Topic 608 - Excess Social Security and RRTA Tax Withheld

Most employers must withhold social security tax from your wages. Certain government employers (some federal, state, and local governments) do not have to withhold social security tax.

If you work for a railroad employer, your employer must withhold Tier 1 railroad retirement (RRTA) tax and Tier 2 RRTA tax. Tier 1 RRTA provides equivalent social security and Medicare benefits, and, Tier 2 RRTA provides a private pension benefit.

Two or more employers. If you had more than one employer and your total wages and compensation were over the wage base limit for the year, too much social security tax or social security equivalent Tier 1 RRTA tax may have been withheld. If you had more than one railroad employer, and your total compensation was over the maximum amount of wages subject to Tier 2 RRTA, too much Tier 2 RRTA tax may have been withheld. The wage base limits for the year can be found in Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. If you had too much social security tax or Tier 1 RRTA withheld, you may be able to claim the excess as a credit against your income tax. To claim a refund of excess Tier 2 RRTA, use Form 843 (PDF). Attach copies of your Forms W-2 (PDF) for the year to Form 843.

Joint returns. If you are filing a joint return, you and your spouse must figure any excess social security tax or Tier 1 RRTA tax separately.

Employer's error. If any one employer withheld too much social security or RRTA tax, you cannot claim the excess as a credit against your income tax. Your employer should make an adjustment of the excess for you. If the employer does not make an adjustment, you can use Form 843 (PDF), Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement, to claim a refund.

For details, including how to compute the amount of excess credit, refer to Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. Also, see the Form 843 Instructions (PDF).

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: December 12, 2013