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Publication 80

7. How To Figure Social Security and Medicare Taxes(p11)

The tax rate for social security is 6.2% (amount withheld) each for the employer and employee (12.4% total). The social security wage base limit is $128,400. The 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 Forms 941-SS, 944, or Form 943 (farm employment). See section 5 for information on tips.

Additional Medicare Tax withholding.(p11)

In addition to withholding Medicare tax at 1.45%, you must withhold a 0.9% Additional Medicare Tax from wages you pay to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year. You’re required to begin withholding Additional Medicare Tax in the pay period in which you pay wages in excess of $200,000 to an employee and continue to withhold it each pay period until the end of the calendar year. Additional Medicare Tax is only imposed on the employee. There is no employer share of Additional Medicare Tax. All wages that are subject to Medicare tax are subject to Additional Medicare Tax withholding if paid in excess of the $200,000 withholding threshold.
For more information on what wages are subject to Medicare tax, see the chart Special Rules for Various Types of Employment and Payments in section 12. For more information on Additional Medicare Tax, go to

Deducting the tax.(p11)

Deduct the employee tax from each wage payment. If you’re 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.(p11)

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. For more information, see Revenue Ruling 86-14, 1986-1 C.B. 304.
Household and agricultural employers.(p11)
This discussion doesn't 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 isn't subject to social security or Medicare taxes as discussed in this section. See Pub. 15-A for details.

Sick pay payments.(p11)

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 Pub. 15-A.

Motion picture project employers.(p11)

All wages paid by a motion picture project employer to a motion picture project worker during a calendar year are subject to a single social security tax wage base ($128,400 for 2018) and a single FUTA tax wage base ($7,000 for 2018) regardless of the worker's status as a common law employee of multiple clients of the motion picture project employer. For more information, including the definition of a motion picture project employer and motion picture project worker, see Internal Revenue Code section 3512.