A Guide to Business Payroll Taxes


Susan Kelly

Dec 06, 2021

Businesses need a deposition of Employment Payroll taxes and report them quarterly. These should be managed by employers properly, as any negligence can cause the employer loss in penalties.

Business Payroll taxes are of various kinds. Some of these varieties are covered by employees, while employers pay others. Also, some varieties are paid for by both parties. However, the deposition of business payroll taxes falls on the employers.

Types of Business Payroll Taxes

1. Federal Income Tax

All states except for Alaska, South Dakota, Texas, Florida, Wyoming, and Washington, necessitate employers to detain state Income Tax from employees' paycheques. The states mentioned earlier have no income tax. Aside from these, Tennessee and New Hampshire do not require tax payment from employee wages.

Whatever amount is deducted from employees' basic salaries, it is used in the payment of annual federal income tax. Moreover, it sometimes also includes additional Medicare tax. These withheld amounts also cover:

● Paid Family Leaves

● Unemployment Benefits

● Short-term disabilities

● Social Security Tax

● Medicare Tax

From the above, the last two must be paid by both the employee and the employer. The limit for compensation is 6.2% which includes 1.45 % Medicare tax. These statistics apply to a wage limit of 137700 dollars annually.

2. Medicare Taxes

When the compensation paid by the employer to an employee exceeds 200,000 dollars, an additional medicare tax has to be paid by the employer. The rate of this medicare tax amounts to 0.9% of the income earned. The employee is liable to pay the entire tax amount. The responsibility of withholding the medicare tax rests with the employer. The threshold amount is 200,000 dollars applied regardless of the employee's tax filing and marital status.

The employers are solely responsible for figuring income tax withholding, whether the withheld taxes apply to federal, local, or state laws. Also, they have to deposit payroll taxes, file various returns, and explain payroll activities.

3. FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax Act)

The federal government aids the states in paying unemployment benefits to employees terminated from their jobs without their consent. This aid has to be funded through the FUTA, created by the Federal Government Tax Act. The basic rate of FUTA is 6% which is applied to the initial 7000 dollars of wages. The maximum FUTA rate can also come down to 42 dollars per employee if the employer receives credit for state unemployment tax.

A state becomes a credit reduction state by borrowing from the federal government for paying unemployment benefits. If it fails to repay the funds to the federal government, a credit reduction state has to pay more than the usual amount of the FUTA rate. This has to be paid by the employees of the state.

How to Calculate Business Payroll Taxes

The employee's W-4 form is used in figuring the payroll taxes. The W-4 form determines the amount of taxes to be withheld and the various additional personal taxes they have to cover if the employee is married. If the employee's W-4 form is not filled and provided, the employer would assume them to be single and no other adjustments to be made.

To calculate Business Payroll Taxes, employers can hire external service providers, such as Paychex. These service providers would undertake the extensive job of calculating the payroll taxes of employees. Some employers also rely on in-house software provided by the IRS for the calculation of payroll taxes.

Tax Returns and Deposits Overview

Set deadlines have to be met by the employers in filing employment-related tax returns and deposits. In case there is negligence on the employer's part in meeting the set deadlines, they are subject to pay penalties. Also, employees face a 100% personal liability in case of failure of withholding employees' tax amount. This entire liability occurs when the employer willfully fails to deposit the tax amount. It compels the employer to keep his records straight to avoid getting penalties.

On the federal level, employers are required to file any tax returns related to business payroll taxes. If the employee's withheld taxes do not cover required payments, then the employer is liable to acquire advance credit from the employees' wages.

Managing Self-employed People and Independent contractors

Independent contractors do not fall under the category of employees. Yet, the employees are required to review their status so that they can be appropriately classified. Businesses having independent contractors are not responsible for withholding any employment taxes. Self-employed workers are required to pay tax from their net income. This tax is termed SE tax. However, businesses are required to file information of annual returns in case SE returns exceed 600 dollars.


Rules for business payroll taxes keep changing. The responsibilities and liabilities of an employer are extensive and overbearing. For accuracy in calculating payroll taxes, it is advisable to take the services of an external professional source like Paychex.


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