What Percentage of a Paycheck Goes to Taxes?

Michaela Begsteiger/Getty Images

Most U.S. taxpayers with a traditional salary pay 6.2 percent of each paycheck as taxes for social security and 1.45 percent for Medicare, according to the California Tax Service Station. Additional amounts may be deducted from each paycheck for federal withholding or for state fees such as unemployment insurance.

Withholding refers to money taken out of a paycheck and sent directly to the federal government as part of an employee’s yearly income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). When employees submit their taxes for the year, the amount of withholding already paid is subtracted from remaining tax liabilities. Employees can typically choose the amount of money taken out through withholding, according to the IRS.