Tips your employee receives from customers are generally subject to withholding. Your employee must report cash tips to you by the 10th of the
month after the month the tips are received. The report should include tips you paid over to the employee for charge customers and tips the employee
received directly from customers. No report is required for months when tips are less than $20. Your employee reports the tips on Form 4070,
Employee's Report of Tips to Employer, or on a similar statement. The statement must be signed by the employee and must show the following:
- The employee's name, address, and SSN.
- Your name and address.
- The month or period the report covers.
- The total tips.
Both Forms 4070 and 4070-A, Employee's Daily Record of Tips, are included in Pub. 1244, Employee's Daily Record of Tips and
Report to Employer.
You must collect income tax, employee social security tax, and employee Medicare tax on the employee's tips. You can collect these taxes from the
employee's wages or from other funds he or she makes available. (See Tips treated as supplemental wages in section 7 for further
information.) Stop collecting the employee social security tax when his or her wages and tips for tax year 2002 reach $84,900; collect the income and
employee Medicare taxes for the whole year on all wages and tips. You are responsible for the employer social security tax on wages and tips until the
wages (including tips) reach the limit. You are responsible for the employer Medicare tax for the whole year on all wages and tips. File Form 941 to
report withholding on tips.
If, by the 10th of the month after the month you received an employee's report on tips, you do not have enough employee funds available to deduct
the employee tax, you no longer have to collect it. If there are not enough funds available, withhold taxes in the following order:
- Withhold on regular wages and other compensation.
- Withhold social security and Medicare taxes on tips.
- Withhold income tax on tips.
Show these tips and any uncollected social security and Medicare taxes on Form W-2 and on lines 6c, 6d, 7a, and 7b of Form 941. Report an
adjustment on line 9 of Form 941 for the uncollected social security and Medicare taxes. Enter the amount of uncollected social security and Medicare
taxes in box 12 of Form W-2 with codes A and B. (See section 13 and the Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3.)
If an employee reports to you in writing $20 or more of tips in a month, the tips are subject to FUTA tax.
You are permitted to establish a system for electronic tip reporting by employees. See Regulations section 31.6053-1.
If you operate a large food or beverage establishment, you must report allocated tips under certain circumstances. However, do not withhold income,
social security, or Medicare taxes on allocated tips.
A large food or beverage establishment is one that provides food or beverages for consumption on the premises, where tipping is customary, and
where there are normally more than 10 employees on a typical business day during the preceding year.
The tips may be allocated by one of three methods - hours worked, gross receipts, or good faith agreement. For information about these
allocation methods, including the requirement to file Forms 8027 on magnetic media if 250 or more forms are filed, see the separate Instructions
for Form 8027.
Tip Rate Determination and Education Program.
Employers may participate in the Tip Rate Determination and Education Program. The program consists of two voluntary agreements developed to
improve tip income reporting by helping taxpayers to understand and meet their tip reporting responsibilities. The two agreements are the Tip
Rate Determination Agreement
(TRDA) and the Tip Reporting Alternative Commitment (TRAC).
To find out more about this program, or to identify the IRS Tip Coordinator for your state,
call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. To get more information about TRDA or TRAC agreements, access the IRS Web Site at www.irs.gov and search
for Market Segment Understanding (MSU) agreements.
7. Supplemental Wages
Supplemental wages are compensation paid in addition to the employee's regular wages. They include, but are not limited to, bonuses, commissions,
overtime pay, payments for accumulated sick leave, severance pay, awards, prizes, back pay and retroactive pay increases for current employees, and
payments for nondeductible moving expenses. Other payments subject to the supplemental wage rules include taxable fringe benefits and expense
allowances paid under a nonaccountable plan. How you withhold on supplemental payments depends on whether the supplemental payment is identified as a
separate payment from regular wages.
Supplemental wages combined with regular wages.
If you pay supplemental wages with regular wages but do not specify the amount of each, withhold income tax as if the total were a single payment
for a regular payroll period.
Supplemental wages identified separately from regular wages.
If you pay supplemental wages separately (or combine them in a single payment and specify the amount of each), the income tax withholding method
depends partly on whether you withhold income tax from your employee's regular wages:
- If you withheld income tax from an employee's regular wages, you can use one of the following methods for the supplemental
- Withhold a flat 27% (no other percentage allowed).
- Add the supplemental and regular wages for the most recent payroll period this year. Then figure the income tax withholding as if the total
were a single payment. Subtract the tax already withheld from the regular wages. Withhold the remaining tax from the supplemental wages.
