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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 19, 2020

Title 26Chapter ISubchapter CPart 31Subpart B → Subject Group


Title 26: Internal Revenue
PART 31—EMPLOYMENT TAXES AND COLLECTION OF INCOME TAX AT SOURCE
Subpart B—Federal Insurance Contributions Act (Chapter 21, Internal Revenue Code of 1954)


Tax on Employees

§31.3101-1   Measure of employee tax.

The employee tax is measured by the amount of wages received after 1954 with respect to employment after 1936. See §31.3121(a)-1, relating to wages; and §§31.3121(b)-1 to 31.3121(b)-4, inclusive, relating to employment. For provisions relating to the time of receipt of wages, see §31.3121(a)-2.

[T.D. 6744, 29 FR 8305, July 2, 1964]

§31.3101-2   Rates and computation of employee tax.

(a) Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance. The rates of employee tax for Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) with respect to wages received in calendar years after 1983 are as follows (these regulations do not reflect off-Code revisions to the following rates):

Calendar yearPercent
1984, 1985, 1986, or 19875.7
1988 or 19896.06
1990 and subsequent years6.2

(b)(1) Hospital Insurance. The rates of employee tax for Hospital Insurance (HI) with respect to wages received in calendar years after 1973 are as follows:

Calendar yearPercent
1974, 1975, 1976, or 19770.90
19781.00
1979 or 19801.05
1981, 1982, 1983, or 19841.30
19851.35
1986 and subsequent years1.45

(2) Additional Medicare Tax. (i) The rate of Additional Medicare Tax with respect to wages received in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012, is as follows:

Taxable yearPercent
Beginning after December 31, 20120.9

(ii) Individuals are liable for Additional Medicare Tax with respect to wages received in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012, which are in excess of:

Filling statusThreshold
Married individual filing a joint return$250,000
Married individual filing a separate return125,000
Any other case200,000

(c) Computation of employee tax. The employee tax is computed by applying to the wages received by the employee the rates in effect at the time such wages are received.

Example. In 1989, A performed services for X which constituted employment (see §31.3121(b)-2). In 1990 A receives from X $1,000 as remuneration for such services. The tax is payable at the 6.2 percent OASDI rate and the 1.45 percent HI rate in effect for the calendar year 1990 (the year in which the wages are received) and not at the 6.06 percent OASDI rate and the 1.45 percent HI rate which were in effect for the calendar year 1989 (the year in which the services were performed).

(d) Effective/applicability date. Paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section apply to quarters beginning on or after November 29, 2013.

[T.D. 9645, 78 FR 71471, Nov. 29, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 4623, Jan. 29, 2014]

§31.3101-3   When employee tax attaches.

The employee tax attaches at the time that the wages are received by the employee. For provisions relating to the time of such receipt, see §31.3121(a)-2.

§31.3102-1   Collection of, and liability for, employee tax; in general.

(a) The employer shall collect from each of his employees the employee tax with respect to wages for employment performed for the employer by the employee. The employer shall make the collection by deducting or causing to be deducted the amount of the employee tax from such wages as and when paid. (For provisions relating to the time of such payment, see §31.3121(a)-2.) The employer is required to collect the tax, notwithstanding the wages are paid in something other than money, and to pay over the tax in moey. (As to the exclusion from wages of remuneration paid in any medium other than cash for certain types of services, see §31.3121(a)(7)-1, relating to such remuneration paid for service not in the course of the employer's trade or business or for domestic service in a private home of the employer; and §31.3121(a)(8)-1, relating to such remuneration paid for agricultural labor.) For provisions relating to the collection of, and liability for, employee tax in respect of tips, see §31.3102-3. For special rules relating to Additional Medicare Tax imposed under section 3101(b)(2), see §31.3102-4.

