The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax includes two separate taxes. One is social security tax and the other is Medicare tax. Different rates apply for each of these taxes.
The current tax rate for social security is 6.2% for the employer and 6.2% for the employee, or 12.4% total. The current rate for Medicare is 1.45% for the employer and 1.45% for the employee, or 2.9% total. Refer to Publication 15, (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide, for more information, or for agricultural employers refer to Publication 51, (Circular A), Agricultural Employer’s Tax Guide.
Only the social security tax has a wage base limit. The wage base limit is the maximum wage that is subject to the tax for that year. For earnings in 2014, this base is $117,000. Refer to "What’s New" in Publication 15 for the current wage limit for social security wages, or for Agricultural Employers, refer to Publication 51.
There is no wage base limit for Medicare tax. All covered wages are subject to Medicare tax.
Beginning January 1, 2013, Additional Medicare Tax applies to an individual’s Medicare wages that exceed a threshold amount based on the taxpayer’s filing status. Employers are responsible for withholding the 0.9% Additional Medicare Tax on an individual’s wages paid in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year, without regard to filing status. An employer is required to begin withholding Additional Medicare Tax in the pay period in which it pays wages in excess of $200,000 to an employee and continue to withhold it each pay period until the end of the calendar year. There is no employer match for Additional Medicare Tax. For more information about the Additional Medicare Tax, see our questions and answers.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: January 23, 2014