- If you did not withhold income tax from the employee's regular wages, use method b above. (This would occur, for
example, when the value of the employee's withholding allowances claimed on Form W-4 is more than the wages.)
Regardless of the method you use to withhold income tax on supplemental wages, they are subject to social security, Medicare, and FUTA taxes.
You pay John Peters a base salary on the 1st of each month. He is single and claims one withholding allowance. In January of 2002, he is paid
$1,000. Using the wage bracket tables, you withhold $58 from this amount. In February 2002, he receives salary of $1,000 plus a commission of $2,000,
which you include in regular wages. You figure the withholding based on the total of $3,000. The correct withholding from the tables is $394.
You pay Sharon Warren a base salary on the 1st of each month. She is single and claims one allowance. Her May 1, 2002, pay is $2,000. Using the
wage bracket tables, you withhold $208. On May 14, 2002, she receives a bonus of $2,000. Electing to use supplemental payment method b,
- Add the bonus amount to the amount of wages from the most recent pay date ($2,000 + $2,000 = $4,000).
- Determine the amount of withholding on the combined $4,000 amount to be $664 using the wage bracket tables.
- Subtract the amount withheld from wages on the most recent pay date from the combined withholding amount ($664 - $208 =
- Withhold $456 from the bonus payment.
The facts are the same as in Example 2, except that you elect to use the flat rate method of withholding on the bonus. You withhold 27% of $2,000,
or $540, from Sharon's bonus payment.
Tips treated as supplemental wages.
Withhold income tax on tips from wages or from other funds the employee makes available. If an employee receives regular wages and reports tips,
figure income tax as if the tips were supplemental wages. If you have not withheld income tax from the regular wages, add the tips to the regular
wages. Then withhold income tax on the total. If you withheld income tax from the regular wages, you can withhold on the tips by method a
or b above.
Vacation pay is subject to withholding as if it were a regular wage payment. When vacation pay is in addition to regular wages for the vacation
period, treat it as a supplemental wage payment. If the vacation pay is for a time longer than your usual payroll period, spread it over the pay
periods for which you pay it.
8. Payroll Period
The payroll period is a period of service for which you usually pay wages. When you have a regular payroll period, withhold income tax for that
time period even if your employee does not work the full period.
When you do not have a regular payroll period, withhold the tax as if you paid wages for a daily or miscellaneous payroll period. Figure the number
of days (including Sundays and holidays) in the period covered by the wage payment. If the wages are unrelated to a specific length of time (e.g.,
commissions paid on completion of a sale), count back the number of days from the payment period to the latest of:
- The last wage payment made during the same calendar year,
- The date employment began, if during the same calendar year, or
- January 1 of the same year.
When you pay an employee for a period of less than 1 week, and the employee signs a statement under penalties of perjury that he or she is not
working for any other employer during the same week for wages subject to withholding, figure withholding based on a weekly payroll period. If the
employee later begins to work for another employer for wages subject to withholding, the employee must notify you within 10 days. You then figure
withholding based on the daily or miscellaneous period.
9. Withholding From Employees' Wages
Income Tax Withholding
To know how much income tax to withhold from employees' wages, you should have a Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate,
on file for each employee. Ask all new employees to give you a signed Form W-4 when they start work. Make the
form effective with the first wage payment. If a new employee does not give you a completed Form W-4, withhold tax as if he or she is single, with no
You may establish a system to electronically receive Form W-4 from your employees. See Regulations section 31.3402(f)(5)-1(c) for more information.
A Form W-4 remains in effect until the employee gives you a new one. If an employee gives you a Form W-4 that replaces an existing Form W-4, begin
withholding no later than the start of the first payroll period ending on or after the 30th day from the date you received the replacement Form W-4.
For exceptions, see Exemption from income tax withholding, Sending certain Forms W-4 to the IRS, and Invalid Forms W-4 later.
The amount of income tax withholding must be based on marital status and withholding allowances. Your employees may not base their withholding
amounts on a fixed dollar amount or percentage. However, the employee may specify a dollar amount to be withheld in addition to the amount
of withholding based on filing status and withholding allowances claimed on Form W-4.
Employees may claim fewer withholding allowances than they are entitled to claim. They may wish to claim fewer allowances to ensure that
they have enough withholding or to offset other sources of taxable income that are not subject to adequate withholding.