(b) The employer is permitted, but not required, to deduct amounts equivalent to employee tax from payments to an employee of cash remuneration to which the sections referred to in this paragraph (b) are applicable prior to the time that the sum of such payments equals—

(1) $100 in the calendar year, for service not in the course of the employer's trade or business, to which §31.3121(a)(7)-1 is applicable;

(2) The applicable dollar threshold (as defined in section 3121(x)) in the calendar year, for domestic service in a private home of the employer, to which §31.3121(a)(7)-1 is applicable;

(3) $150 in the calendar year, for agricultural labor, to which §31.3121(a)(8)-1(c)(1)(i) is applicable; or

(4) $100 in the calendar year, for service performed as a home worker, to which §31.3121(a)(10)-1 is applicable.

(c) At such time as the sum of the cash payments in the calendar year for a type of service referred to in paragraph (b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(3) or (b)(4) of this section equals or exceeds the amount specified, the employer is required to collect from the employee any amount of employee tax not previously deducted. If an employer pays cash remuneration to an employee for two or more of the types of service referred to in paragraph (b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(3) or (b)(4) of this section, the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section and this paragraph (c) are to be applied separately to the amount of remuneration attributable to each type of service. For provisions relating to the repayment to an employee, or other disposition, of amounts deducted from an employee's remuneration in excess of the correct amount of employee tax, see §31.6413(a)-1.

(d) In collecting employee tax, the employer shall disregard any fractional part of a cent of such tax unless it amounts to one-half cent or more, in which case it shall be increased to 1 cent. The employer is liable for the employee tax with respect to all wages paid by him to each of his employees whether or not it is collected from the employee. If, for example, the employer deducts less than the correct amount of tax, or if he fails to deduct any part of the tax, he is nevertheless liable for the correct amount of the tax. Until collected from him the employee also is liable for the employee tax with respect to all the wages received by him. Any employee tax collected by or on behalf of an employer is a special fund in trust for the United States. See section 7501. The employer is indemnified against the claims and demands of any person for the amount of any payment of such tax made by the employer to the district director.

(e)(1) The provisions of paragraphs (a) and (d) of this section apply to any payment made on or after January 1, 1955.

(2) The provisions of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section that apply to any payment made for service not in the course of the employer's trade or business or for service performed as a home worker within the meaning of section 3121(d)(3)(C) apply to any such payment made on or after January 1, 1978. The provisions of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section that apply to any payment made for domestic service in a private home of the employer apply to any such payment made on or after January 1, 1994. The provisions of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section that apply to any payment made for agricultural labor apply to any such payment made on or after January 1, 1988. For rules applicable to any payment for these services made prior to the dates set forth in this paragraph (e)(2), see §31.3102-1 in effect at such time (see 26 CFR part 31 contained in the edition of 26 CFR Parts 30 to 39, revised as of April 1, 2006).

(f) Effective/applicability date. Paragraph (a) of this section applies to quarters beginning on or after November 29, 2013.

[T.D. 6516, 25 FR 13032, Dec. 20, 1960, as amended by T.D. 6744, 29 FR 8305, July 2, 1964; T.D. 7001, 34 FR 998, Jan. 23, 1969; T.D. 9266, 71 FR 35154, June 19, 2006; T.D. 9645, 78 FR 71472, Nov. 29, 2013]

§31.3102-2   Manner and time of payment of employee tax.

The employee tax is payable to the district director in the manner and at the time prescribed in Subpart G of the regulations in this part. For provisions relating to the payment by an employee of employee tax in respect of tips, see paragraph (d) of §31.3102-3.

[T.D. 7001, 34 FR 998, Jan. 23, 1969]

§31.3102-3   Collection of, and liability for, employee tax on tips.

(a) Collection of tax from employee—(1) In general. Subject to the limitations set forth in subparagraph (2) of this paragraph, the employer shall collect from each of his employees the employee tax on those tips received by the employee which constitute wages for purposes of the tax imposed by section 3101. (For provisions relating to the treatment of tips as wages, see 3121(a)(12) and 3121(q).) The employer shall make the collection by deducting or causing to be deducted the amount of the employee tax from wages (exclusive of tips) which are under the control of the employer or other funds turned over by the employee to the employer (see subparagraph (3) of this paragraph). For purposes of this section the term “wages (exclusive of tips) which are under the control of the employer” means, with respect to a payment of wages, an amount equal to wages as defined in section 3121(a) except that tips and noncash remuneration which are wages are not included, less the sum of—

