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.

Corona Virus Update

States are working fast and furious to get out their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since my last update blog, Connecticut, Hawaii and Indiana are among the states that have either released or updated the FAQs on their websites with new information on the latest COVID-19 measures.

Some states are offering tax relief in terms of delaying either unemployment insurance payments or withholding tax deposits.  These include: Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota and Texas.  However, Arkansas and Colorado, at this time, are not offering extensions for payments or deposits of withholding taxes.

When it comes to unemployment claims, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont are not charging an employer’s account for SUI benefits claims related to the COVID-19 emergency.

Need more info on the latest for the Corona Virus pandemic and payroll related items?  Today is the last day to register for my webinar tomorrow on all things payroll related to COVID-19 including the Families First Act, the CARES Act (and tax credits), state updates on filing and tax relief and garnishment updates including IRS tax levies and student loans.  Use coupon code BBTK7FCJ at checkout to receive a 10% discount off the $149 registration price.

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.


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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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Forms W-2 2016 Due Dates Update

form w-2 due dateEarlier this year the IRS announced that the due date for the copy of the Form W-2 required to be filed with the Social Security Administration changed. Instead of being due by the last day in February for paper filers or March 31st for electronic filers, all filers must submit the form by January 31st.  The change was made in an attempt to curtail excess fraud schemes that had cropped up around filing fraudulent 1040 forms and requesting nonexistent refunds.  The states, suffering from the same type of fraud, also began changing due dates as well.  Our white paper this time is a recap of the changes and lists the current due dates for the forms by state.  This list is current as of July 14th.  Of course, as legislatures return in the fall, we may expect more changes.  We will publish a final due date list in late December.

We hope you find the information useful. white paper forms w-2 due dates 2016


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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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