Paper Trails

How much do I pay in payroll taxes?

All businesses must follow state and federal rules and regulations to maintain compliance. One of these federal rules deals with taxes. As soon as a business hires its’ first employee, it begins its’ responsibility of paying payroll taxes. These taxes are governed by the Internal Revenue Service.

In this article, we will take a look at the payroll taxes that businesses must pay when paying employees.  By the time you finished reading, you should feel comfortable with your obligations, and be able to understand where the taxes are going.  Let’s take a look at what kind of payroll taxes business are responsible for.

What payroll taxes businesses are responsible for:

As a business owner with employees, you will be responsible for two things when it comes to payroll taxes:

  1. deducting a portion of your employees pay to pay the tax liability on their behalf. This includes:
    • federal and state income tax based on your employees W4 form.
    • the employee portion of social security and Medicare taxes.
  2. paying the company share of payroll taxes on each employee. This includes:
    • social security and Medicare taxes.
    • state and federal unemployment taxes.

Overall, most small businesses pay an average of 10% of employee wages in required payroll taxes on top of the wages they pay to employees. These taxes are divided up and cover a number of items.

Social Security & Medicare Taxes

The Federal Insurance Contribution Act, or FICA, began in the 1930s and is a law that states employees and their employers must make contributions to Social Security and Medicare programs. This Social Security & Medicare Tax is shared by an even 50/50 split between the employer and the employee.  The current total rate for this tax is 15.3% of employee wages.  The social security portion is currently 12.4%. Employees and employers each contribute 6.2% of wages to social security tax. The current Medicare portion of this tax is 2.9%. Employee and employers each contribute 1.45% of wages to Medicare tax.

Unemployment Taxes

There are two different types of unemployment taxes. They are:

  1. Federal Unemployment Tax
  2. State Unemployment Tax

Federal Unemployment

The Federal Unemployment Tax, or FUTA, covers a portion of unemployment benefits at the federal level. Businesses are required to pay the full amount of this tax. The current federal unemployment tax rate is 6% on only the first $7,000 of wages paid to employees in a calendar year. However, because there are state tax credits in play in most states, businesses usually only end up paying 0.6% of employee wages to federal unemployment benefits.

State Unemployment

State Unemployment Tax, or SUTA, funds the unemployment trust run by each state. Each employer is “rated” by the state and issued an unemployment tax rate annually to contribute on behalf of each employee. For the state of Maine, unemployment tax is paid only on the first $12,000 in wages. The individual rate varies by company, however, the “new employer rate” for 2022 is 2.24% of wages.

Well, there you have it – an overview of payroll tax obligations and how they are broken down.  At Paper Trails, we strive to keep business owners like you aware of all aspects of operating a business.  If you have questions about payroll taxes or are worried about staying compliant with these rules, get started with us today!