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Payroll Professionals

Social Security Wage Base Rises to $142,800 for 2021

The Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) taxable wage base is to increase to $142,800 for 2021, up from $137,700 for 2020, the Social Security Administration announced October 13, 2020.

The maximum 2021 Social Security component of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax payable by each employee is $8,853.60, which is 6.20% of the taxable wage base, up from $8,537.40 for 2020. Employers match the employee amount with an equal contribution.

The Medicare (Hospital Insurance) tax rate remains 1.45% and is applicable to all wages paid during the year. An additional Medicare tax of 0.90% applies to individuals with annual earned income of more than $200,000, and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly, the agency said. While employers are required to pay a matching 1.45% portion of the standard Medicare tax, employers are not required to pay a matching 0.90% portion of the additional Medicare tax.

For 2021, an employee who earns exactly $142,800 is subject to a total FICA tax (Social Security tax plus Medicare tax) of $10,924.20 ($8,853.60 + $2,070.60), up from $10,534.05 for 2020.

Employees are to earn one credit for each $1,470 of earnings paid in 2021, up from $1,410 in 2020, the SSA said. Employees may earn a maximum of four credits in a year. Those who receive the maximum wages taxable under Social Security in any year also receive four coverage credits. Employees must be credited with a certain amount of work earned under Social Security to qualify for benefits.

The Social Security earnings limit for workers who reach full retirement age increases to $50,520 in 2021, up from $48,600 in 2020, the SSA said. The earnings limit applies only to workers who retire in the year they reach retirement age. After earnings reach this limit, $1 in benefits is withheld for every $3 in earnings exceeding the limit only in those months preceding the month full retirement age is reached. There is no limit on earnings from the full retirement-age month and later.

The earnings limit for workers who retire before reaching full retirement age increases to $18,960 in 2021, compared with $18,240 in 2020, the SSA said. One dollar in benefits is to be withheld for every $2 in earnings that exceed this limit, the SSA said.

The SSA also said a cost-of-living increase of 1.30% is to take effect for 2021, compared with 1.60% in 2020, affecting several thresholds for benefits and coverage.

As always, if there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website at

Alaska’s New Minimum Wage

The Alaska minimum wage will increase from $10.19 to $10.32 effective January 1, 2021. This minimum wage applies to all hours worked in a pay period, regardless of how the employee is paid (by time, piece, commission, etcetera). All actual hours worked in a pay period, multiplied by the Alaska minimum wage, is the minimum an employee can be compensated by an employer.

Please be aware that tips do not count toward the minimum wage, public school bus driver wages must be no less than twice the current Alaska minimum wage, and that certain exempt employees must be paid on a salary basis of not less than twice the current Alaska minimum wage based on a 40-hour work week in order to maintain their exempt status.

Visit Alaska’s website for more information about Alaska’s wage laws:

IRS Releases Draft of 2020 Federal Unemployment Tax Return Form 940

On June 24, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service issued a draft version of the 2020 Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return.

The draft Form 940, which is used by employers to report their annual federal unemployment tax liability, was not substantially revised from the 2019 version of the form.

A draft version of the form’s 2020 Schedule A, Multi-State Employer and Credit Reduction Information, was also released and did not contain substantial changes. The schedule, which is used to report additional tax owed because of federal unemployment tax credit reductions, lists the U.S. Virgin Islands as the only potential credit-reduction jurisdiction for 2020.

Finalized versions of Form 940 and Schedule A are expected to be released in November and are to reaffirm credit reduction percentages, which are to be finalized on November 10th by the U.S. Department of Labor.

As always, if there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website at

Join Thomas & Company at the Tennessee Statewide Payroll Conference

Thomas & Company is honored to be the Diamond Sponsor and Website Sponsor of the Tennessee Statewide Payroll Conference. This year’s conference will be held on August 8-10, 2018 at The Embassy Suites & Conference Center in Murfreesboro, TN.

Are you a current Thomas & Company client? Let us know you are coming and check in at the booth for a special gift.

I’m Attending!

You can find a list of speakers and topics for this year’s conference at the Tennessee Statewide Payroll Board website. Note that Thomas & Company will be speaking Thursday, August 9th at 8am on “Unemployment Tax Opportunities: Mergers, Acquisitions, or Other Business Changes”. I look forward to seeing many of you there.

The Tennessee Statewide Payroll Board (TSWB), Region 7 of the American Payroll Association, was established in 2011. TSWV is an independent Board made up of non-paid/volunteer Directors (9) and their Committees. The Board was established in 2011 to alleviate the burden associated with planning a successful TN Payroll Conference Event.  TN Chapters can volunteer to host a conference event and the TSWB will assist them in planning.

TSWB is a member of the American Payroll Association (APA), is the leading advocate to those in the payroll community with a mission to create the opportunity for education, skills, and resources necessary for payroll professionals to become successful leaders and strategic partners within their organizations. By attending events such as the Tennessee Statewide Payroll Conference, Thomas & Company shows our support for the many payroll departments we work with when assisting our clients with Unemployment Cost Management and/or Employment & Wage Verification.

As always, if there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.