The Internal Revenue Service released Notice 2021-11 addressing how employers who elected to defer certain employees’ taxes can withhold and pay the deferred taxes throughout 2021 instead of just the first four months of the year.
In response to a presidential memorandum signed August 8, 2020, Notice 2020-65 was issued on August 28, 2020, giving employers the option to defer certain employees’ social security taxes from September 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. This applied to employees paid less than $4,000 every two weeks, or an equivalent amount for other pay periods, with each pay period considered separately. The taxes, which are technically called Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, or OASDI, are calculated at 6.2% of employees’ wages.
Any taxes deferred under Notice 2020-65 were to be withheld and paid ratably from employee wages between January 1, 2021, until April 30, 2021. However, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, signed into law December 27, extended the period that the deferred taxes are withheld and paid ratably. The period is now for the entire year, from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. Notice 2021-11 makes changes to Notice 2020-65 to reflect this extended period. Payments made by January 3, 2022, will be considered timely because December 31, 2021, is a legal holiday. Penalties, interest and additions to tax will now start to apply on January 1, 2022, for any unpaid balances.
Additional tax relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on IRS.gov.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers who deferred payroll taxes should seek the guidance of their tax professional and/or payroll provider for assistance in determining what their collection schedule will be.