The IRS this evening released an advance version of Notice 2020-65 as guidance for employers with respect to a presidential memorandum directing the Treasury Secretary to use his authority to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of certain payroll tax obligations, as relief in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
President Trump on August 8, 2020, signed an executive action in the form of a memorandum directing “the Secretary of the Treasury to use his authority to defer certain payroll tax obligations with respect to the American workers most in need.” Read TaxNewsFlash
Notice 2020-65 allows employers to defer the withholding and payment of the employee share of social security tax ordinarily due during the period from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, for employees with earnings below a threshold amount. The IRS notice indicates employers that defer the withholding and payment of taxes in 2020 must withhold and pay the deferred taxes ratably over the period from January 1, 2021, through April 30, 2021. Notice 2020-65 provides that employers may make arrangements to otherwise collect the taxes from the employee, if necessary.
According to a related IRS release—IR-2020-195—the employee employment tax deferral may apply to payments of taxable wages paid to an employee that are less than $4,000 during a bi-weekly pay period, with each pay period considered separately. No deferral is available for any payment to an employee of taxable wages of $4,000 or above for a bi-weekly pay period. Notice 2020-65 postpones the time for employers to withhold and pay employee social security taxes.
Notice 2020-65 [PDF 18 KB] provides that:
The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. For more information, contact KPMG's Federal Tax Legislative and Regulatory Services Group at: + 1 202 533 4366, 1801 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006.