IRS issues final versions of Publication 15 and 15-T for 2023

IRS issues final versions of Publication 15 and 15-T for 2023

The IRS has issued the final versions of Publication 15 (Circular E, Employer’s Tax Guide) and Publication 15-T (Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods) for use in the 2023 tax year.

Publication 15: This publication explains the tax responsibilities as an employer regarding the requirements for withholding, depositing, reporting, paying, and correcting employment taxes. The publication also explains the forms an employer must give to its employees, those employees must provide, and those the employer must send to the IRS and the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Publication 15-T: Publication 15-T supplements Publication 15 and Publication 51 (Agricultural Employer’s Tax Guide). It describes how to figure withholdings using the wage bracket method or percentage method.

Qualified sick/family leave in 2023: Publication 15 notes that the rate of Social Security tax on taxable wages, including qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages paid in 2023 for leave taken between March 31, 2021 – October 1, 2021, is 6.2% each for the employer and employee or 12.4% for both.

However, qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages paid in 2023 for leave taken between March 31, 2020 -April 1, 2021, are not subject to the employer share of Social Security tax; therefore, the tax rate on these wages is 6.2%. The 2023 Social Security wage base limit is $160,200.

Payroll research tax credit: For tax years beginning before January 1, 2023, a qualified small business may elect to claim up to $250,000 of its credit for increasing research activities as a payroll tax credit. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the IRA) increased the election amount to $500,000 for tax years beginning after December 31, 2022.

The election and determination of the credit amount that will be used against the employer’s payroll taxes are made on Form 6765 (Credit for Increasing Research Activities). The amount from Form 6765, line 44, must then be reported on Form 8974 (Qualified Small Business Payroll Tax Credit for Increasing Research Activities).

Starting in the first quarter of 2023, the payroll tax credit is first used to reduce the employer share of Social Security tax up to $250,000 per quarter and any remaining credit reduces the employer share of Medicare tax for the quarter (any remaining credit is carried forward to the next quarter).

Forms and publications discontinued forms after 2023: Form 941-SS (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) and Publications 80 and 179.

Source: Thomson Reuters

IRS issues final versions of Publication 15 and 15-T for 2023

IRS provides details on qualified research credit

During a December 1 payroll industry conference call, the IRS discussed the recent increase in the qualified small business payroll tax credit for increasing research activities as provided under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Background: A provision of the Inflation Reduction Act allows a “qualified small business” (QSB), for tax years beginning after December 31, 2022, to apply an additional $250,000 in qualifying expenses as a payroll tax credit against the employer share of Medicare. Prior to the act, a QSB could apply $250,000 against the employer share of Social Security. The total credit that may be applied will be $500,000 beginning after December 31, 2022. Unused amounts of the credit may be carried over.  

Future form revisions: The IRS noted that Form 6765 (Credit for Increasing Research Activities) and its instructions must be revised and will reflect the increased $500,000 limit for the payroll tax credit election. Further, Form 8974 (Qualified Small Business Payroll Tax Credit for Increasing Research Activities) and its instructions must be updated to calculate the amount of credit that can be applied against both Social Security and Medicare. The IRS anticipates the updated forms to be released during the first quarter of 2023.

Claiming the credit: The IRS emphasized that the calculation of the credit does not change on Form 6765 and that only the amount of the credit increases. This form is attached to tax returns as an annual election and cannot be made for the tax year if the election was made for five or more preceding tax years. Taxpayers can claim the credit on Form 941 starting with the first quarter that began after the election. Form 8974 must be completed and attached to Form 941. When the new election with the $500,000 limit is made on Form 6765 that is in effect for 2023 tax year, the IRS expects that it will be claimed in 2024.

Electronic filing of Form 8974: This form is available to be filed electronically. Moreover, Form 8974 can be used to indicate up to a $250,000 credit for the employer share of Social Security and an additional $250,000 credit for the employer share of Medicare. Amounts that are not used can be carried over to a subsequent employment tax return.

Source: Thomson Reuters

IRS issues final versions of Publication 15 and 15-T for 2023

2023 draft instructions released for Form 1042-S

The IRS has released a draft version of the 2023 instructions for Form 1042-S (Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding).

