What Is Social Security Tax?

What is social security tax and how does it work? Give this article a thorough read to find out.

The Social Security tax is a major factor in the explanation as to why the salary that you take home is different than your actual income. The duty of 6.2% (on pay up to $132,900) is deducted from your salary and shows up on your check stub either as FICA or Fed OASDI/EE. Your manager additionally pays 6.2%, making for an all out Social Security assessment of 12.4% per worker. Peruse on to understand what the pay-stub abbreviations depend on, regardless of whether the independently employed need to settle the duty and if there’s any method to try not to pay it.

Social security tax is one of the biggest government programs in the U.S., representing simply under a fourth of bureaucratic spending. Around one out of four Americans are gathering some sort of Social Security retirement advantage every month, and the entirety of the cash needs to come from some place. That is the place where the Social tax comes in.

If you want to know more about what is social security tax, then you have come to the right place. We have gathered all relevant information to help you understand everything that you need to know. So, what are you waiting for? Without much further ado, let us jump right in!

What is social security tax?

The Social Security tax is one of the two taxes that all businesses are needed to retain under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). The other is the Medicare Tax. FICA likewise commands an Additional Medicare charge, however just for representatives procuring in excess of a set dollar sum.

Independently/self employed people commonly should make good on self employment (SE tax) just as personal expense. SE charge is a Social Security and Medicare charge essentially for people who work for themselves. It is like the Social Security and Medicare charges retained from the compensation of most breadwinners. As a rule, whenever the phrasing “self employment tax” is utilized, it just alludes to Social Security and Medicare charges and no other assessment (like income tax).

Social security tax is the assessment exacted on the two businesses and representatives to subsidize the Social Security program. Government backed retirement charge is gathered as a payroll tax commanded by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) or a self employment tax ordered by the Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA). The Social Security tax pays for the retirement, inability, and survivorship benefits that large number of Americans get every year under the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Program—the authority name for Social Security in the U.S.

The Social Security charge is the cash that gets retained from your acquired pay to subsidize Social Security benefits. You pay a bit of your compensation, at present 6.2%, and your boss pays a segment, as of now an equivalent sum. The joined payments from representatives and managers al over the nation then go to the Social Security Trust Funds, which essentially pay for retired person benefits. The thought is that you add to Social Security benefits while you’re working. At that point, when you resign, current laborers will add to your advantages. That way, the framework can support itself.

The Social Security tax is otherwise called Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) charges. (The EE after OASDI on a compensation stub means the a lot of the expense.) The tax, alongside Medicare charges, is under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), which is the reason the derivation might be named as FICA.

The Social Security tax is a level of gross wages that most representatives, managers and independently employed laborers should pay to support the government program. Certain gatherings of citizens are excluded from settling federal retirement aide tax. It is the business’ commitment to retain the right measure of Social Security tax from each check and forward it to the government on schedule. Inability to do so can bring about critical punishments. Just the social security tax has a limit to the compensation base. The compensation base breaking point is the greatest pay that is dependent upon the tax for that year.

Businesses should record the name and social security number (SSN) of every representative as they’re appeared on the worker’s government managed retirement card. On the off chance that the representative’s name is mistaken as demonstrated on the card (for example in light of marriage or separation), the representative should demand a refreshed card from the SSA. You should keep on announcing the worker’s wages under the old name until the representative shows you the refreshed social security card with the remedied name.

What is social security tax used for?

Social Security taxes are utilized by the national government to pay Social Security benefits. Social Security is a framework intended to help uphold resigned people, widows and single men, and individuals who are debilitated. Social Security is authoritatively called Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI).

How does social security tax work?

The Social Security tax is applied to the salary that is acquired by workers and independently employed taxpayers. Bosses as a rule retain this tax from representatives’ checks and forward it to the public authority. The supports gathered from workers for Social Security are not placed into a trust for the individual representative as of now paying into the asset, but instead are utilized to pay existing retired folks in a “pay-more only as costs arise” framework. Social Security tax is likewise gathered to help people who are qualified for survivorship benefits—benefits paid to a widow or single man upon the passing of a life partner or to a reliant kid upon the demise of a parent.

Starting at 2021, the Social Security tax rate is 12.4%. A big part of the tax, or 6.2%, is paid by the business, and the worker is liable for paying the other half, or 6.2%. The Social Security tax rate is evaluated on a wide range of pay procured by a worker, including pay rates, compensation, and rewards. Be that as it may, there is a pay breaking point to which the tax rate is applied. For 2021, the Social Security tax is taken from pay up to a yearly restriction of $142,800. Any sum acquired above $142,800 isn’t dependent upon Social Security tax.

