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What is With Holding Tax?


Tax Withholding Rules as per IRS in USA

The US Tax Laws have undergone a massive change in the 2020 tax payment session. By knowing the withheld tax amount, one can easily know the estimated tax and applied exemptions. Here is a brief guide on Tax Withholding Rules as per IRS in the USA:

What is Withholding Tax?

An amount that the employers are entitled to hold back from the payrolls of their employees to pay the government directly is Withholding Tax. This amount is withheld based on the total tax that the employee has to pay by the year-end. This tax is imposed on a large part of the US population, which gets its income from business or trade.

Where is Withholding Tax applied?

This section discusses withholding tax on:

  • Salary
  • Pensions & Annuities
  • Sick Pay
  • Unemployment
  • Compensation
  • Taxable Fringe
  • Benefits
  • Tips
  • Gambling Winnings
  • Some Federal Payments
Are there any payments in which tax will not be withheld?

Few payments, where the taxpayers should review the tax withholding are:

  • Railroad unemployment compensation benefits
  • Unemployment assistance under the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 Program
  • Trade readjustment allowances under the Trade Act of 1974
  • Disability benefits paid as a substitute for unemployment compensation
  • Unemployment assistance under the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, and
  • Benefits paid by a state or the District of Columbia from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund


However, after the latest amendments, US Taxation Policy has considered unemployment compensation taxable.

What are the Withheld Tax rates?

For allowances, calculating the Withholding tax requires presuming the annual income of the individual. Moreover, the withheld tax amount will be finalized by the employer itself. The withholding tables and tax rates are different at local, state, and federal levels. Few state and federal withheld amounts have graduated rates; this means that withholding percentages for higher incomes will be higher than others.

Due dates for deposits and returns?

Based on the notice announced in April 2020, the payment deadlines for Withholding Taxes have been changed. According to this, the tax payment will start from 1st January 2021 and end by 30th April 2021. The employers are strictly directed to clear all withheld dues during this time. If they fail to do so, additions, interests, and penalties will be applied to the taxes from 1st May 2021. Therefore, the employers will have to make the necessary arrangements to pay the deferred taxes.

How to claim Withheld Tax?

After the latest changes, in order to claim the withholding tax amount employees will have to fill and submit a fresh Form W-4 to the employer. This should be done by 1st December 2020. However, they will have to submit a new form, if any event occurs in December, within 10 days of occurrence.

Is it applicable to payments outside the USA too?

All businesses and individuals must levy a withheld federal income tax on the payments made to the foreign entities. These can include foreign corporations, partnerships, and nonresident aliens (or a person who has not cleared the Green Card test).