Notice 2015-15: Employee consents for purposes of employment tax refunds

Employee consents for employment tax refunds

The IRS today released an advance version of Notice 2015-15 that includes text of a proposed revenue procedure as guidance for employers on employee consents used to support a claim for refund for overpaid taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA).

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According to Notice 2015-15 [PDF 38 KB], the proposed revenue procedure is intended to clarify the contents of a valid employee consent.

A valid employee consent will:

  • Provide the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of the employee
  • Identify the basis of the claim for refund
  • Be signed by the employee under penalties of perjury

The proposed revenue procedure also provides guidance as to what constitutes “reasonable efforts” to secure an employee consent when a consent is not obtained.

The proposed revenue procedure permits, but does not require, the employee consent to be requested, furnished, and retained in an electronic format, as an alternative to a paper format.

The proposed revenue procedure is not intended to require employers to solicit new employee consents for those requested prior to the date of publication of the final revenue procedure in the Internal Revenue Bulletin. However, an employer may rely on this proposed revenue procedure for employee consents requested before the date that the final revenue procedure is published.

Request for comments

The IRS notice includes a request for comments on the to-be-issued revenue procedure. In particular, the IRS requests comments regarding:

  • The specific requirements for a request for a consent and for the employee consent itself
  • The requirements for electronic employee consents
  • Steps that will constitute “reasonable efforts” to obtain an employee consent
  • Ways to formulate requirements that advance the goal of making the process more efficient while protecting the interests of employees

Comments are due by the end of April 2015 (the notice says “31 April 2015”).

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