Raising the Social Security Payroll Tax Cap: How Many Workers Would Pay More?

Source: Nicole Woo, Janelle Jones and John Schmitt, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Issue Brief, January 2013

From the press release:
On January 1, the Social Security payroll tax cap rose from $110,100 in 2012 to $113,700. This meant that annual income up to $113,700 per year became subject to the 6.2 percent payroll tax but that the tax is not applicable to anything above that. A new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrates that the extension or elimination of the cap on the payroll tax would affect only a tiny fraction of workers while strengthening Social Security for all Americans.

The issue brief, “Raising the Social Security Payroll Tax Cap: How Many Workers Would Pay More?” finds that just the wealthiest 1 in 20 workers (the top 5.2 percent) would pay the Social Security tax on their annual income above $113,700 if the payroll tax cap were eliminated in its entirety and only 1 in 75 (the top 1.3 percent) workers would be affected if the cap were applied to yearly earnings over $250,000. In the current system, someone making twice the cap, or $227,400 per year, pays the Social Security tax on only half of their income and someone making $1.1 million per year only pays the tax on about a tenth of their income. …
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