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Publication 80

7. How To Figure Social Security and Medicare Taxes(p8)

The employee tax rate for social security is 4.2% on wages paid and tips received before March 1, 2012. The employee tax rate for social security increases to 6.2% on wages paid and tips received after February 29, 2012. The employer tax rate for social security remains unchanged at 6.2%. The social security wage base limit is $110,100.The 2012 employee tax rate for Medicare is 1.45% (amount withheld) each for the employee and employer (2.9% total). There is no wage base limit for Medicare tax; all covered wages are subject to Medicare tax. Multiply each wage payment by these percentages to figure the tax to withhold from employees. Employers report both the employee and employer shares on Form 941-SS, 944-SS, or Form 943 (farm employment). See section 5 for information on tips.
At the time this publication was prepared for release, the rate for the employee’s share of social security tax was 4.2% and scheduled to increase to 6.2% for wages paid after February 29, 2012. However, Congress was discussing an extension of the 4.2% employee tax rate for social security beyond February 29, 2012. Check for updates at

Deducting the tax.(p9)

Deduct the employee tax from each wage payment. If you are not sure that the wages that you pay to a farmworker during the year will be taxable, you may either deduct the tax when you make the payments or wait until the $2,500 test or the $150 test explained in section 6 has been met.

Employee's portion of taxes paid by employer.(p9)

If you pay your employee's social security and Medicare taxes without deducting them from the employee's pay, you must include the amount of the payments in the employee's wages for social security and Medicare taxes. This increase in the employee's wage payment for your payment of the employee's social security and Medicare taxes is also subject to employee social security and Medicare taxes. This again increases the amount of the additional taxes that you must pay.
Household and agricultural employers.(p9)
This discussion does not apply to household and agricultural employers. If you pay a household or agricultural employee's social security and Medicare taxes, these payments must be included in the employee's wages. However, this wage increase due to the tax payments is not subject to social security or Medicare taxes as discussed in this section. See Publication 15-A for details.

Sick pay payments.(p9)

Social security and Medicare taxes apply to most payments of sick pay, including payments made by third parties such as insurance companies. For details on third-party payers of sick pay, see
Publication 15-A.