Michael Chittenden practices in the areas of tax and employee benefits with a focus on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), information reporting (e.g., Forms 1095, 1096, 1098, 1099, W-2, 1042, and 1042-S) and withholding, payroll taxes, and fringe benefits. Mr. Chittenden advises companies on their obligations under FATCA and assists in the development of comprehensive FATCA and Chapter 3 (nonresident alien reporting and withholding) compliance programs.
Mr. Chittenden advises large employers on their employment tax obligations, including the special FICA and FUTA rules for nonqualified deferred compensation, the successor employer rules, the voluntary correction of employment tax mistakes, and the abatement of late deposit and information reporting penalties. In addition, he has also advised large insurance companies and employers on the Affordable Care Act reporting requirements in Sections 6055 and 6056, and advised clients on the application of section 6050W (Form 1099-K reporting), including its application to third-party payment networks.
Mr. Chittenden counsels clients on mobile workforce issues including state income tax withholding for mobile employees and expatriate and inpatriate taxation and reporting.
Mr. Chittenden is a frequent commentator on information withholding, payroll taxes, and fringe benefits and regularly gives presentations on the compliance burdens for companies.
On October 14, 2020, the IRS posted Tax Tip 2020-136 entitled, “Helpful information for taxpayers on backup withholding.” This particular Tax Tip serves as a great reminder for payers making payments for which backup withholding is required, especially if they are unaware of the troubling consequences of noncompliance.… Continue Reading
On October 13, the Social Security Administration announced that the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (“OASDI”) wage base will increase to $142,800 for 2021. The 3.7% increase follows a 3.6% increase in the wage base for 2020 and a 3.5% increase for 2019. Wages in excess of the wage base paid by an employer … Continue Reading
The Treasury and IRS have published final regulations governing federal income tax withholding from periodic payments of deferred income made after December 31, 2020. The new regulations follow changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) to the default withholding rate rules. Payors and plan administrators who hoped that the IRS … Continue Reading
Late Friday, the IRS released Notice 2020-65 providing guidance to employers regarding the implementation of President Trump’s presidential memorandum issued on August 8, 2020. The memorandum directed the Secretary of the Treasury to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of employee Social Security taxes for the period from September 1 to December 31, 2020 (see … Continue Reading
The IRS recently announced that it erroneously sent failure-to-deposit (“FTD”) penalty notices to certain employers that reduced their employment tax deposits on Form 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) in anticipation of claiming sick and family leave credits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) or the employee retention credit (“ERC”) under the Coronavirus, … Continue Reading
On August 19, 2020, the IRS urged employers to exercise caution in selecting their payroll service providers (“PSPs”) following ongoing concerns that some disreputable PSPs may fail to deposit employment taxes, leaving businesses vulnerable to unpaid payroll taxes as well as penalties.… Continue Reading
On July 30, 2020, the IRS released guidance in the form of new frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) addressing the deferral of the employer portion of Social Security taxes under section 2302 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. These FAQs are broad in nature, providing guidance on various considerations relevant to section … Continue Reading
Secretary Mnuchin acknowledged in an interview today that the employee Social Security tax deferral envisioned in President Trump’s Presidential Memorandum will not be mandatory. The memorandum instructs the Treasury Department to issue guidance under Section 7508A permitting employers to suspend the withholding, depositing, and payment of the employee’s share of social security taxes (and the … Continue Reading
On Saturday, August 8, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of the Treasury to “use his authority pursuant to [Code section] 7508A to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of the tax imposed by [Code section] 3101(a) . . . on wages . . . paid during the period of September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020,” subject … Continue Reading
Is an individual service provider an employee or an independent contractor? As our employee benefits colleagues have noted previously in Covington’s Inside Compensation blog, the IRS test is complicated and just one of many for determining worker status under federal and state laws. The American Workers, Families, and Employers Assistance Act (the “Bill”), one of … Continue Reading
