Businesses Should Verify Proper Tracking, Withholding & Reporting On Tips & Gratuities

February 5, 2015

Employers of  restaurant, hotel and other hospitality, cosmetology, and other tipped employees should take the publication by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of IRS Tax Tip 2015-13, What You Should Know if You Get Tipped at Work,  reminding employees about their responsibility to pay taxes on tips and other gratuities as a reminder of the need to implement proper procedures to accurately track the amount of, report as income, and withhold employee’s income and employment tax and report and pay the employer’s required employment taxes on taxable tips and gratuities as required by the Internal Revenue Code (Code) as well as a resource to aid the employer in educating workers about these requirements.

While the IRS’ publication of Tax Tip 2015-13 is targeted at workers receiving tipped compensation, its publication also signals employers of tipped workers of the IRS’ expectation that both employers and employees comply with the Code’s rules about taxation, reporting and withholding on tips and gratuities.

Under the Code, tips and other gratuities generally qualify as taxable wages under the Internal Revenue Code.  Consequently, employers of employees receiving tips, gratuities or other similar compensation generally are responsible for accurately tracking and reporting taxable tips and gratuities collected by their employees, including those amounts when calculating and collecting required income and employment taxes from employee’s pay, and calculating, reporting and paying employment taxes due with respect to those wages by the employer.  Employers caught failing to fulfill these responsibilities risk incurring penalties for failing to report and pay taxes on the tipped wages due from the employer as well as potentially becoming liable as a backup guarantor to pay income and employment taxes owed by the employee on unreported tipped wages that otherwise would have been due from the recipient employee.  To help mitigate these risks, employers of tipped employees should adopt and communicate clearly written policies and procedures requiring employees to report accurately all tips and gratuities, should monitor and enforce these policies and procedures, and should accurately report, pay employment taxes, and report and withhold income and the employee’s required share of employment taxes as required to comply with the Code.  See Publication 531, Tax Topic 761 – Tips – Withholding and Reporting; Form 4137, Social Security and Medicare Tax on Unreported Tip Income; Tip Recordkeeping and Reporting.To aid in this process, employers of tipped employees may want to review and require employee’s to keep a daily log of tips to report tips and gratuities to the employer based on the information provided by the IRS in Publication 1244, Employee’s Daily Record of Tips and Report to Employer, to record your tips. 

Businesses employing tipped employees also should use care to abstain from posting signs or other practices such as asking or otherwise encouraging customers to pay tips or other amounts in cash, which are or could be construed to seek to hide or obscure wages or other taxable receipts to avoid reporting or payment of taxes due under the Code.  Businesses also should use care to properly document, report and include tips and gratuities as required to comply with state unemployment compensation, disability, worker’s compensation, and other laws.

For Advice, Training & Other Resources

Should your business need legal advice about the taxability of or other requirements on tips, gratuities or other compensation,  assistance assessing or resolving potential past or existing compliance exposures, or monitoring and responding to these or other workforce, benefits and compensation, performance and risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer may be able to help.

Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law, Past Chair of the ABA RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Arrangements Group, Co-Chair and Past Chair of the ABA RPTE Welfare Plan Committee, Vice Chair of the ABA TIPS Employee Benefit Plans Committee, an ABA Joint Committee On Employee Benefits Council representative, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section, a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, ABA, and State Bar of Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 25 years’ experience advising health plan and employee benefit, insurance, financial services, employer and health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health plans and insurers about ACA, and a wide range of other plan design, administration, data security and privacy and other compliance risk management policies.  Ms. Stamer also regularly represents clients and works with Congress and state legislatures, EBSA, IRS, EEOC, OCR and other HHS agencies, state insurance and other regulators, and others.   She also publishes and speaks extensively on health and other employee benefit plan and insurance, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, privacy, regulatory and public policy and other operations and risk management concerns. Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.

You can review other recent human resources, employee benefits and internal controls publications and resources and additional information about the employment, employee benefits and other experience of the Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, PC here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile www.cynthiastamer.com or by registering to participate in the distribution of these and other updates on our HR & Employee Benefits Update distributions here including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information including your preferred e-mail by creating or updating your profile here. For important information about this communication click here

NOTE:  This article is provided for educational purposes.  It is does not establish any attorney-client relationship nor provide or serve as a substitute for legal advice to any individual or organization.  Readers must engage properly qualified legal counsel to secure legal advice about the rules discussed in light of specific circumstances.

The following disclaimer is included to ensure that we comply with U.S. Treasury Department Regulations.  The Regulations now require that either we (1) include the following disclaimer in most written Federal tax correspondence or (2) undertake significant due diligence that we have not performed (but can perform on request).

ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, or (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.

©2014 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. Limited, non-exclusive right to republished granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc. All other rights reserved.


Added IRS Guidance For Correcting Employment Tax Overpayments Released

December 10, 2009

By Cynthia Marcotte Stamer

The Internal Revenue Service has released an advance copy of new guidance illustrating how employers should apply the processes for correcting employment tax overpayments under Internal Revenue Code sections 6205, 6402, 6413,and 6414 by applying final regulations that the IRS published on August 11, 2008 in Treasury Decision 9405 (TD 9405).  The new guidance set forth in Revenue Ruling 2009-39 is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on December 28, 2009.

TD 9405 amends the process for making interest-free adjustments of employment taxes under sections 6205 and 6413, and claiming refunds of employment taxes under sections 6402 and 6414.  TD 9405 was initiated in connection with the Service’s development of new “X” forms (e.g., Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund) as part of the Form 94X Project initiated by the Office of Taxpayer Burden Reduction and now led by SBSE Employment Tax Policy.  Revenue Ruling 2009-39 applies the final regulations under TD 9405 to 10 different situations to show how the new processes operate.

