After months of gridlock, the House and Senate, on December 21, both passed another round of COVID relief legislation (H.R. 133).  The 5,593-page bill, which gained momentum following the introduction of bipartisan compromise legislation, provides an enhanced employee retention credit (“ERC”), which is easier for employers to qualify during the first six months of 2021, as compared to the ERC enacted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act.

The bill also includes extensions to a number of workforce-related tax credits, including the work opportunity tax credit (“WOTC”), the paid family and medical leave tax credit included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as a two-year pilot program, and the paid leave credits enacted as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  The bill would also extend the period during which employers may make student loan payments or reimbursements under an Internal Revenue Code Section 127 educational assistance plan, permit employers to provide additional flexibility under flexible spending accounts, and provide employers with a longer period in which to collect employee Social Security tax which was deferred during 2020 under IRS Notice 2020-65.

The bill would also add an employer income tax credit for qualified wages paid to employees in qualified disaster areas in 2020 for disasters other than COVID-19.  Finally, the bill addresses the deductibility of expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans.
Continue Reading Fourth (and Final?) COVID Relief Measure Clears House and Senate

For employers who decided to defer the employee share of Social Security taxes on wages paid from September 1 to December 31, 2020, pursuant to President Trump’s August 8 presidential memorandum, the employer’s obligation to collect those deferred amounts from employees’ paychecks is fast approaching.  Included among our previous posts discussing the deferral, which was voluntary, is a discussion of IRS Notice 2020-65.  The notice specifies that the employer “must withhold and pay the total [deferred 2020 taxes] . . . ratably from wages . . . paid between January 1, 2021, and April 30, 2021” and further warns that “if necessary, the [employer] may make arrangements to otherwise collect the total [deferred taxes] from the employee.”  (See earlier coverage.)
Continue Reading Unpleasant Surprise May Await Employers That Deferred Employee Social Security Tax

On Friday, October 30, the IRS provided guidance regarding the proper reporting on Form W-2 for employers who deferred the withholding of the employee share of Social Security tax under Notice 2020-65. (See earlier coverage.)  Based on the IRS guidance, employers should report FICA wages up to the OASDI (Social Security) wage base in Box 3 of the 2020 Form W-2.  Only the amount of Social Security tax actually withheld during 2020 should be reported in Box 4 of the form.

In 2021, if the employer withholds the 2020 deferred Social Security taxes, the employer must file a Form W-2c for 2020 reporting the additional withholding in Box 4.  Although the IRS guidance does not address this, if the employer pays in 2021 the employee’s share of Social Security taxes that were deferred in 2020, the employer must still file a Form W-2c reporting the amount as withheld Social Security taxes in Box 4.  Moreover, the employer would also be required to include the amount of taxes paid by the employer on the employee’s behalf as additional wages in Boxes 1, 3 (up to the OASDI wage base), and 5 on the employee’s 2021 Form W-2.  Because the employer’s payment of the employee’s deferred tax constitutes additional wages to the employee in 2021, these amounts will need to be grossed up to account for employment taxes on the amount of the employee’s tax paid by the employer if those taxes are not withheld from the employee’s other 2021 wages.
Continue Reading IRS Provides Guidance on Preparation of Forms W-2 for Employees with Deferred Social Security Tax Withholding

The IRS recently published new guidance on the tax withholding and reporting consequences associated with qualified retirement plan distributions to state unclaimed property funds.  In Revenue Ruling 2020-24, the IRS clarified that distributions from qualified retirement plans to state unclaimed property funds are subject to both federal income tax withholding and 1099-R reporting requirements.  In a companion revenue procedure, Rev. Proc. 2020-46, the IRS permitted taxpayers to self-certify for a waiver of the 60-day deadline for rolling over funds between qualified plans when the funds had been distributed to a state unclaimed property fund.

Continue Reading IRS Updates Guidance on Qualified Plan Distributions to State Unclaimed Property Funds

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 IRS Posts Tax Tip on Backup Withholding

On October 2, 2019, Treasury and the IRS issued proposed regulations relating to the repeal of section 958(b)(4) by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”).  On September 22, 2020, Treasury and the IRS issued final regulations largely following the proposed regulations, along with additional proposed regulations.
Continue Reading Regulations Addressing Section 958(b)(4) Repeal Provide Relief for U.S. Payors but Hold the Line on the Portfolio Interest Exception

On September 22, 2020, the IRS issued IRS Announcement 2020-12 to inform lenders that they should not file Forms 1099-C with the IRS or furnish copies of the Forms 1099-C to borrowers with respect to the  forgiveness of covered loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).
Continue Reading IRS Tells Lenders not to File Forms 1099-C for Forgiven PPP Loans

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 2020-54, the IRS announced that employers will have to report wages paid for leave mandated under the FFCRA either on Forms W-2 or on a separate statement.  The rules are intended to enable employees who also have self-employment income to properly determine the amount of any Self-Employment Contributions Act (“SECA”) tax credits to which they are entitled under the FFCRA.

Continue Reading Notice 2020-54 Requires Reporting of Qualified Sick Leave Wages and Qualified Family Leave Wages Under FFCRA

At the end of June, the European Union (“EU”) amended EU Council Directive 2011/16/EU and its cumulative amendments (referred to in the aggregate, as the Directive on Administrative Cooperation “DAC 6” or the “Directive”) to give EU Member States the option to defer imminent DAC 6 reporting deadlines by up to six months due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.  (Various sources, including the European Union, refer to the Directive as “DAC6” without a space between DAC and 6.  We use the alternative format in this post.)  The amendment to the Directive also includes language potentially allowing for an additional three-month extension depending upon how the pandemic unfolds, but cautions that further delays are unlikely.  Many EU Member States promptly announced a full six-month deferral, including Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK.  To date, Finland and Germany have announced that DAC 6 reporting will commence without any delay on August 31, 2020.

If U.S. multinationals with affiliates in the UK or EU countries have not taken steps to identify reportable tax planning and other arrangements caught up in the DAC 6 dragnet, they should do so immediately because the reporting requirements are onerous.

For readers unfamiliar with DAC 6, an overview of this new reporting regime follows.
Continue Reading DAC 6 Implementation Imminent in Finland and Germany Despite Delays in Other EU Countries and the UK Due to COVID-19

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”),