Vision Payroll

January 2, 2011

2010 Form W-2 Tips, Part 4, Box 3 Social Security Wages

This is one in a continuing series on the 2010 Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, which employers must generally furnish to employees no later than January 31, 2011. Forms mailed on the due date are considered furnished if properly addressed. Employers unable to meet that deadline may file a request for extension of time to furnish the forms. Today we review Box 3, social security wages.

Social Security Earnings Help Determine the Amount of Social Security Benefits

Box 3 shows the amount wages paid subject to social security tax. It does not include social security tips reported in box 7 or allocated tips reported in box 8. Wages should be reduced by amounts withheld for non-taxable benefits elected under §125 plans, certain clergy housing allowances, and third-party sick pay after the end of six calendar months after the calendar month that the employee last worked for the employer. For 2010, the combined total of boxes 3 and 7 cannot exceed $106,800. Since social security benefits are based on the amount of social security wages reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA), it is important that employees periodically review their social security earnings record and provide the SSA with the Form W-2 to update any incorrectly posted earnings records.

Box 4, Social Security Tax Withheld Is the Next Topic

The next topic in this continuing series will be Box 4, social security tax withheld. Contact Vision Payroll with any questions on the 2010 Form W-2.

December 24, 2010

Question of the Week: What is the Maximum Amount of Social Security Withholding Tax for 2011?

What is the Maximum Amount of Social Security Withholding Tax for 2011?
What is the Maximum Amount of Social Security Withholding Tax for 2011?
This week’s question comes from Adrienne, a sales manager. I normally earn in excess of the FICA limit ($106,800 in 2010 and 2011). I know the social security withholding rate has been reduced for 2011. What is the maximum amount of social security withholding tax  (sometimes called FICA tax)for 2011? Answer: The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (2010 Tax Act) reduced the rate for social security withholding tax (sometimes called FICA tax) from 6.2% to 4.2%. Since the wage base remains at $106,800, the maximum social security withholding tax for 2011 by one employer from one employee will be $4,485.60 ($106,800 X 4.2%).

Employer Withholding Rate Remains at 6.2%

There was no change in the rate of social security tax paid by an employer on an employee’s wages. Since the rate remains 6.2%, the maximum employer social security tax for 2011 by one employer for one employee will be $6,621.60 ($106,800 X 6.2%).

Employees May Have More Withholding if They Have Two or More Jobs

The wage base is generally applied on an employer-by-employer basis. Employees who earn more than $106,800 combined at two or more jobs could have social security withholding in excess of $4,485.60 in 2011. Withholding will stop at a job only when the employee reaches the maximum at each individual job. There are exceptions to this rule for situations such as common paymasters and successor employers.

Employees Can Receive Credit on Form 1040 for Excess FICA Withholding

Even though the employer must pay the full tax and withhold it from the employee, amounts withheld above the maximum can be claimed as a credit on Form 1040. For tax year 2010, enter any excess FICA tax withheld by two or more employers on line 69 of Form 1040 and reduce your balance due or increase your overpayment by the amount of the excess.

Contact Vision Payroll for More Information on Social Security Withholding Tax

Contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions on social security withholding tax or visit our Important Facts and Figures page for further information.

October 16, 2010

Social Security Administration Announces 2011 Changes

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — Vision @ 3:51 pm
Commissioner of Social Security, Michael J. Astrue
Commissioner of Social Security, Michael J. Astrue
The Social Security Administration announced recently that the Maximum Taxable Earnings or Social Security Wage Base would not change for 2011.

Social Security Increases Based on CPI Change

Since there was no increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2010, the Social Security Wage Base will remain at $106,800. There is no provision for a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) when there is no increase in the CPI-W. Wages are taxed at 6.2%, so the maximum tax to be paid by each employee will be $6,621.60. About 7% of workers who pay Social Security Tax are expected to reach the maximum in 2010.

Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amounts Remain Unchanged for 2011

For workers under full retirement age, $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $2 above the Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amount of $14,160 per year or $1,180 per month. The year an individual reaches full retirement age, $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $3 above the Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amount of $37,680 per year or $3,140 per month. The month an individual reaches full retirement age there is no limit on earnings. These amounts are also unchanged from 2010 to 2011.

Quarter of Coverage Amounts Stay at $1,120

Also unchanged for 2011 is that amount needed to earn a Social Security credit, formerly known as a quarter of coverage. In 2011, a credit will be earned for every $1,120 of earnings, up to a maximum of four credits.

Contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions on the Social Security changes for 2011 or get further information at Important Facts and Figures.

August 20, 2010

Question of the Week: Has the 2011 Social Security Wage Base Been Announced?

Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, and Managing Trustee of the Trust Funds.
Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, and Managing Trustee of the Trust Funds.
This week’s question comes from Sylvia, a payroll manager. I thought I heard that the social security wage base would remain the same in 2011 as it was in 2010, but I can’t find anything official. Has the 2011 social security wage base been announced? Answer: Although the official announcement has not been made that for 2011 there will be no increase in the social security wage base, The 2010 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds has been released. In it, the Board of Trustees estimates that the 2011 social security wage base will remain unchanged at $106,800. The report includes the information about financial operations, legislative changes, and actuarial assumptions.

Second Straight Year with No Increase in Social Security Wage Base

If the prediction holds true, 2011 would be the third straight year that the wage base would be $106,800 and the maximum social security withholding would be $6,621.60. At this time, an increase in the wage base and maximum withholding is projected for 2012.

Social Security Wage Base Projected to Increase Over 40% by 2019

The Board of Trustees projects annual increases through 2019. Currently, the Board of Trustees estimates that the social security wage base will increase to $153,600 for the year 2019.

Vision Payroll Expects Official Announcement in October

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes the official announcement, most likely in October, Vision Payroll will provide updated amounts for 2011. Visit our Important Facts and Figures page for more details.

January 2, 2010

2009 Form W-2 Tips, Part 4, Box 3 Social Security Wages

This is one in a continuing series on the 2009 Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, which employers must generally furnish to employees no later than February 1, 2010. Forms mailed on the due date are considered furnished if properly addressed. Employers unable to meet that deadline may file a request for extension of time to furnish the forms. Today we review Box 3, social security wages.

Box 3 shows the amount wages paid subject to social security tax. It does not include social security tips reported in box 7 or allocated tips reported in box 8. Wages should be reduced by amounts withheld for non-taxable benefits elected under §125 plans, certain clergy housing allowances, and third-party sick pay after the end of six calendar months after the calendar month that the employee last worked for the employer. For 2009, the combined total of boxes 3 and 7 cannot exceed $106,800. Since social security benefits are based on the amount of social security wages reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA), it is important that employees periodically review their social security earnings record and provide the SSA with the Form W-2 to update any incorrectly posted earnings records.

The next topic in this continuing series will be Box 4, social security tax withheld. Contact Vision Payroll with any questions on the 2009 Form W-2.

October 19, 2009

Social Security Administration Announces 2010 Changes

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — Vision @ 11:21 am

The Social Security Administration announced recently that the Maximum Taxable Earnings or Social Security Wage Base would not change for 2010. Since there was no increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2009, the Social Security Wage Base will remain at $106,800. There is no provision for a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) when there is no increase in the CPI-W. Wages are taxed at 6.2%, so the maximum tax to be paid by each employee will be $6,621.60. About 7% of workers who pay Social Security Tax are expected to reach the maximum in 2010.

For workers under full retirement age, $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $2 above the Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amount of $14,160 per year or $1,180 per month. The year an individual reaches full retirement age, $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $3 above the Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amount of $37,680 per year or $3,140 per month. The month an individual reaches full retirement age there is no limit on earnings. These amounts are unchanged from 2009 to 2010.

One amount that did increase for 2010 is that amount needed to earn a Social Security credit, formerly known as a quarter of coverage. In 2009, a credit is earned for every $1,090 of earnings, up to a maximum of four credits. That amount will increase to $1,120 in 2010.

Contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions on the Social Security changes for 2010 or get further information at Important Facts and Figures.

October 17, 2008

Question of the Week: When Will the 2009 Social Security Wage Base Be Announced?

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — Vision @ 10:24 am

This week’s question comes from Roseanne, a payroll manager. When will the 2009 Social Security wage base be announced? Answer: The US Department of Labor has just announced that the 2009 Social Security Wage Base will increase by $4,800 to $106,800. Since wages are taxed at a rate of 6.2%, the maximum tax to be paid by each employee will therefore increase to $6,621.60 or an increase of $297.60. The increase impacts about 7% of workers who pay Social Security Tax. Vision Payroll will automatically update its system for 2009 to reflect the higher wage base.

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