Payroll tax

Payroll tax

Payroll tax generally refers to two kinds of taxes: Taxes which employers are required to withhold from employees' pay, also known as withholding, Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) or Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) tax; and taxes which are paid from the employer's own funds and which are directly related to employing a worker, which may be either fixed charges or proportionally linked to an employee's pay.

Payroll tax systems


In Australia, the Payroll Tax is a specific tax which is paid to states and territories by employers, not by employees. The tax is not deducted from the worker's pay. The Australian Government itself requires only one tax to be withheld from paychecks: the PAYG (or pay-as-you-go) tax, which includes medicare levies.


In Brazil employers are required to withhold 11% of the employee's wages for Social Security and a certain percentage as Income Tax (according to the applicable tax bracket). The employer is required to contribute an additional 20% of the total payroll value to the Social Security system. Depending on the company's main activity, the employer must also contribute to federally-funded insurance and educational programs. There is also a required deposit of 8% of the employee's wages into a bank account that can be withdrawn only when the employee is fired, or under certain other extraordinary circumstances (called a "Security Fund for Duration of Employment"). All these contributions amount to a total tax burden of almost 40% of the payroll for the employer and 15% of the employee's wages.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, Income tax for employees and Employees' National Insurance contributions are examples of the first kind of payroll tax, while Employers' National Insurance contributions are an example of the second kind of payroll tax.

United States

In the United States, employers are required to withhold federal income tax, plus one-half of the Social Security tax, and one-half of the Medicare tax. Together, the employer's and employee's shares of the Social Security and Medicare taxes are known as the FICA tax. In some places, employers may be required to withhold state income tax, or even city income tax. In addition the employer is required to pay State and Federal unemployment tax.

The payor and payee should determine whether the payee providing services is an employee or, alternatively, an independent contractor. A payor generally is not required to withhold taxes on compensation paid to an independent contractor. [cite web|url=|title=Payroll Taxes on Employees vs. Contractors.]

Employers who do not pay withheld payroll taxes to the U.S. government for employees are assessed a Trust Fund Recovery Penalty by the IRS. The Trust Fund Recovery Penalty is assessed to individuals determined to be responsible by a 4180 Interview for the missing taxes and can be those who willfully do not collect, account for, or pay the taxes. [cite web|url=|title=Unpaid Payroll Taxes? You Need a Tax Professional!] These individuals can be business owners, officers, or employees. [cite web|url=|title=Payroll Tax Issues.] The penalty is for 100% of taxes owed plus interest. [cite web|url=|title=Unpaid Payroll Taxes? You Need a Tax Professional!]

ocial security and Medicare taxes

Social security and Medicare taxes, also known as FICA taxes, must be withheld from the employee's wages. The employer must also pay a matching amount of FICA taxes for employees.

1. Social Security Tax: As of 2007, the employer must withhold 6.2% of an employee's wages and pay a matching amount in social security taxes until the employee reaches the wage base for the year. The combined total for the employee and the employer is equal to 12.4% of gross compensation. The wage base for social security tax in 2007 is $97,500. Once that amount is earned for a given year, neither the employee nor the employer owe any additional social security tax for that year.

2. Medicare Tax: As of 2007, the employer must withhold 1.45% of an employee's wages and must pay a matching amount for Medicare tax. The combined total for the employee and the employer is equal to 2.9% of gross compensation. Unlike the Social security tax, there is no maximum wage base for the Medicare portion of the FICA tax. Both the employer and the employee continue to incur and pay Medicare tax on each additional amount of gross compensation, with no limit on the amount of gross compensation on which the tax is imposed.

Unemployment taxes

Each employer also must pay State and Federal Unemployment Taxes (SUTA and FUTA). The FUTA rate is equal to 6.2% of gross compensation, but normally nets to 0.8% because the employer is allowed to take a credit of up to 5.4% of compensation for SUTA taxes that paid by the employer. This will be the case if the employer is eligible for the maximum credit. The wage base for FUTA is $7,000 (i.e., the employer is liable for FUTA only on the first $7,000 of compensation paid to each employee per calendar year). Each state has a different rate, so that employers must consult the state requirements for each applicable state regarding tax rates and maximum wage base. Many states require new business to have an average starting rate until an employment history is created. For example, Indiana requires new employers to pay 2.7% for the first 3 years. Afterwards the rate is adjusted depending on various factors, such as whether an ex-employee files a request for unemployment benefits.

Historical Social Security, employee wage tax base

The following table only shows the taxes collected from the employee. The employer pays another 6.2 percent. (Under the theory of tax incidence, part of the "employer contribution" is arguably paid for by the employee in the form of lower wages.) The average annual rate of increase of the maximum Social Security Wage Base is approximately 4.1%, in comparison to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is a good monitor of inflation, of 2.8% over the same years.

For information on Federal payroll tax requirements, see [ IRS publication 15] , Circular E. For information on State payroll tax requirements, contact your state's taxation and revenue department.


External links

* [ What are Payroll Taxes?]
* [ Payroll tax in Australia]
* [ Payroll tax (Australian Tax Office)]
* [ US Payroll Tax Tables]
* [ US Payroll Tax Tables by ZIP Code]

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