Announcement from Isler NW

Spotlight: Deferral of employment tax deposits and payments through December 31, 2020

The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allows employers to defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security taxes and self-employed individuals to defer payment of certain self-employment taxes.

Section 2302 of the CARES Act provides that employers may defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes and certain railroad retirement taxes. These are the taxes imposed under section 3111(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) and, for Railroad employers, so much of the taxes imposed under section 3221(a) of the Code as are attributable to the rate in effect under section 3111(a) of the Code (collectively referred to as the “employer’s share of Social Security tax”). Employers that received a Paycheck Protection Program loan may not defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax that is otherwise due after the employer receives a decision from the lender that the loan was forgiven.

The deferral applies to deposits and payments of the employer’s share of Social Security tax that would otherwise be required to be made during the period beginning on March 27, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020. (Section 2302 of the CARES Act calls this period the “payroll tax deferral period.”) The Form 941, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return, will be revised for the second calendar quarter of 2020 (April – June, 2020). Information will be provided in the near future to instruct employers how to reflect the deferred deposits and payments otherwise due on or after March 27, 2020 for the first quarter of 2020 (January – March 2020). In no case will Employers be required to make a special election to be able to defer deposits and payments of these employment taxes.

All employers may defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax. However, employers that receive a loan under the Small Business Administration Act, as provided in section 1102 of the CARES Act (the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)), may not defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax due after the employer receives a decision from the lender that the PPP loan is forgiven under the CARES Act.

Employers who have received a PPP loan may defer deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax that otherwise would be required to be made beginning on March 27, 2020, through the date the lender issues a decision to forgive the loan in accordance with paragraph (g) of section 1106 of the CARES Act, without incurring failure to deposit and failure to pay penalties. Once an employer receives a decision from its lender that its PPP loan is forgiven, the employer is no longer eligible to defer deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax due after that date. However, the amount of the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax that was deferred through the date that the PPP loan is forgiven continues to be deferred and will be due on the “applicable dates”.

Notice 2020-22 provides relief from the failure to deposit penalty under section 6656 of the Code for not making deposits of employment taxes, including taxes withheld from employees, in anticipation of the FFCRA paid leave credits and the CARES Act employee retention credit. The ability to defer deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax under section 2302 of the CARES Act applies to all employers, not just employers entitled to paid leave credits and employee retention credits.

An employer is entitled to defer deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax prior to determining whether the employer is entitled to the paid leave credits under sections 7001 or 7003 of FFCRA or the employee retention credit under section 2301 of the CARES Act, and prior to determining the amount of employment tax deposits that it may retain in anticipation of these credits, the amount of any advance payments of these credits, or the amount of any refunds with respect to these credits.

The deferred deposits of the employer’s share of Social Security tax must be deposited by the following dates (referred to as the “applicable dates”) to be treated as timely (and avoid a failure to deposit penalty):

  • 1. On December 31, 2021, 50 percent of the deferred amount; and
  • 2. On December 31, 2022, the remaining amount.

Self-employed individuals may defer the payment of 50 percent of the Social Security tax on net earnings from self-employment income imposed under section 1401(a) of the Code for the period beginning on March 27, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020. (Section 2302 of the CARES Act calls this period the “payroll tax deferral period.”)

For any taxable year that includes any part of the payroll tax deferral period, 50 percent of the Social Security tax imposed on net earnings from self-employment income during that payroll tax deferral period is not used to calculate the installments of estimated tax due under section 6654 of the Code (quarterly estimated tax payments).