If Congress does nothing about the fiscal cliff before the end of the year you will take home less pay. But a local payroll company says that's just one of dozens of possibilities and it has to be ready for all of them.
When your boss prints your first paycheck next year it may not be as big as you're used to.
"Without a renewal of the FICA credits of 2%, paychecks will go down right out of the gate," said Bill Maness, president of Syndeo Outsourcing.
FICA is the Social Security tax. Two years ago Congress lowered it by 2%, temporarily. That's automatically set to expire at the end of the year, unless Congress changes its mind.
"If they don't give that back, or if they add other things that are on the fiscal cliff agenda, that could have an effect on every employee," said Maness. "Then they're going to feel it a lot."
It's just one of the many questions that remain unanswered for payroll specialists like Syndeo Outsourcing.
"Our whole thing is about anticipation. Anticipating what the possibilities are and then being prepared for those," said Maness.
Maness is in charge of figuring out what to withhold from thousands of paychecks. What those withholdings should be depend on what Congress does about the fiscal cliff.
"It's all based on a table of formulas that are injected into the system," said Maness. "There are much smarter people than me putting that together as we speak."
Until Congress acts it's difficult to figure out what the changes will be. But Maness is sure of one thing.
"The more money you make, the more they're going to withhold then they have in the past," said Maness.
For example, if you take home $50,000 a year, the restored FICA tax will be an extra $1,000 your boss will take of your check and put into Social Security.