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Why wasn’t FICA withheld from my check?

Social Security and Medicare taxes are known collectively as FICA (the Federal Insurance Contributions Act). Taxes under FICA are composed of the old-age, survivors, and disability insurance taxes, also known as social security taxes, and the hospital insurance tax, also known as Medicare taxes. Different rates apply for these taxes.

If FICA taxes were not withheld from your paycheck, it is possible that you may fall under one of the following categories, which are exempt from FICA withholding:

  • Federal employees are exempt from social security taxes, but subject to Medicare taxes.
  • Employees with F-1 and J-1 visa in nonresident tax status
  • Students enrolled at least half time credit hours in the current semester and working less than 30 hours per week:
    • Undergraduate students enrolled 6 credit hours or more in the fall/spring semesters
    • Undergraudate students enrolled 3 credit hours or more in each summer session
    • Graduate students enrolled 3 credit hours or more in the fall/spring semesters
    • Enrolled 1 credit hour or more in each summer session
    • Graduate and Undergraduate students enrolled in 10-week summer courses are exempt in both summer sessions.

Read more:

IRS website, Student FICA Exception

Updated on January 31, 2022

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