Employer Obligations: Paying Taxes on Employees’ Tips
Do you have employees who receive tips? Did you know, as an employer, you have certain obligations when it comes to the income on your employees’ tips? Do you – and your employees – know that they must report the total amount of taxable tips to you by the 10th of the month following the month after receiving the tips? If your employees don’t know this, you need to educate them.
Generally, your employee’s tips are not taxable unless they make more than $20 per calendar month. If they do make over $20 in tips per month, you’re responsible for withholding income and FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes on the employee’s reported tips (all tips, including the initial $20) – even though you don’t have control over the amount of tips your employee receives.
Also, you’re required to pay the employer’s portion of FICA and FUTA (federal unemployment) taxes on these tips. Additionally, you must withhold the 0.9% FICA Medicare surtax, too, if the employee’s tips (in combination with the wages you pay them) exceed the $200,000 withholding threshold.
However, your obligation to pay your employee’s portion of the FICA and income taxes due is limited to the amount of non-tip wages you pay the employee. If your employee’s paycheck isn’t big enough to cover the withholding taxes, you should withhold taxes in this order:
- The employee’s portion of the FICA tax due on the non-tip wage payment.
- The income taxes you’re obligated to withhold on the non-tip wage payment.
- The employee’s portion of the FICA tax due on the tip income.
- The income taxes you’re obligated to withhold on the tip income.
However, if this process still leaves you with insufficient funds to collect your employee’s FICA tax, your obligation to withhold the uncollected portion ends. As for collecting outstanding income taxes, these payroll taxes should be withheld from the employee’s next paycheck.
It’s important to note, if your employee doesn’t report their tips of $20 or more per calendar quarter to you, you can only be held liable for your portion of FICA. This liability only arises when the IRS makes a written notice, demanding payment.
Managing restaurant payroll and the payroll taxes can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a payroll services provider like The Payroll Department handling your payroll and taxes for you. We can take the hassle out of figuring out what taxes you owe on the income from your employees’ tips and make these payments for you. Contact us for more information on how we can help you.
-Ariane of The Payroll Department Blog Team