Tax Preparation Help  
FAQ Keyword 207 2006 Tax Year

Keyword: Withholding Taxes

What can be done if an employer will not withhold income taxes, social security, and Medicare from my pay?

Generally, if an employer does not withhold income taxes, social security, and Medicare from your pay, you are being treated as an independent contractor (self-employed person). If you believe an employee relationship exists and you cannot resolve this matter with your employer, you should submit a Form SS-8 (PDF), Determination of Employee Work Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding. The factors used to determine if an employer-employee relationship exists are covered in Chapter 2 of Publication 15-A (PDF), Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide.

If your status as an employee is not at issue, it may be that you are in a category of employment whose earnings are not defined as wages under U.S. federal tax and social security law. Find out from your employer the reason that social security and Medicare taxes and income taxes are not being withheld from your pay. If you have further questions, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 or visit an IRS walk-in office for assistance.

I am self-employed. How do I report my income and how do I pay Medicare and social security taxes?

You are a sole proprietor if you are the sole owner of a business that is not a corporation. Report your income and expenses from your sole proprietorship on Form 1040, Schedule C (PDF), Profit or Loss from Business (Sole Proprietorship), or on Form 1040, Schedule C-EZ (PDF), Net Profit from Business.

If the total of your net earnings from self-employment from all businesses is $400 or more, you must pay into the Social Security and Medicare systems by filing Form 1040, Schedule SE (PDF), Self-Employment Tax. Self-Employment tax consists of the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (social security) and the Hospital Insurance (Medicare) taxes. For more information refer to chapter 1 of Publication 334, Tax Guide for Small Business.

The Federal tax system is based on a pay-as-you-go plan. Tax is generally withheld from employees wages or salary before they get it. However, tax is generally not withheld from self-employment income. Thus, you may be required to make estimated tax payments. Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, provides information on making estimated tax payments.

I received a Form 1099-MISC with an amount in box 7, (nonemployee compensation). What forms and schedules should be used to report income earned as an independent contractor?

Independent contractors report their income on Form 1040, Schedule C (PDF), Profit or Loss from Business (Sole Proprietorship), or you may qualify to use Form 1040, Schedule C-EZ (PDF), Net Profit from Business (Sole Proprietorship). You should also be aware of Form 1040, Schedule SE (PDF), Self-Employment Tax, which must be filed if net earnings from self-employment are $400 or more. This form is used to figure your social security and Medicare tax which is based on your net self-employment income. You may also need to file Form 2210 (PDF), Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates & Trusts, if you do not make estimated tax payments.

Can an employer take out taxes if a Form W-4 was never filed?

Yes, the employer is required to withhold income taxes. Chapter 9 of Publication 15, Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide, states that if an employee does not give you a completed Form W-4 (PDF), Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, withhold tax as if he or she is single, with no withholding allowances.

The employer is also required to withhold social security and Medicare taxes.

If an employee claims more than 10 exemptions on their Form W-4, does the employer have to report this to the IRS?

No, this requirement has been eliminated. In the past, employers had to routinely send the IRS any Form W-4 (PDF), Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, claiming more than 10 allowances or claiming complete exemption from withholding if $200 or more in weekly wages was expected. However, Forms W-4 are still subject to review. Employers may be directed (in a written notice or in future published guidance) to send certain Forms W-4 to the IRS. The IRS also will be reviewing employee withholding compliance and you may be required to withhold income tax at a higher rate if notified to do so by the IRS.

We are about to hire employees and need to know how much tax to take out and where to send this money?

You will need to secure a completed Form W-4 (PDF), Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, from each employee. You will need Publication 15, Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide, and Publication 15-A (PDF), Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide, to determine the amount of withholding and for directions on depositing the withholding amounts and other employment taxes.

Generally, employers will quarterly file Form 941 (PDF), Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return, and annually file Form 940 (PDF), Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return (FUTA), and Form W-2 (PDF), Wage and Tax Statement, with Form W-3 (PDF), Transmittal of Income and Tax Statements.

We hired a nanny to look after our baby while we work. How do we pay her social security taxes and properly report her income?

A nanny is considered a household employee. A household employer only has to pay social security and Medicare tax only for the employee(s) that receive cash wages that exceed the threshold amount for the year. If the amount paid is less than the threshold, no social security or Medicare tax is owed. If social security and Medicare tax must be paid, you will need to file Form 1040, Schedule H (PDF), Household Employment Taxes. You must withhold the employee's portion of the social security and Medicare unless the employer chooses to pay both the employee's share and the employer's share.

The taxes are 15.3% of cash wages. Your share is 7.65% and the employee's share is 7.65%. You may also be responsible for paying federal unemployment taxes. For directions on household employees, refer to Publication 926, Household Employer's Tax Guide.

Under my visa as a temporary nonresident alien, I'm not subject to social security and Medicare withholding. My employer withheld the taxes from my pay. What should I do to get a refund of my social security and Medicare?

If social security tax and Medicare were withheld in error from pay received which was not subject to the taxes, you must first contact the employer who withheld the taxes for reimbursement. If you are unable to get a refund from the employer, file a claim for refund with the Internal Revenue Service on Form 843 (PDF), Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.

You must attach the following to your claim:

  • a copy of your Form W-2 (PDF), Wage and Tax Statement, to prove the amount of tax withheld;
  • Form I-797, INS Approval Notice, is needed if you have changed your status from F-1 or J-1 to another status prior to filing the claim;
  • if your visa status changed during the tax year you should attach copies of the pay stubs that cover the period of exemption from social security taxes;
  • a copy of INS Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, if you are still in the United States;
  • a copy of your valid entry visa;
  • Form 8316, Information Regarding Request for Refund of Social Security Tax, or a signed statement stating that you have requested a refund from the employer and have not been able to obtain one; and
  • a copy of Form 1040NR (PDF), US Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return (or Form 1040NR-EZ (PDF)), for tax the year in question. Processing of your claim may be delayed if you submit it less than six weeks after you filed Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.

In addition to the documentation listed above foreign student visa holders should also attach the following:

  • a copy of Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility, endorsed by your student advisor and stamped by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services; and
  • a copy of the Employment Authorization Document of your Optional Practical Training (e.g., Form I-766, I-538 or 688B).
  • if you are an exchange visitor, attach a copy of Form IAP-66 or DS-2019 to your claim.

File the claim, with attachments, with the IRS where the employer's returns were filed. If you do not know where the employer's returns were filed, send your claim to the Internal Revenue Service Center, Philadelphia, PA 19255.

For more information, refer to Chapter 8 of Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens .

Are nonresident alien students, with F-1 or J-1 visas and employed by a U.S. company during the summer, required to have federal income taxes withheld from their paychecks?

The following discussion generally applies only to nonresident aliens. Wages and other compensation paid to a nonresident alien for services performed as an employee are usually subject to graduated withholding at the same rates as resident aliens and U.S. citizens. Therefore, your compensation, unless it is specifically excluded from the term "wages" by law, or is exempt from tax by treaty, is subject to graduated withholding. Nonresident aliens must follow modified instructions when completing Form W-4 (PDF). Please refer to Chapter 8 of Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for directions on completing Form W-4 (PDF), Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate.

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