Question

I have a question about the Social Security tax rate and the Medicare tax rate? What is the percentage withheld for each?

Answer

The employee tax rate for Social Security is 6.2% — and the employer tax rate for Social Security is also 6.2%. So, the total Social Security tax rate percentage is 12.4%. Only the employee portion of Social Security tax is withheld from your paycheck.

The 2020 wage-base limit is $118,500. If you earn more than that with one employer, you should only have Social Security taxes withheld up to that amount. If you have more than one employer and you earn more than that amount, you’ll receive an adjustment of any overpaid Social Security taxes on your return.

The employee tax rate for Medicare is 1.45% — and the employer tax rate is also 1.45%. So, the total Medicare tax rate percentage is 2.9%. Only the employee portion of Medicare taxes is withheld from your paycheck. There’s no wage-based limit for Medicare tax. All covered wages are subject to Medicare tax.

If you receive wages over $200,000 a year, your employer must withhold a .9% additional Medicare tax. This will apply to the wages over $200,000. This is on top of the 1.45% employer tax rate.

If you’re married, you might not have enough Medicare taxes withheld. If you’re married filing jointly with earned income over $250,000, you’re subject to an additional tax. This also applies to married filing separately if your income is over $125,000.

If this is the case, cover the additional Medicare taxes needed by:

  • Adjusting your withholding
  • Making estimated payments

 

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