How is the social security tax used?

The income taxes that you pay are saved into the overall asset of the United States. They can be utilized for any reason, however Social Security taxes are unique. These taxes are paid into uncommon trust subsidizes that should just be utilized to pay current and future Social Security retirement benefits, just as incapacity advantages and advantages for widows and single men. The present laborers contribute their rate, which thusly is paid to the present recipients—those specialists who have resigned and who are currently gathering Social Security benefits. At the point when the present laborers resign, they’ll tap into the advantages being paid by the upcoming specialists.

Why do you pay social security tax?

Laborers need to pay the Social Security tax for a similar explanation we need to pay such a tax: to help government programs in our general public. Social Security advantage installments are, fundamentally, cash that we get from the public authority. Since in excess of 60 million individuals are presently accepting advantages, that is a great deal of cash the public authority needs to spend. To take care of everything, the public authority can complete two things: make the cash or gather it through taxes.

Printing sufficient cash each month to pay all Social Security benefits is adequately inconceivable. Expansion would skyrocket to cataclysmic levels in a matter of seconds by any means. Along these lines, gathering the cash through taxation is actually the lone choice. In general terms, the possibility of the Social Security tax is a sensible one. Despite the fact that you need to hack up piece of your check now, you will at last get that cash back when you’re forced to bear the framework. Things are somewhat more muddled when we leave from the overall evaluation, yet the all-encompassing hypothesis bodes well.

Social security tax rates

Social Security works pretty much just like a flat tax. Everybody pays a similar rate, paying little heed to the amount they procure, until they hit the roof. Starting at 2021, a solitary pace of 12.4% is applied to all wages and independent work pay acquired by a laborer up to a most extreme dollar cutoff of $142,800. A large portion of this tax is paid by the representative through finance retaining. The other half is paid by the business. So representatives pay 6.2% of their compensation income up to the most extreme pay base, and managers likewise pay 6.2% of their worker’s pay profit up to the greatest pay base, for an aggregate of 12.4%.

The Social Security program gives advantages to retired folks and the individuals who are generally unfit to work because of infection or inability. Social Security frequently gives the solitary wellspring of predictable pay for individuals who can at this point don’t work—particularly for those with unobtrusive profit histories. Because Social Security is an administration program pointed toward giving a wellbeing net to working residents, it is financed through a basic retention tax that deducts a set level of pretax pay from every check. Laborers who contribute for at least 10 years are qualified to gather benefits dependent on their profit history once they resign or endure an incapacity.

Social Security benefits are covered at a greatest month to month advantage sum dependent on profit history. To keep laborers from paying more in taxes than they can later get in advantages, there is a cutoff on the measure of yearly wages or acquired pay subject to taxation, called a tax cap. For 2021, the most extreme measure of pay subject to the OASDI tax is $142,800, covering the greatest yearly worker commitment at $8,853.60. The sum is set by Congress and can change from year to year.

As far as possible is swelling listed yearly and can be found in IRS Publication 15 for most representatives, or Publication 51 for farming laborers. As per IRS Publication 15, compensation subject to FICA incorporate all pay got for administrations performed, except if explicitly avoided. The installment doesn’t need to be with money or check. Wages incorporate pay rates, rewards, commissions, and paid excursion or wiped out time. Installments in-kind, as merchandise, dwelling, food, apparel, or administrations, are additionally included except if the representative is a family unit or rural laborer.

Elective commitments to a certified retirement plan are likewise dependent upon FICA. Manager paid mishap or health care coverage expenses for a worker, including the representative’s companion and wards, are not wages and are excluded from FICA. Wellbeing Savings Account (HSA) commitments made by the business are likewise not considered wages. For instance, Jeff procures $20,000 each year. He chooses to contribute $4,000 to his 401(k) plan, and his boss matches 25%, or $1,000. His Social Security compensation are $20,000, yet his elective deferral commitment is as yet dependent upon FICA, and the extra sum contributed by the business isn’t. The Social Security tax retained from his compensation is $1,240 ($20,000 x 6.2%).

On the off chance that an individual procures more than the Social Security tax cap from more than one business, they may really pay more taxes than required. At the point when an excessive charge happens, that sum is applied to the person’s government tax bill or is discounted. Every business should in any case coordinate the tax commitment, yet they don’t get a discount regardless of whether they become mindful of the excessive charge.

