Social Security Tax Wage Base

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Social Security Tax Wage Base

Social Security Administration

Social Security's Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program limits the amount of earnings subject to taxation for a given year. The same annual limit also applies when those earnings are used in a benefit computation. This limit changes each year with changes in the national average wage index. Social Security calls this annual limit the contribution and benefit base. For earnings in 2021, this base is $142,800.

There is no limit to the wages subject to the Medicare tax; therefore, all covered wages are still subject to the 1.45% tax. As in 2020, wages paid in excess of $200,000 in 2021 will be subject to an extra 0.9% Medicare tax withholding that will only be withheld from employees' wages, as employers do not pay the extra tax.

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax rate, which is the combined Social Security tax rate of 6.2% and the Medicare tax rate of 1.45%, will be 7.65% for 2021 up to the Social Security wage base. The maximum Social Security tax employees and employers will each pay in 2021 is $8,853.60. This is an increase of $316.20 from $8,537.40 in 2020.

Self Employed
The Social Security wage base for self-employed individuals in 2021 will also be $142,800. There is no limit on covered self-employment income that will be subject to the Medicare tax. The self-employment tax rate will be 15.3% (combined Social Security tax rate of 12.4% and Medicare tax rate of 2.9%) up to the Social Security wage base. In 2021, the maximum Social Security tax for a self-employed individual will be $21,848.40.

Calendar Year Annual Wage
Base Amount
2021 $142,800
2020 $137,700
2019 $132,900
2018 $128,400
2017 $127,200
2016 $118,500
2015 $118,500
2014 $117,000
2013 $113,700
2012 $110,100
2011 $106,800
2010 $106,800
2009 $106,800
2008 $102,000
2007 $97,500
2006 $94,200
2005 $90,000
2004 $87,900
2003 $87,000
2002 $84,900
2001 $80,400
2000 $76,200
1999 $72,600
1998 $68,400