Which of the Following Is Not an Employer Payroll Tax police blotter.

Understanding your payroll tax obligations is crucial for maintaining compliance and avoiding potential penalties as a business owner. Employer payroll taxes are a significant aspect of running a business, and knowing which taxes you are responsible for withholding and remitting to the appropriate government agencies is essential. In this post, we will explore the different types of employer payroll taxes and identify which are not.

The Basics of Employer Payroll Taxes

Employer payroll taxes are taxes businesses must withhold from their employee’s wages and pay to the government on their behalf. These taxes fund various government programs and benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to accurately calculate, withhold, and remit these taxes in a timely manner.

Common Employer Payroll Taxes

Let’s take a closer look at the most common employer payroll taxes:

1. Federal Income Tax Withholding

Employers must withhold federal income tax from their employee’s wages based on the information provided on Form W-4. The amount withheld depends on the employee’s filing status, number of allowances, and any additional withholding requested.

2. Social Security Tax

As of 2021, employers must withhold 6.2% of an employee’s wages for Social Security tax up to a maximum wage base of $142,800. The employer must also match this contribution, resulting in a total Social Security tax of 12.4%.

3. Medicare Tax

Employers must withhold 1.45% of an employee’s wages for Medicare tax, with no wage base limit. As with the Social Security tax, the employer must match this contribution, resulting in a total Medicare tax of 2.9%.

4. Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)

Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) is a tax employers pay to fund unemployment compensation programs. The FUTA tax rate is 6% on the first $7,000 of each employee’s wages, but employers may receive up to 5.4% credit for timely payment of state unemployment taxes.

5. State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)

State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) is a tax employers pay to their state unemployment insurance fund. SUTA tax rates and wage bases vary by state, so you must familiarize yourself with your state’s specific requirements.

Additional Employer Payroll Tax Considerations

In addition to the taxes mentioned above, there are a few other considerations for business owners when it comes to employer payroll taxes:

1. Additional Medicare Tax

For high-earning employees, employers may be required to withhold an Additional Medicare Tax of 0.9% on wages exceeding $200,000 (or $250,000 for married couples filing jointly).

which of the following is not an employer payroll tax federal and state.

2. State and Local Income Tax Withholding

Depending on the state and local jurisdiction, employers may be required to withhold state and local income taxes from their employee’s wages. Each state and locality has its tax rates and withholding requirements.

3. Payroll Tax Reporting and Filing

Employers are responsible for reporting and filing payroll taxes regularly. This typically involves filing Form 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) and Form 940 (Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return), as well as any required state and local tax forms.

Which of the Following Is Not an Employer Payroll Tax?

Now that we’ve covered the main employer payroll taxes let’s answer the question: Which of the following is not an employer payroll tax?

The answer is: Self-Employment Tax.

Self-employment tax is not an employer payroll tax because it is paid by self-employed individuals, such as sole proprietors, independent contractors, and freelancers. This tax is similar to Social Security and Medicare employee taxes but is paid entirely by the self-employed.

Self-employed individuals are responsible for calculating and paying their self-employment tax, equivalent to the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes. As of 2021, the self-employment tax rate is 15.3% (12.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare) on net earnings from self-employment.

The Importance of Payroll Tax Compliance

As a business owner, staying compliant with all employer payroll tax obligations is crucial. Failure to withhold, remit, or report payroll taxes accurately and on time can result in significant penalties, interest, and legal consequences. To ensure compliance, consider the following best practices:

1. Stay Informed

Keep updated with payroll tax laws and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels. Regularly review guidance from the IRS, state tax agencies, and professional organizations to ensure you’re following the most current requirements.

2. Maintain Accurate Records

Maintain detailed and accurate employee wages, withholdings, and employer contributions records. Good recordkeeping practices will help you accurately calculate and report payroll taxes and will be invaluable in the event of an audit.

3. Use Reliable Payroll Software or Services

Consider using reputable payroll software or services to help streamline your payroll tax processes. These tools can assist with calculating withholdings, generating required tax forms, and ensuring timely tax payments.

4. Seek Professional Advice

If you’re unsure about your payroll tax obligations or need assistance with compliance, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a qualified tax professional or accountant. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific business needs and help you avoid costly mistakes.


Understanding employer payroll taxes is a critical aspect of running a successful business. By familiarizing yourself with the various payroll taxes, such as federal income tax withholding, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, and unemployment taxes, you can ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties. Remember that self-employment tax, while similar to certain payroll taxes, is not an employer payroll tax, as self-employed individuals pay it. By staying informed, maintaining accurate records, and seeking professional advice when needed, you can confidently navigate the complex world of employer payroll taxes and focus on growing your business.

What happens if an employer fails to pay payroll taxes?

Failing to pay payroll taxes can result in serious consequences for employers. The IRS may impose penalties and interest on late or unpaid taxes, and in severe cases, criminal charges may be filed. Employers may also face legal action to collect unpaid taxes, such as liens or levies. To avoid these consequences, it’s essential to prioritize payroll tax compliance and seek assistance if you’re having difficulty meeting your obligations.

Can employers claim a deduction for payroll taxes paid?

Employers can generally claim a deduction for payroll taxes paid on their business income tax return. This includes the employer’s portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes and federal and state unemployment taxes. However, it’s important to note that the deduction is taken on the employer’s income tax return, not the employees’ tax returns.

How often do employers need to remit payroll taxes?

The frequency of payroll tax deposits depends on the amount of taxes withheld and the employer’s deposit schedule. Most employers must deposit federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax on a monthly or semi-weekly basis. FUTA tax deposits are typically made quarterly. State and local tax deposit schedules may vary, so you must check with your state and local tax agencies for specific requirements.

What should employers do if they discover a mistake in their payroll tax withholdings or payments?

If an employer discovers a mistake in their payroll tax withholdings or payments, they should immediately correct it. This may involve adjusting future withholdings, filing amended tax returns, or making additional tax payments. Documenting the error and the steps taken to correct it is essential. If the mistake is significant or you’re unsure how to proceed, consult with a tax professional or contact the appropriate tax agency for guidance.

Are there any payroll tax exemptions for small businesses?

While there are generally no blanket payroll tax exemptions for small businesses, there are some circumstances where certain taxes may not apply. For example, if a business has employees earning less than $100 in a calendar year, those wages may be exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes. Additionally, some states offer tax incentives or reduced unemployment tax rates for new or small businesses. Researching and understanding any potential exemptions or incentives that may apply to your business situation is essential.

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