What Is Payroll Tax and Who Pays Them?

In general, payroll taxes are the yearly obligations of employers and employees. Payroll taxes always include the federal tax, but many states levy additional payroll taxes and SUTA fees. These fees are vital to the social insurance program of the United States.

Employers and employees pay payroll taxes.

The federal government uses payroll taxes to finance Medicare and Social Security programs. These taxes are usually labeled as MedFICA and FICA on pay stubs. In addition to federal payroll taxes, employers must pay state and local income taxes and federal unemployment insurance taxes for each employee. The federal government also deducts social security taxes from each employee’s paycheck. However, employers are responsible for paying federal unemployment taxes on each employee’s behalf, so it’s crucial to know which tax rates apply in your state.

While both employers and employees pay payroll taxes, the processes vary. For example, some employees may be self-employed, while others may be independent contractors. Check with your tax professional. Payroll taxes can be complicated. 

It’s a yearly obligation.

When you start a new job, you have to fill out a W-4 tax withholding form to determine how much money your employer should withhold from your paycheck. This tax covers your share of Social Security, Medicare, and other expenses. These taxes are also collected from your employees’ paychecks and deposited into the proper government account. This can be a confusing process. 

It’s regressive

Looking at the tax system, you probably know that the payroll tax is regressive. This is because it is the same rate for everyone, regardless of income. People who earn more money pay more in taxes, so a higher income doesn’t necessarily translate into higher spending power. In contrast, people who earn less money pay less in taxes. The payroll tax’s regressive nature makes it incredibly unfair to low-income people, as they are the ones who need the most assistance.

It is true that payroll taxes are regressive, but not how we think. While income tax rates are rising, payroll tax rates haven’t. That’s because it is not a direct tax on earnings but a tax on employee wages. Moreover, the income tax burden is progressive since the top one percent pays the most significant share of the total. In contrast, the income tax burden for the bottom 90 percent has dropped dramatically.

It reduces take-home pay.

Many people are concerned that the new payroll tax law will lower their take-home pay, but this worry is unfounded. Rather than reducing take-home pay, the payroll tax will boost it over the next four months, giving low-wage earners a 6.2% increase in take-home pay. As long as the increase is small enough, workers should be able to make ends meet without the extra money and still have enough left to save for the 2021 repayment period.

In the past, this has been a controversial issue because the payroll tax cuts the amount of take-home pay workers can keep. First, it’s essential to understand that payroll taxes are deducted from your wages. While you may not like having your pay taken away, they are a necessary evil. A little knowledge about these taxes can go a long way in helping you manage your money. Fortunately, you can fill out a W-4 tax withholding form at the beginning of a new job to ensure your employer knows how much to withhold from your paycheck.