Guidance on Payroll Tax Deferral

Tax Law

On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order directing the Secretary of the Treasury to permit employers to defer the withholding and deposit of certain payroll tax obligations. In response, the Treasury Department released Notice 2020-65 (the Notice) furnishing guidance to employers. The Notice permits employers to defer withholding the employee portion of Social Security tax payments on wages or compensation paid between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, but applies only to compensation that is less than $4,000, as determined on a biweekly basis. An employer that defers must withhold and pay the deferred taxes ratably from wages paid during the period from January 1, 2021 through April 30, 2021, or they could be subject to interest, penalties, and other amounts for such unpaid taxes. Stated differently, any amounts deferred in the last four months of 2020 will need to be made up during the first four months of 2021. Although the President’s executive order directed the Treasury to explore forgiveness, the Notice does not address that nor does it resolve certain practical considerations for employers, such as the recovery of amounts deferred for employees who have been terminated prior to 2021. Employers that defer should also consider the financial impact of having to double withhold during the first third of the 2021 calendar year.

How Manatt Can Help

Manatt’s tax practice is keeping abreast of the various tax relief measures being implemented at the federal and state levels to ease tax filing and payment burdens on businesses and individual taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are here to help clients navigate these new and changing requirements and to take full advantage of the tax deferral benefits being made available.

For More Information

Contact Jeffrey A. Mannisto at 310.312.4212 or JMannisto@manatt.com, Robert Duran at 310.312.4274 or RDuran@manatt.com, David Herbst at 650.812.1320 or DHerbst@manatt.com, or Jonathan Weiss at 310.312.4156 or JCWeiss@manatt.com.

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