We’re breaking down the terms, forms and deadlines you need to know to responsibly file your taxes in 2023 – starting with FICA. Your employer is also responsible for paying half of the total FICA obligation. The taxes taken out of your paycheck for Social Security and Medicare are collectively referred to as FICA taxes. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us.

Medicare wages and self-employment income are combined to determine if income exceeds the threshold. A self-employment loss is not considered for purposes of this tax. RRTA compensation (which does not include non-qualified stock options granted to RR employees) is separately compared to the threshold. To the extent the employer does not withhold the 0.9 percent Medicare surtax, the employee must pay the tax.

Also, unlike the other FICA taxes, you withhold the 0.9 percent Medicare surtax only to the extent that wages paid to an employee exceed $200,000 in a calendar year. You begin withholding the surtax in the pay period in which you pay wages in excess of this $200,000 “floor” to an employee, and you continue to withhold it each pay period until the end of the calendar year. As you can see, the employer’s portion for the social security tax and the regular Medicare tax is the same amount that you’re required to withhold from your employees’ wages. (Different rules apply for employees who receive tips.) There is no employer portion for the 0.9 percent additional Medicare tax on high-earning employees. Employers have numerous payroll tax withholding and payment obligations.

Social Security & Medicare Tax Rates

Unlike the other FICA taxes, the 0.9 percent Medicare surtax is imposed on the employee portion only. There is no employer match for the Medicare surtax (also called the Additional Medicare Tax). You withhold this 0.9 percent tax from employee wages, and you do not pay an employer’s portion.

Our experts answer readers’ tax questions and write unbiased product reviews (here’s how we assess tax products). In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners; however, our opinions are our own. Part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the government started collecting FICA taxes in 1937, following the passage of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act of 1935. With millions of people out of work, the idea was to provide pensions for elderly workers. If you have a job, chances are that every time you get paid, you see FICA taxes deducted from your paycheck. “Students that perform services for a school, college, or university where the student is pursuing a course of study” are exempt from paying the FICA tax.

What is the OASDI limit in 2023?

However, the federal government did not begin to collect FICA payroll taxes until 1937. Since then, a Medicare payroll tax was added in 1965 to contribute to Medicare costs. If you are a waged or salaried employee, you’ve probably seen on your paystub and annual W-4 statements those boxes marked FICA in the payroll tax section. Half of that tax—6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare—is automatically withheld from each paycheck, and your employer contributes the other half. Employees at U.S. businesses are required to pay what are known as FICA taxes, often referred to as payroll taxes. Your FICA taxes impact your final net pay and are determined by the amount of your earnings.

and 2020 FICA tax rates

These include withholding income taxes and payroll taxes from your employees’ paychecks, paying employer taxes and reporting withheld amounts and employer taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. However, in community property states, half of any income tax withholding on wages will be credited to the other RDP. By contrast, each RDP takes full credit for the estimated tax payments annualized salary that he or she made. In making this determination, you do not consider wages paid by other employers or earnings of the individual’s spouse. Even if your employee is married and the couple’s combined income will not exceed the employee’s $250,000 filing threshold, you still must withhold the additional tax once the employer’s $200,000 withholding threshold is reached.

If you receive a paycheck, FICA taxes are automatically deducted from your wages, with you and your employer splitting the tax burden. The self-employed, however, pay a federal self-employment tax totaling 15.3%, as they’re both the employee and employer. On the other hand, if you are self-employed, you are responsible for the entire amount (12.4% for Social Security plus 2.9% for Medicare, for a total of 15.3%) yourself. But you can generally deduct half of the FICA tax on your federal income tax return.

Employers have a legal responsibility to withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from the wages paid to employees and remit them to the IRS. Commonly known as FICA tax, these taxes are deducted from each paycheck. The obligation of paying payroll taxes falls to the employer, not the employee. If your business opts to use an accountant or payroll software, you won’t have to worry about the specifics of withholding payroll taxes, as they will calculate this for you.

What are FICA and SECA taxes?

Unlike the uncollected portion of the regular (1.45%) Medicare tax, an employer may not report the uncollected Additional Medicare Tax in box 12 of Form W-2 with code N. As an employer, you must withhold Additional Medicare Tax on wages you pay to your employee in excess of the $200,000 withholding threshold in a calendar year. You cannot honor a request to cease withholding Additional Medicare Tax because you are required to withhold it. Your employee will claim credit for any withheld Additional Medicare Tax against the total tax liability shown on their individual income tax return (Form 1040 or 1040-SR).

As an employer, if you contribute to your employees’ retirement accounts, those contributions may not be subject to FICA. In some cases, state and local government employees may not have to pay the tax. Since FICA tax isn’t part of income tax, the rate doesn’t change with your income. Employees will owe 6.2% of their income to contribute to the Social Security portion of FICA. Knowing about these taxes can help you get a better idea of how much you will owe or get back when you file your taxes. There are no special rules for nonresident aliens and U.S. citizens living abroad for purposes of this provision.

The net investment income tax, also known as the “unearned income Medicare contribution surtax,” is an additional 3.8% tax applied to net investment income. Like the additional Medicare tax, there is no employer-paid portion. In 2023, the Medicare tax rate is 2.9%, split evenly between employers and employees. W-2 employees pay 1.45%, and their employer covers the remaining 1.45%. Self-employed individuals, as they are considered both an employee and an employer, must pay the entire 2.9%.

Employers must withhold these taxes from employee paychecks and pay them to the IRS. FICA taxes are called payroll taxes because they are based on income paid to employees. Some people are “exempt workers,” which means they elect not to have federal income tax withheld from their paychecks. Social Security and Medicare taxes will still come out of their checks, though.

Medicare Payroll Tax

A has $200,000 in wages and B has $100,000 in self employment income. A is liable for Additional Medicare Tax on $75,000, the amount by which A’s wages exceed the $125,000 threshold for married filing separate. B’s self-employment income of $100,000 does not exceed the $125,000 threshold, so B does not owe Additional Medicare Tax. All wages that are currently subject to Medicare Tax are subject to Additional Medicare Tax if they are paid in excess of the applicable threshold for an individual’s filing status. For more information on what wages are subject to Medicare Tax, see the chart, Special Rules for Various Types of Services and Payments, in section 15 of Publication 15, (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide.