Payroll taxes are shared by employer and employee, with the employer's portion amounting to a total of 7.65 percent for the 2013 tax year. Payroll taxes are made up of Social Security and Medicare taxes.
According to the IRS, employees pay these taxes while they work and then receive the benefits of these programs when they retire. Self-employed persons pay both the employee and the employer portions of the payroll tax. This is termed self-employment taxes and amounts to 12.4 percent for the Social Security tax and 2.9 percent for the Medicare tax for the 2013 tax year, according to Turbo Tax.