There’s an extra holiday that coincides this year with the otherwise festive holiday season. As 2012 ends, so does the tax holiday, and—what’s more—flexible spending limits go down. Happy New Year indeed.
The Social Security program is currently funded by a 12.4% tax on wages up to $110,100. This number rises to $113,700 in 2013. Historically, half of that tax was paid by employers, and workers pay the other half. In 2011, Congress and President Obama instituted a “tax holiday” that cut the share paid by workers from 6.2% to 4.2% putting the difference back into the pockets of most of the American workforce. A household with $100,000 saw $2,000 (or $38 a week) go right back into their pockets.
Barring some unforeseeable action in Washington, this money will disappear as of January 1, 2013.
In addition to the expiration of the tax holiday comes an additional Medicare payroll tax on “high” wage earners. Employees and business owners who earn at least $200,000 a year (or $250,000 if filing jointly) will be subject to an additional .9% tax in 2013.
Expect also to lose some tax benefit from flexible spending programs. New limits on those accounts decrease in 2013 to $2,500 per employee. ($5,000 for those who use flex accounts for dependent care.)
Make sure you notify employees of this change, which will affect every staff member moving forward—kinda like a late Christmas gift on any pay date following the close of 2012.
The tax news may not be great, but our wishes for your festive holiday season sure are. All the best!