Social Security: What Are Maximum Taxable Earnings, and What Are They For 2022?

During the time you work, there is a limit on the amount of your earnings that can be taxed by Social Security. This amount is known as the maximum taxable earnings, and it changes each year. 

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For 2022, this amount is $147,000. This means the Social Security Administration will tax up to the first $147,000 of your earnings for this year. If you make above that, you will not incur Social Security taxes on the additional earnings.

One of the reasons for this is because there is a maximum amount that can be paid into the system just as there is a maximum amount that can be paid out. The maximum Social Security benefit for this year is around $4,100. The cap is in place to keep the richest people paying into the system from draining the system just as much when it is their turn to receive benefits. There is also the argument that those who make a considerably high income are not the ones most in need of income from Social Security benefits. 

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The maximum taxable earnings amount changes each year and is adjusted for inflation, among other factors. Below are the past few years’ adjustments.

Year Amount
2015 $118,500
2016 $118,500
2017 $127,200
2018 $128,400
2019 $132,900
2020 $137,700
2021 $142,800
2022 $147,000
Source: Social Security Administration

If you earn more than the maximum in any year, whether in one job or more than one, the SSA will only use the maximum to calculate your benefits. However, each employer you work for over the year must withhold Social Security taxes from your wages regardless of how much other employers have withheld. You may then end up with total Social Security taxes withheld that exceed the maximum.

In the event you overpay, you will claim a refund for the excess Social Security tax when when you file your tax return the following year. 

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 
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