For those unaware, withholding agents file Form 1042-S to report amounts paid to foreign persons (e.g., salaries, interest, dividends, premiums, pensions, scholarships, and grants) from sources within the U.S. during the preceding calendar year that are subject to withholding. Copy A of Form 1042-S must be filed with the IRS even if:

  • No tax is withheld because the income was exempt from tax under a treaty or under the Internal Revenue Code, including the exemption for income effectively connected with conducting a trade or business in the United States.
  • The amount withheld was repaid to the recipient. This means that Form 1042-S should not be filed if the amount is required to be reported on Form W-2 or 1099.

The instructions have been updated to reflect requirements under IRS Codes 1446(a) and 1446(f) that apply beginning January 1, 2023. These requirements apply to brokers effecting transfers of interests in publicly traded partnerships (PTPs). In addition, two new income codes (57 and 58) and a new chapter 3 status code (39) have been added for new requirements, beginning in 2023.

Regardless if Form 1042-S is filed on paper or electronically, the form is due by March 15 of the following year. Additionally, Form 1042-S must be furnished to recipients of the income by March 15.

Note: Filers of 250 or more Forms 1042-S must file the forms electronically. However, the Taxpayer First Act of 2019 authorizes the Treasury and IRS to issue regulations that reduce the 250-return electronic filing requirement. The IRS has stated that until final regulations are issued, the threshold will remain at 250 returns.

Source: Thomson Reuters

IRS issues final versions of Publication 15 and 15-T for 2023

IRS announces 2023 retirement plan dollar limits and thresholds

The IRS has announced the 2023-dollar limits and thresholds for retirement plans, which reflect the latest cost-of-living adjustments.

Note: Dollar limits and thresholds primarily affecting health and welfare plans were announced last week. Here are the limits most relevant to 401(k) plans:

  • Annual Additions: The limit on annual additions (i.e., contributions) to 401(k) and other defined contribution plans will increase to $66,000 (up from $61,000).
  • Compensation: The annual limit on compensation that can be taken into account for contributions and deductions will increase to $330,000 (up from $305,000). 
  • Effective Deferrals: The annual limit on elective deferrals will increase to $22,500 (up from $20,500) for 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans, as well as Salary Reduction Simplified Employee Pension Plans (SARSEPs), and to $15,500 (up from $14,000) for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) plans and SIMPLE IRAs.
  • Catch-Up Contributions: The annual limit on catch-up contributions for individuals aged 50 and over will increase to $7,500 (up from $6,500) for 401(k) plans, 403(b) contracts, 457 plans, and SARSEPs, and to $3,500 (up from $3,000) for SIMPLE plans and SIMPLE IRAs.
  • HCE: The threshold for determining who is a highly compensated employee (HCE) will increase to $150,000 (up from $135,000).
  • Key Employee: The threshold for determining whether an officer is a “key employee” under the top-heavy rules (as well as the cafeteria plan nondiscrimination rules) will increase to $215,000 (up from $200,000).
  • SEP Participation: The threshold for determining participation in a SEP or SARSEP will increase to $750 (up from $650).
  • Saver’s Tax Credit: The upper income limit for determining whether certain individuals are eligible for the saver’s tax credit (also known as the retirement savings contributions credit) will increase to $73,000 (up from $68,000) for married filing jointly; to $54,750 (up from $51,000) for head of household; and to $36,500 (up from $34,000) for all other taxpayers.

The IRS has also announced that the amounts for determining who is a “control employee,” a classification relevant to the valuation of company fringe benefits, will increase to $130,000 (up from $120,000), and to $265,000 (up from $245,000) for other employees. In addition, the Social Security Administration separately announced the annual adjustment to the Social Security taxable wage base, which is relevant for various benefit purposes.

There are notable increases in the retirement plan contribution limits for 2023 compared to recent years. Plan sponsors, administrators, and advisors will want to carefully note when the new limits and thresholds apply. Employee communications, plan procedures, and administrative forms should be reviewed and updated as necessary to reflect these changes. 

Source: Thomson Reuters

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