FICA is composed of two taxes: Social Security and Medicare.
Social Security is calculated by multiplying an employee’s taxable wages by 6.2%. For example, if an employee’s taxable wages are $600 this week:
$600.00 x 6.2% = $37.20 (this amount would be deducted from the pay check)
There is a wage base limit for Social Security. For example, in the year 2013, this tax is calculated only on the first $113,700 that is earned.
The employer also pays this tax. They pay it at the rate of 6.2% and are subject to the same wage base limit ($113,700 for 2013).
The total amount sent to the IRS for Social Security tax in 2013 will be 12.4% of taxable wages (6.2% for the employee share plus 6.2% for the employer share, for a total of 12.4%). A specific formula is used when calculating the employer share of Social Security.
$600.00 x 12.4% = $74.40 (the total amount due for SS tax)
Medicare is calculated by multiplying an employee’s taxable wages by 1.45%. For example, if an employee’s taxable wages are $600 this week:
$600.00 x 1.45% = $8.70 (this amount would be deducted from the paycheck)
There is no wage base limit for Medicare.
This is a tax that also requires an employer contribution. Employers pay it at the same rate as the employee (1.45%). If the Medicare tax for the employee portion of the tax is $8.70, the employer’s Medicare tax amount is also $8.70.
The total amount sent to the IRS for Medicare tax is 2.9% of taxable wages (1.45% employee share plus 1.45% employer share is a total of 2.9%). A specific formula is used when calculating the employer share of Medicare.
$600.00 x 2.9% = $17.40 (the total amount of Medicare tax to be paid)
An additional 0.9% tax is required to be withheld on annual employee wages that exceed $200,000. There is no employer contribution for this tax.
There may also be a 3.8% Medicare tax on passive investment income, which is not a payroll tax and is different than the above tax.
Other State Taxes – Employee and/or Employer Taxes
Other state taxes that employees may be subject to are disability insurance, state unemployment, and local taxes. These taxes may also require an employer contribution.
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