What Is The Purpose of Payroll Tax?

Payroll taxes are a way for employers and employees to help support social insurance programs. They are typically calculated as a percentage of an employee’s salary. There are several payroll taxes based on a wage base and flat rates. Learn about how they can impact your take-home pay.


If you are an employer, it’s essential to ask yourself, what is a payroll tax and its impact on employee take-home pay? While employers do not contribute to the federal income tax, they contribute to payroll taxes. The payroll tax is a share of wages between the employer and the employee. Payroll tax rates vary by state and federal income tax brackets, so it’s essential to understand how it will affect the amount of take-home pay you can withhold from your employees’ paychecks.

An employee’s take-home pay is the amount of money that remains after all deductions have been made. For example, if an employee earns $20 per hour and works 80 hours a week, the gross pay for that week is $1,600. To calculate take-home pay, you must subtract income taxes, post-tax deductions, and other deductions from gross pay. A payroll software program can help you calculate the payroll tax and make sure it is calculated correctly.

Payroll taxes are the second-largest source of federal revenues, accounting for 36 percent of all federal revenues in 2019. They’re paid by employers and employees equally. Most Americans are subject to payroll taxes, which are usually automatically deducted from their paychecks.

Support Social Insurance Programs

Social insurance programs are funded by payroll taxes that both workers and employers pay. However, it is essential to note that nearly half of these taxes are hidden in lower wages, so many people may need help understanding the total cost of these programs.

The level of benefits and eligibility requirements for social insurance programs are dependent on the amount of government funding. For example, entitlement delivery ensures that only people who meet eligibility criteria are eligible for benefits. At the same time, funding-based programs may put people on waiting lists and turn away those who meet eligibility requirements.

Flat Rates

Proponents of flat taxes argue that removing the top rates will provide economic stimulus and spur job creation. They say that by removing the hefty marginal tax rates, people would be motivated to work harder, earn more, and save and invest more, ultimately leading to a more robust economy. Flat tax advocates also note that a single rate is much more challenging to raise, which gives Americans predictability and protection from unwarranted tax rate increases.

Flat rates for payroll tax are only available in some states. In some states, the tax is a flat percentage of personal income, but the federal government sets the rate at 6.2 percent and a further 1.45 percent for employees. In addition, many flat tax proposals make allowances for investment income, such as interest on money market accounts. There are two types of flat rates for payroll tax: the mandatory flat rate and the optional flat rate. The mandatory flat rate is the higher of the two and is based on the wage base.

No Wage Base Limit

Wage base limits are the minimum and maximum amount of annual taxable earnings an employee can earn. They apply to both employers and employees. Once an employee reaches the limit, taxes will be calculated again, and the calculation may change. The tax calculation will start again if the federal or state government increases the wage base limit.

The maximum wage base limit for the social security tax is $147,000 for 2022. In 2021, it was $142,800. The limit is adjusted annually based on inflation. The wage base limit for the social security tax is $147,000 for employees and $141,800 for employers. This means that an employee earning the maximum wage in 2022 will pay $9114 in taxes, whereas an employer with a wage base limit of $147,000 will pay $16,338.a

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