Monday, March 22, 2010

HIRE Act of 2010 - The Tax Man Giveth

On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act better known as the HIRE Act of 2010. (Do you wonder how many people it took, or how long it took them, to come up with the name for this legislation that would create the acronym HIRE?) This act relieves employers from paying the social security portion or OASDI portion of the employment taxes on wages paid during 2010 to qualified workers.

CAUTION: There is no relief from the employer portion of Medicare taxes or any of the taxes that are withheld from the employee.

The OASDI portion of the employment tax is the 6.2% of the FICA taxes assessed on wages up to $106,800 during 2010. The maximum OASDI tax an employer must pay on any worker is $6,621.60. In essence, an employer will not have to pay this tax on wages paid between March 19, 2010 and December 31, 2010 to a qualified worker.

A qualified worker is one that is:

  • Employed after February 3, 2010;
  • Provides a signed affidavit that he has not been employed for more than 40 hours during the past 60 days;
  • Isn't employed to replace another employee unless the other employee separated from employment either voluntarily or for cause (i.e., you can't fire the entire staff and then hire new ones simply to benefit from this new law); and
  • Isn't related to the employer.

The tax relief that is attributable to the first quarter of 2010 will not be refunded, but will be applied to pay other payroll taxes that are due for the second quarter. After that, the employer will simply not have to remit the taxes. (This gives the IRS enough time to draft the new Form 941. There simply isn't time before Form 941 is due for the first quarter of 2010.)

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