Social Security taxes in 2021 are 6.2 percent of gross wages up to $142,800. (Thus, the most an individual employee can pay this year is $8,853.60.) Most workers pay their share through FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes withheld from their paychecks. The contributions are matched by their employers.
People who are self-employed cover both shares — that is, 12.4 percent of their net earnings — in the form of SECA (Self-Employment Contributions Act) taxes, paid through federal tax returns. Their higher burden is partially offset by a law that allows them to take half of what they pay in Social Security taxes as an income tax deduction.
Keep in mind
Another 1.45 percent of your gross wages helps fund Medicare. There’s no income maximum there; $1.45 of every $100 you earn goes to Medicare. Again, your employer matches that, and again, people who work for themselves pay both shares, or 2.9 percent of their net income from self-employment.
Updated December 24, 2020
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