Payroll Tax Lesson Plan

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has taught high school and college biology and has a master's degree in cancer biology.

We see it every time we get paid from our jobs: payroll taxes. Your students will learn all about payroll taxes as they watch an interesting video, calculate payroll taxes and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify different types of taxes deducted from payroll.
  • describe how the amount of each tax is determined.


1.5 - 2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text.


Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.


  • Computer with projector
  • Copies of the lesson quiz
  • Mock payroll sheets
  • Calculators
  • Index cards with percentage of deductions for payroll taxes on each card


  • Begin the lesson by asking your students if any of them have jobs.
  • For the ones that have jobs, ask them if they get every penny they earn each pay period.
  • Tell your students that payroll taxes are deducted from paychecks every pay period and that is why they do not receive everything they earn. Let your students know they will learn about payroll taxes as they watch the What is Payroll Tax? - Definition & Example lesson.
  • Start the video from the beginning and pause it the first time at 0:58. Ask and discuss the following as a class:
    • What is a payroll tax?
    • What are some of the types of payroll taxes?
    • Who is responsible for remitting payroll taxes?
    • What are gross and net pay?
  • Continue playing the video for your students and pause it again at 3:04 to ask and discuss the following as a class:
    • What form determines how much federal income tax will be withheld per pay period?
    • What percentage of income is withheld for social security tax?
    • What responsibility does the employer have in regards to social security tax?
    • What amount of income requires additional Medicare tax to be withheld?
    • What amount is withheld?
    • What are some examples of local tax withholdings?
  • Continue playing the video for your students and pause it again one last time at 3:34 to do the following:
    • Go over the example again, working through it together as a class.
    • Create another example on the board and go over it together as a class,
  • Play the remainder of the video and answer any questions your students have at this point.

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