FICA Tax Wex LII Legal Information Institute

fica meaning

As an employer, the City also pays a tax equal to the amount withheld from an employee’s earnings. In 2023, employers withhold FICA taxes from employee paychecks. If you have multiple jobs, you can claim the Social Security overpayment on Form 1040. If you owe any taxes, the IRS will use part of your refund to pay them off. If you overpaid Social Security taxes and you only have one job, you’ll need to ask your employer for a refund.

What is the purpose of FICA?

An estimated 171 million workers are covered under Social Security. FICA helps fund both Social Security and Medicare programs, which provide benefits for retirees, the disabled, and children.

FICA tax is a mandatory tax that employers and employees pay for. The Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax is a special tax that goes directly toward funding Social Security and Medicare. Both employees and employers pay FICA taxes, with employers deducting the tax payments directly from employee paychecks.

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A liability is a financial debt or obligation that a company owes and that the company incurred in the course of doing business. Stagflation occurs when an economy experiences slow economic growth (stagnation) and high unemployment alongside high levels of inflation (rising prices for goods and services). FICA taxes fica meaning are related to, but not the same as, Social Security. This is not an offer to buy or sell any security or interest. Working with an adviser may come with potential downsides such as payment of fees (which will reduce returns). There are no guarantees that working with an adviser will yield positive returns.

  • The tax is split with the employee and employer each paying 6.2%.
  • If the taxpayer is due a refund, then the FICA tax overpayment is refunded.
  • For 2022 and 2023, the total Social Security tax rate of 12.4% is split between employee and employer.
  • Certain religious groups (like the Amish) may apply for an exemption from FICA taxes by filing IRS Form 4029.
  • The funds are used to pay for both Social Security and Medicare.
  • The Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA, requires that wage earners contribute a portion of their earnings to fund the Social Security and Medicare programs.

Under SECA, the self-employed pay both the employee and employer portions of the Social Security and Medicare taxes. For example, as a sole proprietor, you’d be responsible for paying 12.4% of your income toward Social Security and 2.9% toward Medicare. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), FICA taxes are made up of old-age, survivors, and disability insurance taxes (Social Security) plus the hospital insurance tax (Medicare). FICA taxes also go to Medicare programs that fund older and certain disabled Americans’ health care costs. When you’re old enough, FICA funds collected from those still in the workforce will pay your benefits. Of each 7.65%, 6.2% goes toward Social Security tax, and 1.45% goes toward Medicare tax.


The Act also introduced the concept of a wage cap for social security deductions, where the social security tax only applies to the wages earned up to the amount of the wage cap. The wage cap concept does not apply to Medicare deductions; thus, someone earning a high salary will see a Medicare deduction on his or her paycheck remittance advice, no matter how high the salary may be. The social security wage cap increases in most years, which means that the tax applies to more of a person’s income over time, increasing the gross tax amount paid to the government. The standard tax rates currently mandated under FICA are 6.2% for the social security tax and 1.45% for the Medicare tax. Certain employees at higher wage levels are also subject to a 0.9% Medicare surcharge. With employer matching, this means that 12.4% and 2.9% of wages, respectively, are forwarded to the government.

Wage earners pay 6.2% on income of $147,000 ($160,200 in 2023) or less toward Social Security. Any income above $147,000 ($160,200 in 2023) is not taxed for Social Security purposes. The Medicare rate of 1.45% is paid by wage earners on income currently up to $200,000 for individuals. For income above that, they pay an additional Medicare tax of 0.9%. Employers match the 1.45% rate but are not responsible for matching the 0.9% rate. Additional Medicare Tax applies to an individual’s Medicare wages that exceed a threshold amount based on the taxpayer’s filing status.

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FICA and SECA taxes do not fund Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, even though that particular program is run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contribution Act, a tax that provides for the federal system of Old Age, Survivors, Disability Insurance, and Hospital Insurance. The first three are funded by the Social Security system, while Hospital Insurance is funded by a Medicare tax.

What is FICA also called?

Taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) are composed of the old-age, survivors, and disability insurance taxes, also known as social security taxes, and the hospital insurance tax, also known as Medicare taxes.

FICA tax is a payroll tax imposed by the federal government that funds Social Security and Medicare programs. The Federal Insurance Contributions Act was passed in 1935 to create a funding mechanism for Social Security. However, the federal government did not begin to collect FICA payroll taxes until 1937. Since then, a Medicare payroll tax was added in 1965 to contribute to Medicare costs.

What Is FICA Tax and How Does it Work?

If a person is self-employed, he or she must remit both parts of the tax to the government; in this case, the half of these taxes remitted on behalf of their business entity is allowable as a tax deduction. For example, college students are exempt from paying FICA taxes on the wages they earn from an on-campus job. Exemptions also apply to some nonresident aliens, including foreign government employees and teachers. Certain religious groups (like the Amish) may apply for an exemption from FICA taxes by filing IRS Form 4029. But by not paying these payroll taxes, they waive the right to receive Medicare and Social Security benefits. The FICA tax applies to earned income only and is not imposed on investment income such as rental income, interest, or dividends.

fica meaning

Roosevelt believed that the money collected from all working Americans through FICA would belong directly to them. He didn’t want the financial benefits for their retirement, disability, or death to depend on federal revenue. He feared that politicians would take and use the money for their own purposes. The Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) of 1954 requires the self-employed to pay taxes on their net earnings to help fund Social Security and Medicare.

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