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House employees won't have payroll taxes deferred

House employees won't have payroll taxes deferred
© Bonnie Cash

The House is not implementing President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE's payroll-tax deferral for its employees, joining many private-sector employers in declining to participate.

"The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, with the concurrence of the Committee on House Administration, has determined that implementing the deferral would not be in the best interests of the House or our employees," House Chief Administrative Officer Philip Kiko said Friday in an email to House employees. "As a result, we will not implement the payroll tax deferral."

Trump signed a memo in August that directed the Treasury Department to allow employers to defer employee-side Social Security taxes, in an effort to provide relief to workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. Treasury and the IRS subsequently issued guidance under which employers can choose to defer Social Security taxes through the end of the year for workers making less than $4,000 biweekly. Employers would then need to collect the deferred taxes by increasing the amount withheld from workers' paychecks in the first several months of next year.

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Military members and civilian executive branch employees will have their payroll taxes deferred, with Trump's Office of Management and Budget saying this is being done to provide quick relief to employees. But business groups have said they expect few of their members to participate because there are administrative challenges in implementing the deferral and because they don't want to be in a position where their workers will see less in take-home pay next year.

Trump said he plans to forgive the deferred taxes if reelected, but such a move would require congressional action and there's no guarantee that Congress would pass legislation on forgiveness.

Kiko said his office decided not to implement the deferral for House employees "after reviewing the guidance and considering the unique structure of the House."

The Senate Disbursing Office said in an email to Senate staff on Friday that it is working to determine its course of action on the deferral. The office said it will not adjust Senate employees' paychecks without prior notice.

The Senate is controlled by Republicans, while the House has a Democratic majority.