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The Social Security Administration has announced that the wage base for computing the Social Security tax (OASDI) in 2013 increases to $113,700 from $110,100, which was the wage base for 2012. The $3,600 increase, which is about 3.27%, is due to an increase in average total wages.

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) imposes two taxes on employers, employees, and self-employed workers—one for Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI; commonly known as the Social Security tax), and the other for Hospital Insurance (HI; commonly known as the Medicare tax).

For 2013, the FICA tax rate for employers is 7.65% each—6.2% for OASDI and 1.45% for HI. For 2013, an employee pays:

(a) 6.2% Social Security tax on the first $113,700 of wages (maximum tax is $7,049.40 [6.20% of $113,700]), plus
(b) 1.45% Medicare tax on the first $200,000 of wages ($250,000 for joint returns; $125,000 for married taxpayers filing a separate return), plus
(c) 2.35% Medicare tax (regular 1.45% Medicare tax + 0.9% additional Medicare tax) on all wages in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for joint returns; $125,000 for married taxpayers filing a separate return).

For 2012, the OASDI rate for employees is 4.2%; the OASDI rate for employers is 6.2% and the HI rate for both employers and employees is 1.45%.

For 2013, the self-employment tax imposed on self-employed people is:

  • 12.4% OASDI on the first $113,700 of self-employment income, for a maximum tax of $14,098.80 (12.40% of $113,700); plus
  • 2.90% Medicare tax on the first $200,000 of self-employment income ($250,000 of combined self-employment income on a joint return, $125,000 on a separate return),  plus
  • 3.8% (2.90% regular Medicare tax + 0.9% additional Medicare tax) on all self-employment income in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 of combined self-employment income on a joint return, $125,000 for married taxpayers filing a separate return).

For 2012, the self-employment tax rate is 13.3%: 10.4% for OASDI, reflecting the two percentage point drop in the OASDI rate for employees, plus 2.9% for HI.  While many tax issues remain in dispute between the political parties, there seems to be a consensus that the two percentage point drop in the OASDI rate for employees and the equivalent reduction for self-employed persons will not be continued for 2013.