Repayment of Deferred Social Security Taxes under the CARES Act
Updated: Nov 4, 2021
In October and November of 2021, the IRS will be sending informational-only CP256V Notices to self-employed individuals and household employers that chose to defer paying certain Social Security taxes under the CARES Act. The new notice reminds them that the first installment of deferred Social Security taxes will be due by the end of the year.
The CARES Act allowed these types of taxpayers to defer the payment of certain Social Security taxes on their Form 1040 for tax year 2020 over the next two years. Half of the deferred Social Security tax is due by December 31, 2021, and the remainder is due by December 31, 2022.
What employers need to know about repayment of deferred payroll taxes
COVID Tax Tip 2021-32, March 10, 2021
To give people a needed temporary financial boost, the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act allowed employers to defer payment of the employer's share of Social Security tax. IRS Notice 2020-65 PDF allowed employers to defer withholding and payment of the employee's Social Security taxes on certain wages paid in calendar year 2020. Employers must pay back these deferred taxes by their applicable dates.
The employee deferral applied to people with less than $4,000 in wages every two weeks, or an equivalent amount for other pay periods. It was optional for most employers, but it was mandatory for federal employees and military service members.
Repayment of the employee's portion of the deferral started January 1, 2021 and will continue through December 31, 2021. Payments made by January 3, 2022, will be timely because December 31, 2021, is a holiday. The employer should send repayments to the IRS as they collect them. If the employer does not repay the deferred portion on time, penalties and interest will apply to any unpaid balance.
Employees should see their deferred taxes in the withholdings from their pay. They can check with their organization's payroll office for details on the collection schedule.
How to repay the deferred taxes
Employers can make the deferral payments through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by credit or debit card, money order or with a check. These payments must be separate from other tax payments to ensure they applied to the deferred payroll tax balance. IRS systems won't recognize the payment if it is with other tax payments or sent as a deposit.
EFTPS will soon have a new option to select deferral payment. The employer selects deferral payment and then changes the date to the applicable tax period for the payment. Employers can visit EFTPS.gov, or call 800-555-4477 or 800-733-4829 for details.
If the employee no longer works for the organization, the employer is responsible for repayment of the entire deferred amount. The employer must collect the employee's portion using their own recovery methods.
How individuals can repay the deferred taxes
Individuals can pay the deferred amount any time on or before the due date. They:
Can make payments through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by credit or debit card, money order or with a check.
Should be separate payments from other tax payments to ensure they are applied to the deferred tax balance on the tax year 2020 Form 1040 since IRS systems won't recognize the payment for deferred tax if it is with other tax payments or paid with the current Form 1040.
Should designate the payment as "deferred Social Security tax."
Individuals making deferred Social Security tax payments in EFTPS should select 1040 US Individual Income Tax Returns and deferred Social Security tax for the type of payment. They must apply the payment to the 2020 tax year where they deferred the payment. Taxpayers can visit EFTPS.gov for details.
Those using Direct Pay should select the reason for payment "balance due." If they are using the Card Program to pay with a debit or credit card, they should select "installment agreement." They should apply the payment to the 2020 tax year where the payment was deferred.
What individuals should do if they are unable to pay in full by the installment due date
Individuals who are unable to pay the full deferred tax amount should pay whatever they are able to pay by the installment due dates to limit penalty and interest charges.
If the installment amount is not paid in full, IRS will send the taxpayer a balance due notice. Taxpayers should follow instructions on the notice to make a payment or apply for a payment plan. They can also visit the Paying Your Taxes page on IRS.gov for additional information about ways they can pay, what to do when they can't pay, and viewing their tax account.