Employers are required by law to withhold employment taxes from their employees. Employment taxes include:
- Federal Income tax withholding
- Social Security and Medicare Taxes
The federal income tax is a "pay as you go tax." You must pay the tax as you earn or receive income during the year. For most employees this takes the form of income taxes withheld from their pay checks. Self-employed persons are also required to make estimated tax payments during the year. The pay as you go system was designed to ensure that taxpayers meet their tax obligations timely.
Social Security and Medicare taxes pay for benefits that workers and their families receive under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Social security taxes pay for benefits under the old age, survivors, and disability insurance part of FICA. Medicare taxes pay for hospital benefits. Each employee contributes part of these taxes and the employer pays a matching amount. Self-employed taxpayers must also pay social security and Medicare taxes in the form of self-employment taxes. The programs funded by employment taxes provide essential benefits to many citizens. The importance of the programs will continue to grow as more citizens reach retirement age. The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax, together with state unemployment systems, provides for payments of unemployment compensation to workers who have lost their jobs.