IRS Releases Pay Withholding Change Guidance

December 17, 2010 ( – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released instructions to help employers implement the 2011 cut in payroll taxes, along with new income-tax withholding tables that employers will use during 2011.

An IRS news release said millions of workers will see their take-home pay rise during 2011 because the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 provides a payroll tax cut for employees, reducing their Social Security tax withholding rate from 6.2% to 4.2% of wages paid.

The IRS said it recognizes that the late enactment of these changes makes it difficult for many employers to quickly update their withholding systems. “For that reason, the agency asks employers to adjust their payroll systems as soon as possible, but not later than January 31, 2011,” the IRS said.

Notice 1036 contains the percentage method income tax withholding tables, the lower Social Security withholding rate, and related information that most employers need to implement these changes. Notice 1036 is at

For any Social Security tax overwithheld during January, employers should make an offsetting adjustment in workers’ pay as soon as possible, but not later than March 31, 2011, IRS officials said.