If your organization needs assistance with monitoring, assessing, managing or defending these or other labor and employment, compensation or benefit practices, please contact the author of this article, Curran Tomko Tarski LLP Labor & Employment Practice Group Chair Cynthia Marcotte Stamer or another Curran Tomko Tarski LLP attorney of your choice.  Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and Chair of the American Bar Association RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group and a nationally recognized author and speaker, Ms. Stamer is experienced with advising and assisting employers with these and other labor and employment, employee benefit, compensation, risk management and internal controls matters. Ms. Stamer is experienced with assisting employers and others about compliance with federal and state equal employment opportunity, compensation, health and other employee benefit, workplace safety, and other labor and employment laws, as well as advising and defending employers and others against tax, employment discrimination and other labor and employment, and other related audits, investigations and litigation, charges, audits, claims and investigations by the IRS, Department of Labor and other federal and state regulators. She has counseled and represented employers on these and other workforce matters for more than 22 years. Ms. Stamer also speaks and writes extensively on these and other related matters. For additional information about Ms. Stamer and her experience or to access other publications by Ms. Stamer see here or contact Ms. Stamer directly.   For additional information about the experience and services of Ms. Stamer and other members of the Curran Tomko Tarksi LLP team, see here.

Other Information & Resources

We hope that this information is useful to you. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here or e-mailing this information here or registering to participate in the distribution of our Solutions Law Press HR & Benefits Update distributions here.  Examples of other recent updates you may have missed include:

For important information concerning this communication click here.   If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject here.

 

©2009 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. All rights reserved.


IRS Updates Procedures Qualifying Small Employers Can Use To Qualify To Report Employment Taxes Annually Rather Than Quarterly

October 27, 2009

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today published updated procedures governing when certain employers may elect to report social security, Medicare and withheld federal income taxes (employment taxes) annually by filing IRS Form 944, rather than reporting those amounts quarterly for tax years beginning after December 31, 2009. 

Beginning in the 2010 tax year, Revenue Procedure 2009-51 will allow qualifying employers to opt out of filing Form 944 social security, Medicare and withheld federal income taxes (“employment taxes”) for any reason if they follow the procedures set forth in Revenue Procedure 2009-51 by the applicable deadline specified in the Revenue Procedure.  The procedures set forth in Revenue Procedure 2009-51 generally are available only to employers are those with an estimated annual employment tax liability of $1,000 or less for the entire calendar year, other than employers required to make a return on Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return For Agricultural Employees, or on Schedule H (Form 1040), Household Employment Taxes.

Revenue Procedure 2009-51 outlines the procedures that qualified employers can apply to report employment taxes annually on the Form 944.  Employers wishing to take advantage of this option must request to file the Form 944 by contacting the IRS as specified in Revenue Procedure 2009-51 and have received the written approval of their request from the IRS before using the Form 944 by the applicable deadline.  Alternatively employers who previously received notification of their qualification to file Form 944 must continue to file Form 944 unless the IRS notifies the employer that the employer no longer qualifies to file Form 944 or the employer opts out consistent with the procedures set forth in Revenue Procedure 2009-51.

Employers electing to report employment taxes annually rather than quarterly should ensure that they continue to timely deposit employment taxes as required by the Internal Revenue Code.  Generally, the same deposit rules apply to employers regardless of which form they file to report their employment tax liability; however, the de minimis deposit amount may be different. Employers who file Forms 941 and 944 still must deposit their employment tax liability in accordance with the rules in Treas. Reg. §§ 31.6302-1 and 31.6302-1T or, absent reasonable cause, the employers may be subject to the penalty for failure to deposit under section 6656.

Qualifying employers wishing to make elections under these rules must act in a timely fashion.  An employer wishing to request to opt in or out of filing Form 944 for the current tax year via telephone generally must call the IRS at the designated number on or before April 1st of the current tax year (e.g., April 1, 2010 for returns for tax year 2010); written requests generally must be postmarked on or before March 15th of the current tax year (e.g., March 15, 2010 for returns for tax year 2010).  Special deadlines apply for businesses that recently received an employer identification number or had an employer identification number but were not previously required to file Forms 941 or Form 944.  Consult your tax advisor if you have questions about these deadlines. 

If you have questions about or need assistance evaluating, commenting on or responding to these or other employment, compensation, employee benefit, workplace health and safety, corporate ethics and compliance practices, concerns or claims, please contact the author of this article, Curran Tomko Tarski LLP Labor & Employment Practice Group Chair Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and Chair of the American Bar Association RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group, Ms. Stamer is experienced with assisting employers and others about compliance with federal and state employment, compensation and employee benefit, workplace safety, and other labor and employment, as well as advising and defending employers and others against tax, employment discrimination and other labor and employment, and other related audits, investigations and litigation, charges, audits, claims and investigations by the IRS, Department of Labor and other federal and state regulators. Ms. Stamer has advised and represented employers on these and other labor and employment, compensation, employee benefit and other personnel and staffing matters for more than 20 years. Ms. Stamer also speaks and writes extensively on these and other related matters. For additional information about Ms. Stamer and her experience or to access other publications by Ms. Stamer see here or contact Ms. Stamer directly.   For additional information about the experience and services of Ms. Stamer and other members of the Curran Tomko Tarksi LLP team, see here.

Other Information & Resources

We hope that this information is useful to you. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here or e-mailing this information here or registering to participate in the distribution of our Solutions Law Press HR & Benefits Update distributions here