A Form W-4 that makes a change for the next calendar year will not take effect in the current calendar year.
See Pub. 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, for detailed instructions for completing Form W-4. Along with Form W-4, you may wish to
order Pub. 505 and Pub. 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?
When you receive a new Form W-4, do not adjust withholding for pay periods before the effective date of the new form. Also, do not accept any
withholding or estimated tax payments from your employees in addition to withholding based on their Form W-4. If they require additional withholding,
they should submit a new Form W-4 and, if necessary, pay estimated tax by filing Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals.
Exemption from income tax withholding.
Generally, an employee may claim exemption from income tax withholding because he or she had no income tax liability last year and expects none
this year. See the Form W-4 instructions for more information. However, the wages are still subject to social security and Medicare taxes.
A Form W-4 claiming exemption from withholding is valid for only one calendar year. To continue to be exempt from withholding in the next year, an
employee must file a new Form W-4 by February 15 of that year. If the employee does not give you a new Form W-4, withhold tax as if the employee is
single with zero withholding allowances.
Withholding on nonresident aliens.
In general, if you pay wages to nonresident aliens, you must withhold income tax (unless excepted by regulations), social security, and Medicare
taxes as you would for a U.S. citizen. However, income tax withholding from the wages of nonresident aliens is subject to the special rules shown in
Form W-4 below. You must also give a Form W-2 to the nonresident alien and file it with the SSA. The wages are subject to FUTA tax as well.
However, see Pub. 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities, and Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens,
for exceptions to these general rules.
When completing Form W-4, nonresident aliens are required to:
- Not claim exemption from income tax withholding.
- Request withholding as if they are single, regardless of their actual marital status.
- Claim only one allowance (if the nonresident alien is a resident of Canada, Mexico, Japan, or Korea, he or she may claim more than one
- Request an additional income tax withholding amount, depending on the payroll period, as follows:
Nonresident alien students from India are not subject to the additional income tax withholding requirement.
In some cases, an Internal Revenue Code section or a U.S. treaty provision will exempt payments to a nonresident alien from wages. These payments
are not subject to regular income tax withholding. Form W-2 is not required in these cases. Instead, the payments are subject to withholding at a flat
30% or lower treaty rate, unless exempt from tax because of a Code or U.S. tax treaty provision.
Report these payments and any withheld tax on Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding. Form 1042-S is
sent to the IRS with Form 1042, Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons. You may have to make deposits of
the withheld income tax, using Form 8109, Federal Tax Deposit Coupon, or EFTPS (see page 20). See Pub. 515 and the Instructions for
Form 1042-S for more information.
Sending certain Forms W-4 to the IRS.
Generally, you must send to the IRS copies of certain Forms W-4 received during the quarter from employees still employed by you at the end of the
quarter. Send copies when the employee claims (a) more than 10 withholding allowances or (b) exemption from withholding and his or her wages would
normally be more than $200 per week. Send the copies to the IRS office where you file your Form 941. You are not required to send any other Forms W-4
unless the IRS notifies you in writing to do so.
Send in Forms W-4 that meet either of the above conditions each quarter with Form 941. Complete boxes 8 and 10 on any Forms W-4 you send in. You
may use box 9 to identify the office responsible for processing the employee's payroll information. Also send copies of any written statements from
employees in support of the claims made on Forms W-4. Send these statements even if the Forms W-4 are not in effect at the end of the quarter. You can
send them to the IRS more often if you like. If you do so, include a cover letter giving your name, address, EIN, and the number of forms included. In
certain cases, the IRS may notify you in writing that you must submit specified Forms W-4 more frequently, separate from your Form 941.
Please make sure that the copies of Form W-4 you send to the IRS are clear and legible.
If your Forms 941 are filed on magnetic media, this Form W-4 information also should be filed with the IRS on magnetic media. (See Filing Form
W-4 on magnetic media below.) Magnetic media filers of Form 941 may send paper Forms W-4 to the IRS with a cover letter if they are unable to
file them on magnetic media. If you file Form 941 by TeleFile, send your paper Forms W-4 to the IRS with a cover letter.
Any Form W-4 you send to the IRS without a Form 941 should be mailed to the Return without payment address on the back of Form 941.
