Social Security and Medicare Contributions

Tax Year:     Salary: $
Employee Self-Employed


How Contributions are Calculated

The FICA (for Federal Insurance Contributions Act) tax (also known as Payroll Tax or Self-Employment Tax, depending on your employment status) is your contribution to Social Security and Medicare as a percentage of your salary:

Tax Year:        
          source: Social Security Administration

If you're an employee, then you pay one half of this total (probably as a withholding on your paycheck); your employer pays the other half for you (and then gets a deduction for their half on their corporate tax return, since it's an expense - for them it's as if the FICA "half" is an additional piece of salary). If you're self-employed, then you pay the whole total yourself as Self-Employment tax, and then get a tax deduction on half of it as an "adjustment" on your tax return.

Now here's where it gets a little confusing. What the previous paragraph shows is that being self-employed is like being an employee, but at a lower salary - lower by the FICA "half" that employers pay for their employees. And so, if you're self-employed, you don't have to pay FICA on all your salary, just on 92.35% of it (92.35 being 100 minus 7.65 - which is the contribution that your employer would have paid, if you had an employer, which you don't).


Additional Medicare Tax

Starting in 2013, people with high salaries will pay a new additional Medicare tax of 0.9%. Unlike the rest of Medicare, this new tax depends on your filing status:

If your filing status is...
then the 0.9% tax applies
to salary above:
Single $200,000
Married filing jointly $250,000
Married filing separately $125,000


More Information

For much, much more on Social Security, see this official history site, which includes this table showing the contribution percentages since the program started in the 1930s.


Tax Calculator
Tax Brackets
Capital Gains
Social Security




Tax Changes for 2013 - 2024

For 2011 and 2012 only, the employee's "half" didn't equal the employer's "half" for Social Security: they contributed 4.2% and 6.2% respectively. For 2013, both contribute 6.2%.

For 2017, there is a very large increase in the Social Security income limit, from $118,500 to $127,200.

(Note: These calculators do not show the additional Medicare tax applied to high incomes starting in 2013. See below.)


Also See...

Retirement Calculator
Roth IRA Limits
401(k) Calculator
Savings Calculator
Credit Card Calculator
Investment Return
Tax Cuts


Off Site...

Social Security Administration
Social Security Benefit Calculators


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