On July 27, Senate Republicans released a series of COVID-19 relief bills, including the “American Workers, Families, and Employers Assistance Act” (the “Bill”). The Bill is a successor to several provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, passed in March of this year, which attempted to blunt the early effects of the … Continue Reading
As we noted in an earlier post, on July 27, Senate Republicans introduced new legislation in response to the continued COVID-19 pandemic. One of the introduced bills, titled the American Workers, Families, and Employers Assistance Act (the “Bill”), would enhance the existing employee retention credit.… Continue Reading
On July 27, Senate Republicans introduced a series of bills intended as their opening salvo in what appears likely to be contentious negotiations among Senate Republicans, the White House, and House and Senate Democrats over the next legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with another round of direct stimulus payments to individual taxpayers, extended … Continue Reading
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) mandates employers of fewer than 500 employees provide two types of paid leave and includes two employer social security tax credits equal to the amount of paid leave that the employer is required to provide to employees related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (See earlier coverage.) Yesterday, in Notice … Continue Reading
New Jersey challenges its residents (and their employers) by diverging in significant and meaningful ways from Federal definitions of income. In these ways, New Jersey shares much in common although not all in common) with its western neighbor, Pennsylvania. Fortunately, New Jersey has entered into a reciprocal agreement with its neighbor Pennsylvania so that a … Continue Reading
The IRS recently released Notice 2020-46, providing favorable tax relief for “leave-based donation programs” designed to aid victims of COVID-19 pandemic. Under these programs, employees may elect to forgo vacation, sick, or personal leave in exchange for payments that the employer makes to charitable organizations described under section 170(c). Under this notice, payments employees elect … Continue Reading
On Friday, June 19, the IRS updated several FAQs on its website related to the Employee Retention Credit adopted as part of the Coronavirus Relief, Aid, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The updated FAQs provide additional insight into the IRS’s current thinking regarding employer eligibility for and determination of the credit. Unfortunately, the updated FAQs … Continue Reading
The IRS recently released a second set of draft instructions for Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return. The IRS also released the final Form 941, which was revised significantly from the prior form to accommodate the employer social security tax deferral and employer social security tax credits enacted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, … Continue Reading
The IRS has shortened the time in which employers must deposit payroll taxes related to certain stock-settled awards issued to employees, in order to be eligible for an administrative waiver of late-deposit penalties. Through a non-publicized change to its Internal Revenue Manual, the IRS has shortened the applicable deadline for depositing owed and accumulated employment … Continue Reading
On June 23, Proposed Treasury Regulations §§ 1.274-13 and 1.274-14 were published in the Federal Register addressing the disallowance of employer deductions for the cost of providing commuting and parking benefits to employees. The proposed regulations are a mixed bag with some clarifications being helpful and others less so. Proposed Treasury Regulation § 1.274-13 addresses the … Continue Reading
Earlier today, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (“PPFA”), making certain changes to the Paycheck Protection Program enacted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act in March. Section 4 of the PPFA amends Section 2302(a) of the CARES Act to delete section 2302(a)(3). Accordingly, employers who obtain forgiveness … Continue Reading
On May 22, 2020, the IRS released a Generic Legal Advice Memorandum, GLAM 2020-004, which addresses the timing of the taxation and withholding of payroll taxes on certain stock-settled awards issued to employees. Specifically, the GLAM focuses on the treatment of stock options, stock-settled stock appreciation rights (SARs), and stock-settled restricted stock units (RSUs). Employers … Continue Reading
On May 7, the IRS updated its frequently asked questions to reverse its earlier determination that health plan expenses paid or incurred by an employer to provide health benefits to furloughed employees who were not paid other wages were not qualified health plan expenses for which an employer could claim the employee retention credit. The … Continue Reading
On May 4, the IRS revised its newly released frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) to clarify the interaction of the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) with the employee retention credit. FAQ 79 now indicates that an employer that repays its PPP loan by May 7, 2020, in accordance with rules issued by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”), the … Continue Reading