(i) The tax under section 3101 required to be collected by the employer in respect of wages as defined in section 3121(a) (exclusive of tips);

(ii) The tax under section 3402 required to be collected by the employer in respect of wages as defined in section 3401(a) (exclusive of tips); and

(iii) The amount of taxes imposed on the remuneration of an employee withheld by the employer pursuant to State and local law (including amounts withheld under an agreement between the employer and the employee pursuant to such law) except that the amount of taxes taken into account in this subdivision shall not include any amount attributable to tips.

(2) Limitations. An employer is required to collect employee tax on tips which constitute wages only in respect of those tips which are reported by the employee to the employer in a written statement furnished to the employer pursuant to section 6053(a). The employer is responsible for the collection of employee tax on tips reported to him only to the extent that the employer can—

(i) During the period beginning at the time the written statement is submitted to him and ending at the close of the 10th day of the month following the month in which the statement was submitted, or

(ii) In the case of an employer who elects to deduct the tax on an estimated basis (see paragraph (c) of this section), during the period beginning at the time the written statement is submitted to him and ending at the close of the 30th day following the quarter in which the statement was submitted,

collect the employee tax by deducting it or causing it to be deducted as provided in subparagraph (1).

(3) Furnishing of funds to employer. If the amount of employee tax in respect of tips reported by the employee to the employer in a written statement (or statements) furnished pursuant to section 6053(a) exceeds the wages (exclusive of tips) which are under the control of the employer, the employee may furnish to the employer, within the period specified in subparagraph (2) (i) or (ii) of this paragraph (whichever is applicable), an amount of money equal to the amount of such excess.

(b) Less than $20 of tips. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, if an employee furnishes to his employer a written statement—

(1) Covering a period of less than 1 month, and

(2) The statement is furnished to the employer prior to the close of the 10th day of the month following the month in which the tips were actually received by the employee, and

(3) The aggregate amount of tips reported in the statement and in all other statements previously furnished by the employee covering periods within the same month is less than $20, and the statements, collectively, do not cover the entire month,

the employer may deduct amounts equivalent to employee tax on such tips from wages (exclusive of tips) which are under the control of the employer or other funds turned over by the employee to the employer. For provisions relating to the repayment to an employee, or other disposition, of amounts deducted from an employee's remuneration in excess of the correct amount of employee tax, see §31.6413(a)-1. (As to the exclusion from wages of tips of less than $20, see §31.3121(a)(12)-1.)

(c) Collection of employee tax on estimated basis—(1) In general. Subject to certain limitations and conditions, an employer may, at his discretion, make collection of the employee tax in respect of tips reported by an employee to the employer on an estimated basis. An employer who elects to make collection of the employee tax on an estimated basis shall:

(i) In respect of each employee, make an estimate of the amount of tips that will be reported, pursuant to section 6053(a), by the employee to the employer in a calendar quarter.

(ii) Determine the amount which must be deducted upon each payment of wages (exclusive of tips) which are under the control of the employer to be made during the quarter by the employer to the employee in order to collect from the employee during the quarter an amount equal to the amount obtained by multiplying the estimated quarterly tips by the sum of the rates of tax under subsections (a) and (b) of section 3101.

(iii) Deduct from any payment of such employee's wages (exclusive of tips) which are under the control of the employer, or from funds referred to in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, such amount as may be necessary to adjust the amount of tax withheld on the estimated basis to conform to the amount of employee tax imposed upon, and required to be deducted in respect of, tips reported by the employee to the employer during the calendar quarter in written statements furnished to the employer pursuant to section 6053(a). If an adjustment is required, the additional employee tax required to be collected may be deducted upon any payment of the employee's wages (exclusive of tips) which are under the control of the employer during the quarter and within the first 30 days following the quarter or from funds turned over by the employee to the employer for such purposes within such period. For provisions relating to the repayment to an employee, or other disposition, of amounts deducted from an employee's remuneration in excess of the correct amount of employee tax, see §31.6413(a)-1.

