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A tax in which an employer retains a certain percentage of an employee's wages or salary and gives it to the IRS or tax agency instead of the employee. This reduces or eliminates the possibility that the employee will spend his/her tax liability, and give the government cash flow to fund certain operations. See also: Withholding.
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payroll taxa TAX on a firm's total WAGE bill. The tax may be paid wholly by the firm or on some shared basis with employees. Insofar as such a tax alters the relative price of LABOUR and CAPITAL, it may result in the firm substituting capital for labour.
Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005