How to Determine the Tax Percentage in Your Paycheck

How to Determine the Tax Percentage in Your Paycheck
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The simple question, "How much are you paying in taxes?" doesn't have a simple answer. Your paycheck includes a variety of deductions for federal and state taxes and perhaps local taxes as well. It also includes deductions that may not be clearly labeled as taxes. You must identify all the tax deductions on your paycheck to calculate the percentage of taxes you pay.

Review a copy of your pay stub or earnings statement, and locate the itemized list of amounts deducted from your gross salary.

Add the deductions listed as tax. These are likely to include an item for federal tax and state tax and may list other taxes, such as county or city tax.

Add other listed deductions that you identify as tax payments, such as Medicare and Social Security (sometimes known as OASDI). Social Security and Medicare combined payments are sometimes listed as FICA.

Add up all your tax payments and divide this amount by your gross (total) pay to determine the percentage of tax you pay. For example, if your gross pay is $4,000 and your total tax payments are $1,250, then your percentage tax is 1,250 divided by 4,000, or 31.25 percent.


  • There is no standard language for how items are listed on a pay stub or earnings statement. Check with your payroll office if you are uncertain about a given item.