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Three-Quarters of Filers Pay More in Payroll Taxes Than in Income Taxes

William G. Gale, Jeff Rohaly

Published: January 06, 2003
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The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

© TAX ANALYSTS. Reprinted with permission.

This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).


Recent policy discussions have raised the possibility of payroll tax cuts or income tax credits based on payroll tax payments. In 2003, workers and employers each owe 6.2 percent Social Security tax on the first $87,000 of a worker’s earnings, and a 1.45 percent Medicare tax on all wages. Although the statutory obligation to pay payroll taxes is split between the worker and the employer, most economists believe that workers bear most or all of the economic burden.

This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).