(2) Estimating tips employee will report—(i) Initial estimate. The initial estimate of the amount of tips that will be reported by a particular employee in a calendar quarter shall be made on the basis of the facts and circumstances surrounding the employment of that employee. However, if a number of employees are employed under substantially the same circumstances and working conditions, the initial estimate established for one such employee may be used as the initial estimate for other employees in that group.

(ii) Adjusting estimate. If the quarterly estimate of tips in respect of a particular employee continues to differ substantially from the amount of tips reported by the employee and there are no unusual factors involved (for example, an extended absence from work due to illness) the employer shall make an appropriate adjustment of his estimate of the amount of tips that will be reported by the employee.

(iii) Reasonableness of estimate. The employer must be prepared, upon request of the district director, to disclose the factors upon which he relied in making the estimate, and his reasons for believing that the estimate is reasonable.

(d) Employee tax not collected by employer. If—

(1) The amount of the employee tax imposed by section 3101 in respect of those tips received by an employee which constitute wages exceeds

(2) The amount of employee tax imposed by section 3101 (in respect of tips reported by the employee to the employer) which can be collected by the employer from such employee's wages (exclusive of tips) which are under the control of the employer or from funds referred to in paragraph (a)(3) of this section,

the employee shall be liable for the payment of tax in an amount equal to such excess. For provisions relating to the manner and time of payment of employee tax by an employee, see paragraph (d) of §31.6011(a)-1 and paragraph (a)(4) of §31.6071(a)-1. For provisions relating to statements required to be furnished by employers to employees in respect of uncollected employee tax on tips reported to the employer, see §31.6053-2.

[T.D. 7001, 34 FR 998, Jan. 23, 1969; 34 FR 1554, Jan. 31, 1969]

§31.3102-4   Special rules regarding Additional Medicare Tax.

(a) Collection of tax from employee. An employer is required to collect from each of its employees the tax imposed by section 3101(b)(2) (Additional Medicare Tax) with respect to wages for employment performed for the employer by the employee only to the extent the employer pays wages to the employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year. This rule applies regardless of the employee's filing status or other income. Thus, the employer disregards any amount of wages or Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA) compensation paid to the employee's spouse. The employer also disregards any RRTA compensation paid by the employer to the employee or any wages or RRTA compensation paid to the employee by another employer.

Example. H, who is married and files a joint return, receives $100,000 in wages from his employer for the calendar year. I, H's spouse, receives $300,000 in wages from her employer for the same calendar year. H's wages are not in excess of $200,000, so H's employer does not withhold Additional Medicare Tax. I's employer is required to collect Additional Medicare Tax only with respect to wages it pays which are in excess of the $200,000 threshold (that is, $100,000) for the calendar year.

(b) Collection of amounts not withheld. To the extent the employer does not collect Additional Medicare Tax imposed on the employee by section 3101(b)(2), the employee is liable to pay the tax.

Example. J, who is married and files a joint return, receives $190,000 in wages from his employer for the calendar year. K, J's spouse, receives $150,000 in wages from her employer for the same calendar year. Neither J's nor K's wages are in excess of $200,000, so neither J's nor K's employers are required to withhold Additional Medicare Tax. J and K are liable to pay Additional Medicare Tax on $90,000 ($340,000 minus the $250,000 threshold for a joint return).

(c) Employer's liability for tax. If the employer deducts less than the correct amount of Additional Medicare Tax, or if it fails to deduct any part of Additional Medicare Tax, it is nevertheless liable for the correct amount of tax that it was required to withhold, unless and until the employee pays the tax. If an employee subsequently pays the tax that the employer failed to deduct, the tax will not be collected from the employer. The employer will not be relieved of its liability for payment of the tax required to be withheld unless it can show that the tax under section 3101(b)(2) has been paid. The employer, however, will remain subject to any applicable penalties or additions to tax resulting from the failure to withhold as required.

(d) Effective/applicability date. This section applies to quarters beginning on or after November 29, 2013.

[T.D. 9645, 78 FR 71472, Nov. 29, 2013]

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