IRS: What Employers Need to Know About Repayment of Deferred Payroll Taxes

The IRS has provided guidance on the repayment of the deferred employee’s social security.  This guidance was provided in the e-News for Payroll professionals March 26, 2021 newsletter. 

The Background

To give people a needed temporary financial boost, the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act allowed employers to defer payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax. IRS Notice 2020-65 PDF allowed employers to defer withholding and payment of the employee’s Social Security taxes on certain wages paid in calendar year 2020. Employers must pay back these deferred taxes by their applicable dates.

The employee deferral applied to people with less than $4,000 in wages every two weeks, or an equivalent amount for other pay periods. It was optional for most employers, but it was mandatory for federal employees and military service members.

Repayment of the employee’s portion of the deferral started January 1, 2021 and will continue through December 31, 2021. Payments made by January 3, 2022, will be timely because December 31, 2021, is a holiday. The employer should send repayments to the IRS as they collect them. If the employer does not repay the deferred portion on time, penalties and interest will apply to any unpaid balance.

Employees should see their deferred taxes in the withholdings from their pay. They can check with their organization’s payroll office for details on the collection schedule.

How to repay the deferred taxes

Employers can make the deferral payments through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by credit or debit card, money order or with a check. These payments must be separate from other tax payments to ensure they applied to the deferred payroll tax balance. IRS systems won’t recognize the payment if it is with other tax payments or sent as a deposit.

EFTPS will soon have a new option to select deferral payment. The employer selects deferral payment and then changes the date to the applicable tax period for the payment. Employers can visit, or call 800-555-4477 or 800-733-4829 for details.

If the employee no longer works for the organization, the employer is responsible for repayment of the entire deferred amount. The employer must collect the employee’s portion using their own recovery methods.

COVID-19 Update

The IRS (including the Social Security Administration) holds a monthly payroll profession phone meeting.  Usually on the first Thursday of the month, it was delayed this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It was held yesterday.  As expected, the call centered around the latest updates for the pandemic on the new legislation. Here’s the recap for you:

1. There was a brief discussion on the updates the IRS has released, which include:

  • Notice 2020-21: discusses tax credits
  • Notice 2020-62: retention credits and FAQs
  • Notice 2020-54: HSA adjustments for the pandemic

2. It also discussed the latest forms to be released.  This includes the Form 7200 and its instructions.  This form is used to request tax credits in advance for the Families First Act and the CARES Act.

3. The Form 941 was discussed.  It is in the drafting stage and this draft version should be released by the end of next week.  This will be the form to use for the second quarter and beyond. It is being redesigned to allow for lines to report the various COVID-19 tax credits.  The form will go from two pages to three.  It is still unclear whether or not the Schedule B will be revamped as well.

4. Social Security Administration reminded the attendees that they are also on limited staffing so the employer 800# is not being staffed as it is not able to be accessed remotely by employees.  Employers are urged, instead, to use the email  for any questions they may have.  This can be staffed from home by SSA staff members.  If you have questions on using the Business Services Online (BSO) you should email

The meeting for May will be on schedule and I will have any news from it posted by Friday of the same week.

Reminder: Register Now for Our Ringing in the New Year Webinar

I want to remind every one of my followers that the early bird pricing for my latest webinar will end on December 3rd.   This lecture will focus on just the new year.  So I am calling it “Ringing in the New Year–2020”.  For only $149 I will cover all the latest for 2020.  This includes:

  • Completely new and revamped 2020 Form W-4
  • New DOL exempt rules
  • Minimum wage increases on the state level
  • New and upcoming sick leave and/or paid leave programs going into effect
  • 2020 Form W-2
  • 2020 Form 941
  • 2020 Form 1099-NEC

This different approach allows me to concentrate on the upcoming year and saves your time by not having to review information you may already know or will receive from other sources.

Our price for this information packed lecture is only $149. Click here to register.  Subscribers to Payroll 24/7 will receive a 20% discount if they register by Tuesday, December 3, 2019.  Not a subscriber to Payroll 24/7?  Try us out with your registration. If you register prior to Tuesday, December 3, 2019 you will receive a free 60-day subscription to this valuable payroll news service.

