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The AICPA presents the Journal of Accountancy podcast. Where we talk about the key issues facing the accounting profession.

Sep 11, 2020

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This podcast episode follows up one posted on Aug. 20 about President Donald Trump’s memorandum directing Treasury to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of workers’ 6.2% Social Security or Railroad Retirement tax for the last four months of 2020. Since then, Treasury and the IRS have issued much-anticipated guidance on just how the deferral applies and how the taxes are likely to have to be repaid. Ed Karl, the AICPA’s vice president–Tax Policy & Advocacy, described the memorandum in the first podcast episode. Now he returns to describe what the guidance in Notice 2020-65 provides — and what it still leaves unclear. He has also written a post on the AICPA Insights blog titled “Employee Payroll Tax Deferral — Is It Workable?” that outlines what CPA advisers can tell their business clients with employees about the deferral. What you’ll learn from this episode: -The notice puts the responsibility for deferring — and repaying — the taxes squarely on employers. -Although the notice doesn’t say so directly, it is clear that employers do not have to participate in the deferral. -The deferred taxes must be ratably repaid in the first four months of 2021 from wages and compensation of an employee whose payroll taxes were deferred. But what about an employee who leaves the job before that happens or a business that goes under? Employers “may make arrangements to otherwise collect” the taxes from the employee. The notice doesn’t elaborate on how they might do that, so we hypothesize. -We assess efforts that are afoot in Congress on the one hand to forgive the deferred taxes entirely and to overturn the president’s memorandum on the other.