Social Security payroll tax rate rises, reduces paychecks

Markets Soar On Budget Deal OnFirst Trading Day Of 2013

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A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on January 2, 2013 in New York City. A day after U.S. lawmakers reached a last minute agreement to avert the fiscal cliff, U.S. stocks surged as traders around the globe felt renewed confidence over global markets. Shortly after the opening bell, The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied more than 230 points, or 1.7%.

The fiscal cliff legislation that lawmakers in Washington passed on New Year's Day may head off income tax increases for most people, but it didn't affect one tax that will go up for everyone who earns a paycheck: the Social Security payroll tax.

For two years, workers' share of the Social Security payroll tax has remained at 4.2 percent. Now it’s jumping back up to 6.2 percent. Lawmakers designed the original two-point reduction to stimulate the economy, and President Barack Obama made that a priority two years ago.

But neither he nor congressional Republicans tried to extend it as part of the fiscal cliff deal.

What does that mean? If, for example, you earn $50,000 a year, your Social Security tax will increase by about $1,000 over a year. So even if your income tax isn’t rising, you can expect to see a little less in your next paycheck. 

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