After weeks of debate, Congress has finally resolved the question of whether or not to extend the payroll tax holiday that was enacted in 2011. From now until at least February 29, 2012, nearly 160 million workers will benefit from the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 temporarily, which extends the two percentage point payroll tax cut for employees, continuing the reduction of their Social Security tax withholding rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of wages paid through Feb. 29, 2012. This reduced Social Security withholding will have no effect on employees' future Social Security benefits.
Employers should implement the new payroll tax rate as soon as possible in 2012 but not later than Jan. 31, 2012. For any Social Security tax over-withheld during January, employers should make an offsetting adjustment in workers' pay as soon as possible but not later than March 31, 2012.
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