If you own a business and have employees, you have an inherent feel for the joy of filing employee related tax documents. Alas, the IRS is cutting back on the burden.
IRS Helps Employers By Reducing Filings Required For Employees
Employees are critical to any business other than the smallest ones. That being said, the tax requirements for dealing with employees can be a pain in the derriere. The problems are many, but one particular situation puts employers in a very bad spot.
Withholdings on employee paychecks is a subject that can cause tension in a business. Inevitably, some employees will want to reduce the withholdings from their check beyond the norm. The employer, in turn, is faced with the prospect of the IRS focusing unwanted attention on the business because of such actions. In a worst case scenario, the IRS will send a lock letter setting the amount of the withholdings. This puts the employer in the bad position of telling the employee more money must be withheld – a situation sure to cause tension. Making matters worse, the employer was supposed to be able to determine when the employee was abusing the withholding process.
The IRS has issued regulations that at least relieve the employer of the burden of determining if an employee is stepping over the line on the reduction of withholdings. Whereas the employer was previously required to send a W-4 Withhold Allowance Certificate to the IRS if an employee was claiming a total exemption from withholdings or more than 10 allowances, it no longer does. As of April 14, 2006, the IRS will simply make its own determination using salary filings for the business in general.
This regulation modification by the IRS should be applauded as a significant boost to employers. No longer does an employer have to act as a detective in determining whether an employee is not paying in enough tax on paychecks. Instead, the employer can now sit back and wait for the IRS to act. If the IRS feels an employee is out of line, the agency will send a lock-in letter to the employer. The employer than has no choice but to comply. Employees are much more likely to understand this and focus their anger on the IRS instead of the employer.
The new withholding regulations represent a positive step by the IRS. They might just keep employers out of the tax problems of employees.