This lecture has been submitted to APA for 1.5 RCH credits.

The Social Security Wage Base Projections Are Here!

Every year we, in payroll, wait in anticipation for the social security (OASDI) wage base to be announced. This basically heralds in the year end/year beginning processing time.  But for some, maybe those responsible for employment tax budgets or financial reports, the wage bases for future years is a handy thing to have all at once and not just wait for it at the end of the year. For this reason, the Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes their estimates for the social security wage base each year.  The years 2020-2028 are included in this year’s 2019 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds.   The SSA provides three estimates, high, intermediate and low. For example, for 2019, the actual wage base is $132,900. However, the 2018 report projected $132,300 to $136,800.  The following chart lists the projections estimated by SSA (on page 115 of the report) for calendar years 2020 through 2028:

We still have to wait until October or so for the actual 2020 wage base, but the estimates can be useful in predicting future labor costs.


Reminder: Keep up with the payroll news by subscribing to Vicki’s e-news alerts, Payroll 24/7.  The latest payroll news when you need it, right to your inbox.

CA Joins 16 Other States for Ease of Replacing SS Cards

The Social Security Administration announced in their blog today that California drivers can now replace their Social Security cards online. SSA’s online application makes getting a replacement card super easy and California joins the growing list of 16 other states and the District of Columbia where your employees can use this service. Other states include Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. As long as your employees have a California driver’s license or a state issued identification card they can request replacement Social Security cards online through the My Social Security portal. Check out SSA’s blog today for more information.

Happy 81st Birthday to Social Security

Over the past weekend Social Security turned 81 and is still going strong and making a difference in peoples lives. According to a report from the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, Social Security helpssa logos more than 60 million individuals or almost one-third of the U.S. population. The average benefit in 2016 is $1,350 per month. While it may not seem like a whole lot of money, it is the majority of income for 45% of all seniors. For 22% of seniors it is 90% of their income. Without Social Security income the poverty rate among women age 65 and older would increase from 12% to over 45% according to a 2015 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And it will become more important in years to come.  One of the reasons Social Security is becoming more important is the decline in pensions. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 80% of employees at medium and large firms had pensions in 1985. However less than 30% do today.  So happy birthday Social Security and hopefully you will have many, many more.

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Wedding Season and Payroll

I just finished reading the latest blog from the Social Security Administration on the beginning of the “wedding season”. Now what do weddings have to do with payroll? Well as the blog pointed out amid all the wedding planning and gift buying there still remains one simple fact.  A wedding often means a name change is in order.  This is often overlooked by the happy couple.  Although no law requires that the woman take the man’s name, it is still a common practice after a heterosexual marriage ceremony. In fact, now a days, name changes are possible in any number of combinations. Either participant may make a name change or the couple may want to create a new name.  But as the SSA points out if either  of the wedding couple are legally changing their name, they need to apply for a replacement Social Security card to reflect the new name.  How does this involve payroll? Payroll needs to make sure that all employees understand that name changes will not be accepted until a new Social Security card is presented. Reminding employees that if the name change is done on the payroll but not done with the SSA, any future earnings reported to the SSA will not be put into the employee’s account but rather go into a suspense account until the name change is recorded with the SSA. It might be a good idea to remind employees when a wedding is made public at work or just in general.  Company newsletters, posters and reminders are all ways to get the word out to employees. Then all payroll needs to do is figure out what to get the happy couple.

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OASDI Wage Base for 2016

Well it now starts that time of year again…updates by the score.  And of course the first one is the one we all wait for.  The social security or OASDI taxable wage base.  As you may have seen in the news the Consumer Price Index did not show an increase this year.  So there will be no increase in social security benefits.  But that also reflects on the social security taxable wage base. So the 2016 wage base will be $118,500.  The same as it is this year.  For more information check out the SSA website.ssa

Don’t miss out on the important updates for this year end and for 2016! Subscribe to our news update service now.  We are holding open the introductory price of $65 per year until the end of 2015 to give everyone a chance to get it into their new budgets.  But the price will increase next year to $99 per year. So act now!