Which Payroll Taxes Are Deductible By The Employer

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In the realm of business operations, payroll stands as a central pillar, covering vital aspects like employee benefits, compensation and taxes.

Accurate payroll management is undeniably crucial, and overlooking its intricacies can result in numerous payroll challenges

Among the complexities, the question of which components of payroll taxes are deductible by employers is a subject of significant importance, and this blog aims to provide clarity on this essential matter.

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Understanding Deductible and Non-Deductible Payroll Taxes for Employers

Payroll taxes deductible by employers:

  • FUTA  (Federal Unemployment Tax Act) taxes: FUTA taxes are federal payroll taxes that employers pay to fund unemployment benefits for workers who lose their jobs. These taxes contribute to the federal unemployment insurance program, which provides financial assistance to eligible individuals who are unemployed.
  • SUTA (State Unemployment Tax Act)  taxes: SUTA taxes are state-level payroll taxes that employers can often deduct. Each state has its own SUTA regulations and tax rates, which are used to support state unemployment insurance programs. Employers are typically required to contribute to these programs, and the specific requirements can vary from one state to another.

For a better understanding, let’s look at an example:

  • Let’s say you are an employer and you have an employee who earns $50,000 per year.
  • You would pay FUTA taxes on the first $7,000 of your employee’s wages.
  • You would also pay SUTA taxes on the first $7,000 of your employee’s wages, but the exact amount of SUTA taxes you would pay would depend on your state’s SUTA tax rate (0.1% to 10.5%).

Payroll taxes not deductible by employers:

  • Employee income tax withholding: Employers are responsible for withholding and remitting federal and state income taxes on behalf of their employees, but these withheld amounts cannot be deducted as business expenses. They belong to the employees and must be forwarded to the tax authorities on their behalf.
  • Employer portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes: The employer’s portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes is not deductible, as it’s considered part of the cost of doing business.

For businesses employing a substantial workforce, these taxes can accumulate to a considerable sum.

Deducting payroll taxes not only results in cost savings but also ensures compliance with income tax laws, and legal requirements and enhances financial planning.

Understanding which payroll taxes are deductible is important for effective financial management. By deducting the correct amount of taxes, employers can reduce their taxable income and save money on their taxes.


Mastering the intricacies of deductible and non-deductible payroll taxes is paramount for businesses.

Deducting the right taxes not only leads to cost savings but also keeps employers in legal compliance and aids in sound financial planning.

With significant tax savings achievable through payroll tax deductions, it’s crucial for businesses to understand the nuances of these financial aspects.

By effectively managing their payroll taxes, employers can reduce their taxable income and ultimately save money on taxes while ensuring a strong financial foundation for their operations.  

If you are curious to learn more about payroll? Get insider knowledge from our experts in our free webinar.

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