Social Security taxes in 2021 are 6.2 percent of gross wages up to $142,800. (Consequently, the most an individual representative can pay this year is $8,853.60.) Most specialists pay their offer through FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes retained from their checks. The commitments are coordinated by their managers. Individuals who are independently employed cover the two offers — that is, 12.4 percent of their net profit — as SECA (Self-Employment Contributions Act) taxes, paid through government tax returns. Their higher weight is incompletely counterbalanced by a law that permits them to take half of what they pay in Social Security taxes as an annual tax allowance.

Remember that another 1.45 percent of your gross wages helps reserve Medicare. There’s no pay greatest there; $1.45 of each $100 you procure goes to Medicare. Once more, your manager coordinates that, and once more, individuals who work for themselves pay the two offers, or 2.9 percent of their net gain from independent work. Ordinarily, Social Security tax is paid on a worker’s wages paying little heed to their age or in the event that they are accepting Social Security benefits. Notwithstanding, a few wages, for example, worker cost repayments, are absolved from Social Security tax.

History of social security tax rates

The Social Security tax started in 1937. Around then, the worker rate was 1%. It has consistently ascended more than the years, arriving at 3% in 1960 and 5% in 1978. In 1990, the representative bit expanded from 6.06 to 6.2% however has held consistent from that point onward—except for 2011 and 2012. The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 decreased the commitment rate to 4.2% for workers for those years; managers were as yet needed to pay everything of their commitments.

The tax cap has existed since the commencement of the program in 1937 and stayed at $3,000 until the Social Security Amendments Act of 1950.1 It was then raised to $3,600 with extended advantages and inclusion. Extra expansions in the tax cap in 1955, 1959, and 1965 were intended to address the distinction in advantages between low-pay and high-breadwinners.

The Social Security tax strategy during the 1970s saw various proposed revisions and re-assessments. The Nixon Administration was principal in contending that tax cap builds expected to connect with changes in the public normal pay file to address advantage levels for people in various tax sections. The 1972 Social Security Amendments Act must be patched up because of issues with the advantages recipe that caused financing concerns. A 1977 change settled the monetary deficiency and set up a tax cap increment structure that related with normal pay increments.

In addition to this, notwithstanding staying aware of average increases in your pay, the Social Security tax cap has additionally been expanded to improve financing inside the framework and to give sensible advantage adds up to the individuals who acquire higher-than-normal wages. In the 21st century, a typical concern is that Social Security could get ruined because of longer futures and a contracting laborer to-retired person proportion. Furthermore, examiners here and there recommend raising the Social Security tax as an approach to keep the program sufficiently financed. Nonetheless, most lawmakers are reluctant to embrace this position as a result of overpowering public supposition against it.

How is social security taxed?

On the off chance that your complete pay is more than $25,000 for an individual or $32,000 for a wedded couple recording together, you should pay annual taxes on your Social Security benefits. Beneath those edges, your advantages are not taxed. That applies to spousal, survivor and inability benefits just as retirement benefits. The bit of your advantages subject to taxation changes with pay level. You’ll be taxed on:

  • up to 50 percent of your advantages if your pay is $25,000 to $34,000 for an individual or $32,000 to $44,000 for a wedded couple recording together.
  • up to 85 percent of your advantages if your pay is more than $34,000 (individual) or $44,000 (couple).

Furthermore, let’s assume you record independently, have $50,000 in pay and get $1,500 per month from Social Security. You would pay taxes on 85 percent of your $18,000 in yearly advantages, or $15,300. No one pays taxes on in excess of 85 percent of their Social Security benefits, regardless of their pay. For reasons for deciding how the Internal Revenue Service treats your Social Security installments, “pay” signifies your changed gross pay in addition to nontaxable interest pay in addition to half of your Social Security benefits.

The entirety of the above concerns government taxes; 13 states likewise tax Social Security to changing degrees. On the off chance that you live in Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Vermont, Utah or West Virginia, contact your state tax office for subtleties on how advantages are taxed. West Virginia is eliminating state taxation of Social Security and as of the 2021 tax year will at this point don’t tax benefits for most occupants.

How is social security tax calculated?

The Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance program (OASDI) tax—all the more normally called the Social Security tax—is determined by taking a set level of your pay from every check. Social Security tax rates are dictated by law every year and apply to the two workers and employers. For 2021, the Social Security tax rate for the two representatives and managers is 6.2% of representative remuneration, for a sum of 12.4%. The individuals who are independently employed are obligated for the full 12.4%.

In addition to this, the joined taxes retained for Social Security and Medicare are alluded to as the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). On your compensation articulation, Social Security taxes are alluded to as OASDI, and Medicare is appeared as Fed Med/EE. Both Social Security and Medicare are government programs that give advantages to retired folks, individuals with handicaps, and offspring of perished laborers.

