Publication 15 - Introductory Material
Social security and Medicare tax for 2023. The rate of social security tax on taxable wages, including qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages paid in 2023 for leave taken after March 31, 2021, and before October 1, 2021, is 6.2% each for the employer and employee or 12.4% for both. Qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages paid in 2023 for leave taken after March 31, 2020, and before April 1, 2021, aren't subject to the employer share of social security tax; therefore, the tax rate on these wages is 6.2%. The social security wage base limit is $160,200.The Medicare tax rate is 1.45% each for the employee and employer, unchanged from 2022. There is no wage base limit for Medicare tax.Social security and Medicare taxes apply to the wages of household workers you pay $2,600 or more in cash wages in 2023. Social security and Medicare taxes apply to election workers who are paid $2,200 or more in cash or an equivalent form of compensation in 2023.
Qualified small business payroll tax credit for increasing research activities. For tax years beginning before January 1, 2023, a qualified small business may elect to claim up to $250,000 of its credit for increasing research activities as a payroll tax credit. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the IRA) increases the election amount to $500,000 for tax years beginning after December 31, 2022. The payroll tax credit election must be made on or before the due date of the originally filed income tax return (including extensions). The portion of the credit used against payroll taxes is allowed in the first calendar quarter beginning after the date that the qualified small business filed its income tax return. The election and determination of the credit amount that will be used against the employer’s payroll taxes are made on Form 6765, Credit for Increasing Research Activities. The amount from Form 6765, line 44, must then be reported on Form 8974, Qualified Small Business Payroll Tax Credit for Increasing Research Activities.Starting in the first quarter of 2023, the payroll tax credit is first used to reduce the employer share of social security tax up to $250,000 per quarter and any remaining credit reduces the employer share of Medicare tax for the quarter. Any remaining credit, after reducing the employer share of social security tax and the employer share of Medicare tax, is then carried forward to the next quarter. Form 8974 is used to determine the amount of the credit that can be used in the current quarter. The amount from Form 8974, line 12, or, if applicable, line 17, is reported on Form 941 or Form 944. For more information about the payroll tax credit, see IRS.gov/ResearchPayrollTC. Also see the line 16 instructions in the Instructions for Form 941 (line 13 instructions in the Instructions for Form 944) for information on reducing your record of tax liability for this credit.
Forms 941-SS and 941-PR discontinued after 2023. Form 941-SS, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return—American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Form 941-PR, Planilla para la Declaración Federal TRIMESTRAL del Patrono, will no longer be available after the fourth quarter of 2023. Instead, employers in the U.S. territories will file Form 941, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return, or, if you prefer your form and instructions in Spanish, you can file new Form 941 (sp), Declaración del Impuesto Federal TRIMESTRAL del Empleador.
Pubs. 51, 80, and 179 discontinued after 2023. Pub. 51, Agricultural Employer’s Tax Guide; Pub. 80, Federal Tax Guide for Employers in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and Pub. 179, Guía Contributiva Federal para Patronos Puertorriqueños, will no longer be available after 2023. Instead, information specific to agricultural employers and employers in the U.S. territories will be included in Pub. 15 beginning with the Pub. 15 for use in 2024 (published December 2023). Beginning in 2024, there will be a new Pub. 15 (sp) that is a Spanish-language version of Pub. 15.
The COVID-19 related credit for qualified sick and family leave wages is limited to leave taken after March 31, 2020, and before October 1, 2021. Generally, the credit for qualified sick and family leave wages as enacted under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and amended and extended by the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 for leave taken after March 31, 2020, and before April 1, 2021, and the credit for qualified sick and family leave wages under sections 3131, 3132, and 3133 of the Internal Revenue Code, as enacted under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the ARP), for leave taken after March 31, 2021, and before October 1, 2021, have expired. However, employers that pay qualified sick and family leave wages in 2023 for leave taken after March 31, 2020, and before October 1, 2021, are eligible to claim a credit for qualified sick and family leave wages in 2023. See the March 2023 revision of the Instructions for Form 941 or the 2023 Instructions for Form 944 for more information.