What We Didn’t Know About The Senate Payroll Tax Extension Bill

Fox News posted a story yesterday about exactly what was in the payroll tax extension bill passed by the Senate. It seems that the bill that the Senate passed was unworkable.

The article reports:

The Senate bill did not cleanly extend the current Social Security employee share of 4.2 percent for two months. Instead, it created a two-tiered payroll tax with a rate of 4.2 percent for the first $18,350 of income in those 60 days, with a 6.2 percent rate above that.

This establishment of multiple rates of payroll tax presents serious logistical challenges for payroll processors. In fact, the National Payroll Reporting Consortium strongly opposed to the Senate bill based on this feature, writing:

“The difficulty is in establishing a new Social Security Taxable Wage limit of $18,350 for the two-month extension period. More than ten percent of the workforce is likely to meet that limit, and would be subject to the higher 6.2% tax rate for earnings over that amount. However, many payroll systems are not likely to be able to make such a substantial programming change before January or even February. The systems affected tend to be highly complex, normally requiring at least ninety days for a change of this magnitude for software testing alone; not to mention analysis, design, coding and implementation.”

To me, that explains why the Senate did not simply pass the House version of the payroll tax extension–they were using the bill as an instrument of class warfare.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It explains the actual process that resulted in a workable bill being passed. This bill was a victory for the taxpayers and for the companies having to deal with payrolls. It was a small victory, but it was a victory.

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