To figure Social Security tax, you will duplicate the representative’s wages by the Social Security tax rate. It doesn’t make any difference how every now and again you pay the representative. You will consistently figure the tax a similar way. Suppose you pay a worker $1,000. You will increase the $1,000 by 6.2% to decide the amount to retain from the worker’s wages.

$1,000 x 0.062 = $62

You will retain $62 from the worker’s wages. You will likewise contribute $62 for the business part of the tax. When the representative acquires $142,800 in 2021, quit retaining and contributing Social Security tax on their wages. In the event that the worker’s wages never arrive at the yearly edge, you won’t quit retaining and contributing the tax.

Social security tax for the self-employed

Social Security tax is likewise taken from the profit of the independently employed. Since the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) believes an independently employed individual to be both a business and a representative, they need to pay the full 12.4% Social Security tax. The Social Security tax is applied to all net income up to as far as possible. In addition to this, the independent work tax is comprised of the Social Security tax and Medicare tax. Starting at 2021, the independent work tax is 15.3% (12.4% Social Security tax + 2.9% Medicare Tax). The independent work tax is simply applied to 92.35% of net business earnings.

Here’s an example: Jake, who maintains a HR counseling business, computes his complete overall gain for the year to be $200,000 after operational expense have been deducted. His independent work tax rate will be surveyed on 92.35% x $200,000 = $184,700. Since this sum is over as far as possible, his tax bill will be 15.3% x $137,700 (limit) = $21,068.01. Ike can guarantee an over the-line allowance for half of his independent work tax, or $21,068.01 ÷ 2 = $10,534.05. As a result, he gets a discount on the business partition (6.2% Social Security + 1.45% Medicare = 7.65%) of his independent work tax.

Are there ways to avoid social security tax?

Not every person needs to pay the Social Security tax. On the off chance that you are an alien outsider, either as an understudy or a representative of an unfamiliar government, at that point you will not need to stress over paying. Moreover, on the off chance that you are essential for a strict gathering that contradicts the receipt of Social Security benefits, at that point you will not need to pay all things considered. Nonetheless, these are largely uncommon conditions. In addition to this, these individuals will not get Social Security benefits in retirement. Furthermore, in the event that you need to try not to pay the Social Security tax yet at the same time get benefits when you resign, you should realize that the sum you’ve paid into the framework decides your advantages somewhat.

Examples of social security taxes

The Social Security tax is a regressive tax, implying that a bigger bit of lower-pay workers’ absolute pay is retained, contrasted with that of higher-pay earners. Consider two representatives, Lara and Jason. Lara acquires $85,000 for the tax year 2020 and has 6.2% Social Security tax retained from his compensation. The national government, as a result, gathers 6.2% x $85,000 = $5,270 from Lara to help pay for retirement and inability benefits.

Jason, then again, acquires $175,000. The Social Security tax rate may be applied up to the furthest reaches of $142,800. In this way, Jacob will pay 6.2% x $142,800 = $8,853.60 as his commitment to the country’s Social Security represent retired folks and the handicapped, yet his successful Social Security tax rate is $8,853.60 ÷ $175,000 = 5.05%. Lara, with a lower pay for each annum, is successfully taxed at 6.2% (i.e., $5,270 ÷ $85,000).

Indeed, even families that procure a degree of pay to which practically no government annual tax will be applied may in any case have Social Security tax taken from their compensation. In addition to this, a single taxpayer who procures $10,000 net pay in a given year, for instance, will have zero personal tax risk, however 6.2% may in any case be taken for Social Security.


Now that you have read this article, you know all about what is social security tax. Social Security is a payroll tax. Each worker and business in the U.S. is needed to cover Social Security tax. As a business, you will retain the tax from worker compensation. You will likewise make a Social Security commitment dependent on the representative’s wages. Social Security tax is one piece of FICA tax. The other piece of FICA tax is Medicare tax. In addition to this, self employed people don’t make good on Social Security tax. All things being equal, they make good on independent work tax. Independent work tax is like paying both the representative and manager segments of FICA tax.

John Otero

John Otero

John Otero is an industry practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior management roles both in the insurance companies and insurance brokers during this span of time. He began his insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. He got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how he fell in love with the industry. He saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. John has diverse experience in corporate & consumer insurance services, across a range of vocations. His specialties include Major Corporate risk management and insurance programs, and Financial Lines He has been instrumental in making his firm as one of the leading organizations in the country in generating sustainable rapid growth of the company while maintaining service excellence to clients.