Base withholding on the Forms W-4 that you send in unless the IRS notifies you in writing to do otherwise. If the IRS notifies you about a
particular employee, base withholding on the number of withholding allowances shown in the IRS notice. The employee will get a similar notice directly
from the IRS. If the employee later gives you a new Form W-4, follow it only if (a) exempt status is not claimed or (b) the number of withholding
allowances is equal to or lower than the number in the IRS notice. Otherwise, disregard it and do not submit it to the IRS. Continue to follow the IRS
If the employee prepares a new Form W-4 explaining any difference with the IRS notice, he or she may either submit it to the IRS or to you. If
submitted to you, send the Form W-4 and an explanation to the IRS office shown in the notice. Continue to withhold based on the notice until the IRS
tells you to follow the new Form W-4.
Filing Form W-4 on magnetic media.
Form W-4 information may be filed with the IRS on magnetic media. If you wish to file on magnetic media, you must submit Form 4419,
Application for Filing Information Returns Magnetically/Electronically, to request authorization. See Pub. 1245, Specifications for
Filing Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, Magnetically or Electronically. To get more information about magnetic media filing,
call the IRS Martinsburg Computing Center at 304-263-8700.
Invalid Forms W-4.
Any unauthorized change or addition to Form W-4 makes it invalid. This includes taking out any language by which the employee certifies that the
form is correct. A Form W-4 is also invalid if, by the date an employee gives it to you, he or she indicates in any way that it is false. An employee
who files a false Form W-4 may be subject to a $500 penalty.
When you get an invalid Form W-4, do not use it to figure withholding. Tell the employee it is invalid and ask for another one. If the employee
does not give you a valid one, withhold taxes as if the employee were single and claiming no withholding allowances. However, if you have an earlier
Form W-4 for this worker that is valid, withhold as you did before.
Amounts exempt from levy on wages, salary, and other income.
If you receive a Notice of Levy on Wages, Salary, and Other Income (Forms 668-W, 668-W(c), or 668-W(c)(DO), you must withhold amounts as described
in the instructions for these forms. Pub. 1494, Table for Figuring Amount Exempt From Levy on Wages, Salary, and Other Income (Forms
668-W(c) and 668-W(c)(DO)) 2002, shows the exempt amount.
Social Security and Medicare Taxes
The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) provides for a Federal system of old-age, survivors, disability, and hospital insurance. The
old-age, survivors, and disability insurance part is financed by the social security tax. The hospital insurance part is financed by the Medicare tax.
Each of these taxes is reported separately.
Generally, you are required to withhold social security and Medicare taxes from your employees' wages and you must also pay a matching amount of
these taxes. Certain types of wages and compensation are not subject to social security taxes (see sections 5 and 15 for details). Generally, employee
wages are subject to social security and Medicare taxes regardless of the employee's age or whether he or she is receiving social security benefits.
(If the employee reported tips, see section 6.)
Tax rates and the social security wage base limit.
These taxes have different tax rates and only the social security tax has a wage base limit. The wage base limit is the maximum wage that is
subject to the tax for the year. Determine the amount of withholding for social security and Medicare taxes by multiplying each payment by the
employee tax rate. There are no withholding allowances for social security and Medicare taxes.
The employee tax rate for social security is 6.2% (amount withheld). The employer tax rate for social security is also 6.2% (12.4% total). The 2001
wage base limit was $80,400. For 2002, the wage base limit is $84,900.
The employee tax rate for Medicare is 1.45% (amount withheld). The employer tax rate for Medicare tax is also 1.45% (2.9% total). There is no wage
base limit for Medicare tax; all covered wages are subject to Medicare tax.
If you received all or most of the property used in the trade or business of another employer, or a unit of that employer's trade or business, you
may include the wages the other employer paid to your employees when you figure the annual wage base limit for social security. See Regulations
section 31.3121(a)(1)-1(b) for more information. Also see Rev. Proc. 96-60, 1996-2 C.B. 399, for the procedures used in filing returns in a
Early in 2001, you bought all the assets of a plumbing business from Mr. Martin. Mr. Brown, who had been employed by Mr. Martin and received $2,000
in wages before the date of purchase, continued to work for you. The wages you paid Mr. Brown are subject to social security taxes on the first
$78,400 ($80,400 less $2,000). Medicare tax is due on all wages you pay him during the calendar year.
International social security agreements.
The United States has social security agreements with many countries that eliminate dual taxation and dual coverage. Compensation subject to social
security and Medicare taxes may be exempt under one of these agreements. You can get more information and a list of agreement countries from SSA at
www.ssa.gov/international or see Pub. 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide.
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