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What Is the Medicare Tax?

Medicare is a national system that provides healthcare for eligible residents in the United States. Recipients are typically age 65 or older, although younger people may qualify if they have certain diseases or disabilities. Medicare coverage includes a broad range of inpatient and outpatient services and prescription drug plans. While the services provided are extensive, Medicare does not pay them in full. For any medical bills you incur, Medicare typically only pays up to 80%. In addition, the majority of Medicare recipients must pay a premium.

What Are Medicare Taxes?

Medicare taxes help fund Medicare. The Medicare taxes and Social Security tax are mandated by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). FICA taxes are deducted from your wages and other income.

Who Pays the Medicare Tax?

Any employee or business in the United States will contribute to the Medicare tax. This includes people who are self-employed and non-residents. The tax applies to all eligible income. Eligible income includes your wages, tips, and bonuses. Some fringe benefits are subject to the tax as well, such as paid time off or access to a company car for personal use.

What Is the Medicare Tax Rate?

The Medicare tax rate for 2020 is 1.45% of your income, with your employer paying a matching 1.45%. Combined with the 12.4% tax rate for Social Security, the total FICA tax rate is 15.3%.

Unlike the Social Security tax, which has a cap on the amount you can be taxed each year, there is no limit to the Medicare tax. In fact, if your income is above a certain level, you may have to pay the Additional Medicare Tax.

You may be responsible for Additional Medicare Taxes if any of the following situations apply to you.

You are:

  • Single, and your filed income is $200,000 or above
  • Married, filing independently, and your income is $125,000 or above
  • Married, filing jointly, and your combined incomes are $250,000 or above
  • If you fall into one of those categories, you are required to pay an additional .9%. Your employer, however, is not responsible for the extra cost.

Do I Have to Pay the Medicare Tax on My Investments?

Some, but not all earnings from investments will be subject to the Medicare tax.

A few of the types of investments that are usually subject to the tax are:

  • Rental income
  • Dividends
  • Net capital gains from the sales of investments

Nontaxable investments and benefits include:

  • Withdrawals made from a retirement plan such as a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or 401(k)
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Social Security benefits

Nothing on this website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.

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