For the latest information about developments related to Form 944-X and its instructions, such as legislation enacted after they were published, go to www.irs.gov/form944x.
Employee consents to support a claim for refund. Notice 2015-15 provides guidance to employers on the requirements for employee consents used by an employer to support a claim for refund of overcollected social security tax and Medicare tax. The notice and proposed revenue procedure clarifies the basic requirements for a request for a consent and for the employee consent itself, and permits a consent to be requested, furnished, and retained in an electronic format as an alternative to a paper format. The notice also requests comments and contains guidance concerning what constitutes “reasonable efforts” if a consent is not secured to permit the employer to claim a refund of the employer share of overcollected social security tax and Medicare tax. For more information, see Notice 2015-15, 2015-9 I.R.B. 687, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2015-9_IRB/ar07.html.
Claiming the COBRA premium assistance credit. The COBRA premium assistance credit was available to an employer for premiums paid on behalf of employees who were involuntarily terminated from employment between September 1, 2008, and May 31, 2010. The COBRA premium assistance credit is not available for individuals who were involuntarily terminated after May 31, 2010. Therefore, only in rare circumstances, such as instances where COBRA eligibility was delayed as a result of employer provided health insurance coverage following termination, will the credit be available. If you are eligible to claim the credit, use Form 944-X, lines 18a and 18b. Form 944-X should be filed after filing your Form 944. Filing a Form 944-X before filing a Form 944 for the year may result in errors or delays in processing your Form 944-X. For more information, visit IRS.gov and enter “COBRA” in the search box.
If you are entitled to claim the COBRA premium assistance credit, but are not otherwise required to file Form 944, file a Form 944 with -0- entered on line 11 before filing your Form 944-X to claim the credit.
Period of limitations to make certain corrections expired. Generally, you may correct overreported taxes on a previously filed Form 944 if you file Form 944-X within 3 years of the date Form 944 was filed or 2 years from the date you paid the tax reported on Form 944, whichever is later. For purposes of the period of limitations, Form 944 is considered filed on April 15 of the succeeding year if filed before that date. The period of limitations to correct the qualified employer's tax exemption on wages/tips paid to qualified employees (for quarters ending after March 31, 2010, and before January 1, 2011); the qualified employer's tax credit on wages/tips paid to qualified employees March 19–31, 2010; and advance earned income credit (EIC) payments expired on April 15, 2014, for most employers. The lines formerly used for these corrections were removed from Form 944-X. If the period of limitations for any of these corrections is still open, you will need to file the February 2014 revision of Form 944-X. The February 2014 revision of Form 944-X is available on IRS.gov.
Retroactive increase in excludible transit benefits. The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 increased the monthly transit benefit exclusion from $130 per participating employee to $250 per participating employee for the period of January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014. Employers were provided instructions on how to correct the social security and Medicare taxes on the excess transit benefits in Notice 2015-2, 2015-4 I.R.B. 334, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2015-4_IRB/ar06.html.
Correcting Additional Medicare Tax withholding. Beginning in 2013, wages and tips subject to Additional Medicare Tax withholding are reported on Form 944, line 4d. Any errors discovered on a previously filed Form 944 are corrected on Form 944-X, line 11. For more information about Additional Medicare Tax withholding, see the Instructions for Form 944 and go to IRS.gov and enter “Additional Medicare Tax” in the search box. See the instructions for line 11, later, for more information on the types of errors that can be corrected and how the correction is reported on Form 944-X.
Social security tax rate for 2011 and 2012. In 2011 and 2012, the employee social security tax rate was 4.2% and the employer social security tax rate was 6.2% (10.4% total). Be sure to use the correct rate when reporting corrections on lines 8 and 9.
Correcting the COBRA premium assistance credit. For tax periods ending before January 1, 2014, employers who made COBRA premium assistance payments for assistance eligible individuals were allowed a credit on their Form 944. Any errors discovered on a previously filed Form 944 for this credit are corrected on Form 944-X, lines 18a and 18b. Effective for tax periods beginning after December 31, 2013, Form 944-X, is used to both report the total COBRA premium assistance credit an employer is entitled to claim and correct any previously reported credit. For more information, see the instructions for lines 18a and 18b, later.
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