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Global Work Glossary

Lost in a maze of global employment jargon? Find your way out with our handy collection of work and HR terminology

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Medicare Tax

What is Medicare Tax?

Medicare Tax is a federal payroll tax that funds the Medicare program, which provides health insurance to individuals aged 65 and older, as well as to certain younger people with disabilities. This tax is deducted from the earnings of employees, matched by employers, and is one of the key components of payroll withholding in the United States.

How Medicare Tax is Calculated

The Medicare Tax is calculated at a flat rate on all earned income without a cap. As of the last update, the standard rate is 1.45% for both employees and employers. Additionally, high earners are subject to an Additional Medicare Tax of 0.9% on earnings that exceed certain thresholds, which is only paid by employees and not matched by employers.

Impact on Employees and Employers

For employees, the Medicare Tax is a mandatory deduction from their gross wages, reducing their take-home pay but contributing to their eligibility for Medicare benefits upon reaching the age of 65 or under qualifying conditions. For employers, the obligation to match the Medicare contributions of employees increases payroll costs, but it is a required part of their tax liabilities, ensuring that their workforce is supported with health insurance in retirement.

Importance of Compliance

It is crucial for both employees and employers to understand and comply with Medicare Tax requirements. Incorrect deductions or failure to properly report and pay Medicare taxes can result in penalties and interest from the IRS. Employers must ensure accurate payroll operations and compliance with tax laws to avoid such issues.

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