COVID-19 Update for Local Businesses (9-3-20)

September 3, 2020

New State Guidelines Issued –
New York State has released guidance for reopening agri-tourism businesses under the low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment guidelines. For more information, visit: Low-Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment Guidelines

Information On Payroll Tax Deferral
There have been many questions on the Executive Order on Payroll Tax Deferral, issued on August 29, 2020.  The order uses existing statutory authority to defer, but not cancel, the withholding of employees’ Social Security payroll tax for the period September 1 to December 31, 2020. This would provide temporary relief to employees that are generally paid up to $4,000 biweekly or $104,000 annually.  While the order instructs the Treasury Department to consider options for canceling these deferred withholdings, no statue, rule or order doing so has been issued.

Key points from the Executive Order and IRS guidance for consideration by employers:

  • This deferral is optional, at the election of the employer. An employer can choose to not participate in this program, and no further action would be required by the employer.
  • This employee payroll tax liability is only deferred. The deferred amount must be withheld from employees and remitted to the IRS during the period January 1, 2021 to April 30, 2021, during which period employees may see their withholding increased to double their “normal” level.  Moreover, interest and penalties will begin to accrue on May 1, 2021, with respect to any unpaid amount of deferred tax.
  • The deferral only applies to biweekly pay periods during which an employee earns $4,000 or less, so payroll processors must be aware of pay period pay levels to correctly apply the deferral.  No deferral is available for pay periods during which an employee earns over that threshold – a compliance provision that will add complexity for some employers.

For more information, visit:

If we can be of assistance, please email us.

See earlier COVID-19 updates at

Other News Stories You Might Be Interested In