26 U.S.C. § 3402 - Income tax collected at source

Cite as:26 U.S.C. § 3402
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)
 
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(a) Requirement of withholding

(1) In general

Except as otherwise provided in this section, every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages a tax determined in accordance with tables or computational procedures prescribed by the Secretary. Any tables or procedures prescribed under this paragraph shall-

(A) apply with respect to the amount of wages paid during such periods as the Secretary may prescribe, and

(B) be in such form, and provide for such amounts to be deducted and withheld, as the Secretary determines to be most appropriate to carry out the purposes of this chapter and to reflect the provisions of chapter 1 applicable to such periods.

(2) Amount of wages

For purposes of applying tables or procedures prescribed under paragraph (1), the term "the amount of wages" means the amount by which the wages exceed the taxpayer's withholding allowance, prorated to the payroll period.

(b) Percentage method of withholding

(1) If wages are paid with respect to a period which is not a payroll period, the withholding allowance allowable with respect to each payment of such wages shall be the allowance allowed for a miscellaneous payroll period containing a number of days (including Sundays and holidays) equal to the number of days in the period with respect to which such wages are paid.

(2) In any case in which wages are paid by an employer without regard to any payroll period or other period, the withholding allowance allowable with respect to each payment of such wages shall be the allowance allowed for a miscellaneous payroll period containing a number of days equal to the number of days (including Sundays and holidays) which have elapsed since the date of the last payment of such wages by such employer during the calendar year, or the date of commencement of employment with such employer during such year, or January 1 of such year, whichever is the later.

(3) In any case in which the period, or the time described in paragraph (2), in respect of any wages is less than one week, the Secretary, under regulations prescribed by him, may authorize an employer to compute the tax to be deducted and withheld as if the aggregate of the wages paid to the employee during the calendar week were paid for a weekly payroll period.

(4) In determining the amount to be deducted and withheld under this subsection, the wages may, at the election of the employer, be computed to the nearest dollar.

(c) Wage bracket withholding

(1) At the election of the employer with respect to any employee, the employer shall deduct and withhold upon the wages paid to such employee a tax (in lieu of the tax required to be deducted and withheld under subsection (a)) determined in accordance with tables prescribed by the Secretary in accordance with paragraph (6).

(2) If wages are paid with respect to a period which is not a payroll period, the amount to be deducted and withheld shall be that applicable in the case of a miscellaneous payroll period containing a number of days (including Sundays and holidays) equal to the number of days in the period with respect to which such wages are paid.

(3) In any case in which wages are paid by an employer without regard to any payroll period or other period, the amount to be deducted and withheld shall be that applicable in the case of a miscellaneous payroll period containing a number of days equal to the number of days (including Sundays and holidays) which have elapsed since the date of the last payment of such wages by such employer during the calendar year, or the date of commencement of employment with such employer during such year, or January 1 of such year, whichever is the later.

(4) In any case in which the period, or the time described in paragraph (3), in respect of any wages is less than one week, the Secretary, under regulations prescribed by him, may authorize an employer to determine the amount to be deducted and withheld under the tables applicable in the case of a weekly payroll period, in which case the aggregate of the wages paid to the employee during the calendar week shall be considered the weekly wages.

(5) If the wages exceed the highest wage bracket, in determining the amount to be deducted and withheld under this subsection, the wages may, at the election of the employer, be computed to the nearest dollar.

(6) In the case of wages paid after December 31, 1969, the amount deducted and withheld under paragraph (1) shall be determined in accordance with tables prescribed by the Secretary. In the tables so prescribed, the amounts set forth as amounts of wages and amounts of income tax to be deducted and withheld shall be computed on the basis of the table for an annual payroll period prescribed pursuant to subsection (a).

(d) Tax paid by recipient

If the employer, in violation of the provisions of this chapter, fails to deduct and withhold the tax under this chapter, and thereafter the tax against which such tax may be credited is paid, the tax so required to be deducted and withheld shall not be collected from the employer; but this subsection shall in no case relieve the employer from liability for any penalties or additions to the tax otherwise applicable in respect of such failure to deduct and withhold.

(e) Included and excluded wages

If the remuneration paid by an employer to an employee for services performed during one-half or more of any payroll period of not more than 31 consecutive days constitutes wages, all the remuneration paid by such employer to such employee for such period shall be deemed to be wages; but if the remuneration paid by an employer to an employee for services performed during more than one-half of any such payroll period does not constitute wages, then none of the remuneration paid by such employer to such employee for such period shall be deemed to be wages.

(f) Withholding allowance

(1) In general

Under rules determined by the Secretary, an employee receiving wages shall on any day be entitled to a withholding allowance determined based on-

(A) whether the employee is an individual for whom a deduction is allowable with respect to another taxpayer under section 151;

(B) if the employee is married, whether the employee's spouse is entitled to an allowance, or would be so entitled if such spouse were an employee receiving wages, under subparagraph (A) or (D), but only if such spouse does not have in effect a withholding allowance certificate claiming such allowance;

(C) the number of individuals with respect to whom, on the basis of facts existing at the beginning of such day, there may reasonably be expected to be allowable a credit under section 24(a) for the taxable year under subtitle A in respect of which amounts deducted and withheld under this chapter in the calendar year in which such day falls are allowed as a credit;

(D) any additional amounts to which the employee elects to take into account under subsection (m), but only if the employee's spouse does not have in effect a withholding allowance certificate making such an election;

(E) the standard deduction allowable to such employee (one-half of such standard deduction in the case of an employee who is married (as determined under section 7703) and whose spouse is an employee receiving wages subject to withholding); and

(F) whether the employee has withholding allowance certificates in effect with respect to more than 1 employer.

(2) Allowance certificates

(A) On commencement of employment

On or before the date of the commencement of employment with an employer, the employee shall furnish the employer with a signed withholding allowance certificate relating to the withholding allowance claimed by the employee, which shall in no event exceed the amount to which the employee is entitled.

(B) Change of status

If, on any day during the calendar year, an employee's withholding allowance is in excess of the withholding allowance to which the employee would be entitled had the employee submitted a true and accurate withholding allowance certificate to the employer on that day, the employee shall within 10 days thereafter furnish the employer with a new withholding allowance certificate. If, on any day during the calendar year, an employee's withholding allowance is greater than the withholding allowance claimed, the employee may furnish the employer with a new withholding allowance certificate relating to the withholding allowance to which the employee is so entitled, which shall in no event exceed the amount to which the employee is entitled on such day.

(C) Change of status which affects next calendar year

If on any day during the calendar year the withholding allowance to which the employee will be, or may reasonably be expected to be, entitled at the beginning of the employee's next taxable year under subtitle A is different from the allowance to which the employee is entitled on such day, the employee shall, in such cases and at such times as the Secretary shall by regulations prescribe, furnish the employer with a withholding allowance certificate relating to the withholding allowance which the employee claims with respect to such next taxable year, which shall in no event exceed the withholding allowance to which the employee will be, or may reasonably be expected to be, so entitled.

(3) When certificate takes effect

(A) First certificate furnished

A withholding allowance certificate furnished the employer in cases in which no previous such certificate is in effect shall take effect as of the beginning of the first payroll period ending, or the first payment of wages made without regard to a payroll period, on or after the date on which such certificate is so furnished.

(B) Furnished to take place of existing certificate

(i) In general

Except as provided in clauses (ii) and (iii), a withholding allowance certificate furnished to the employer in cases in which a previous such certificate is in effect shall take effect as of the beginning of the 1st payroll period ending (or the 1st payment of wages made without regard to a payroll period) on or after the 30th day after the day on which such certificate is so furnished.

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