HR Alert

Updated IRS Publication 15 Now Available

Publication Explains Employer Tax Responsibilities

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released an updated Publication 15 (Circular E), ''Employer's Tax Guide'' for use in 2017.

Background
Publication 15 explains employers' federal tax responsibilities. It explains the requirements for withholding, depositing, reporting, paying, and correcting employment taxes. It explains the forms employers must give to their employees, those that employees must give to the employer, and those that the employer must send to the IRS and Social Security Administration. The publication also has tax tables to figure the taxes to withhold from each employee.

Note: References to "income tax" in the publication apply only to federal income tax. Contact your state or local tax department to determine whether their rules are different.

Updated Publication 15
Highlights of the updated publication include the following:

  • Social Security and Medicare Tax for 2017. The Social Security tax rate is 6.2% each for the employee and employer, unchanged from 2016. The Social Security wage base limit is 7,200. The Medicare tax rate is 1.45% each for the employee and employer, unchanged from 2016. There is no wage base limit for the Medicare tax.
  • 2017 Withholding Tables. The publication includes the 2017 Percentage Method Tables and Wage Bracket Tables for income tax withholding.
  • Withholding Allowance. The 2017 amount for one withholding allowance on an annual basis is ,050.
  • Leave-Based Donation Programs to Aid Certain Disaster Victims. Employees may donate their vacation, sick, or personal leave in exchange for employer cash payments made before January 1, 2018, to qualified tax-exempt organizations providing relief for the victims of the severe storms and flooding in Louisiana that began on August 11, 2016. Also, employees may donate their vacation, sick, or personal leave in exchange for employer cash payments made before January 1, 2018, to qualified tax-exempt organizations providing relief for the victims of Hurricane Matthew.
    Note: The donated leave won't be included in the income or wages of the employee. The employer may deduct the cash payments as business expenses or charitable contributions.

Click here to read the text of IRS Publication 15. An HTML version is also available.


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