, the net income or loss of which is includable in computing his earnings as defined in § 404.429. For the purposes of this paragraph, the time devoted to a trade or business includes all the time spent by the individual in any activity, whether physical or mental, at the place of business or elsewhere in furtherance of such trade or business. This includes the time spent in advising and planning the operation of the business, making business contacts, attending meetings, and preparing and maintaining the facilities and records of the business. All time spent at the place of business which cannot reasonably be considered unrelated to business activities is considered time devoted to the trade or business. In considering the weight to be given to the time devoted to trades or businesses the following rules are applied:
(1) Forty-five hours or less in a month devoted to trade or business. Where the individual establishes that the time devoted to his trades and businesses during a calendar month was not more than 45 hours, the individual's services in that month are not considered substantial unless other factors (see paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of this section) make such a finding unreasonable. For example, an individual who worked only 15 hours in a month might nevertheless be found to have rendered substantial services if he was managing a sizable business or engaging in a highly skilled occupation. However, the services of less than 15 hours rendered in all trades and businesses during a calendar month are not substantial.
(2) More than 45 hours in a month devoted to trades and businesses. Where an individual devotes more than 45 hours to all trades and businesses during a calendar month, it will be found that the individual's services are substantial unless it is established that the individual could reasonably be considered retired in the month and, therefore, that such services were not, in fact, substantial.
(b) Nature of services rendered. Consideration is also given to the nature of the services rendered by the individual in any case where a finding that the individual was retired would be unreasonable if based on time alone (see paragraph (a) of this section). The more highly skilled and valuable his services in self-employment are, the more likely the individual rendering such services could not reasonably be considered retired. The performance of services regularly also tends to show that the individual has not retired. Services are considered in relation to the technical and management needs of the business in which they are rendered. Thus, skilled services of a managerial or technical nature may be so important to the conduct of a sizable business that such services would be substantial even though the time required to render the services is considerably less than 45 hours.
(c) Comparison of services rendered before and after retirement. Where consideration of the amount of time devoted to a trade or business (see paragraph (a) of this section) and the nature of services rendered (see paragraph (b) of this section) is not sufficient to establish whether an individual's services were substantial, consideration is given to the extent and nature of the services rendered by the individual before his retirement, as compared with the services performed during the period in question. A significant reduction in the amount or importance of services rendered in the business tends to show that the individual is retired; absence of such reduction tends to show that the individual is not retired.
(d) Setting in which services performed. Where consideration of the factors described in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section is not sufficient to establish that an individual's services in self-employment were or were not substantial, all other factors are considered. The presence or absence of a capable manager, the kind and size of the business, the amount of capital invested and whether the business is seasonal, as well as any other pertinent factors, are considered in determining whether the individual's services are such that he can reasonably be considered retired.
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