​Remote Work Creates Important Tax Considerations

​Remote Work Creates Important Tax Considerations

02/9/2021 Tags: Announcements, In the News

As more people continue to work remotely, there are some tax implications that employers and their employees should consider.

For Employers

When an employee works in more than one state, an employer may have to withhold and remit income taxes to each relevant state. Because of COVID-19, some states issued guidance about whether remote employees create a tax obligation for an employer that doesn’t operate in that state.

A company’s responsibilities are complicated by the fact that states have different thresholds at which an employer must withhold state income taxes.

For example, certain states base their income tax withholding requirements on the number of days a nonresident employee works in the state. Other states incorporate wage-based threshold measures. Additionally, states’ rules and thresholds for requiring nonresidents to file a state income tax return may be different than the withholding rules.

Also, employers need to understand which state’s unemployment tax applies. The unemployment tax is paid to only one state, even if the employee works in multiple states.

It’s possible to continue paying unemployment tax in the employee’s original work state if the remote working arrangement is temporary, if the employee expects to return soon, and if the employee is still controlled from the original work state.

But if an employee’s services move for the foreseeable future, an employer may need to pay unemployment tax in the state where the employee is working.

For Employees

Employers and employees need to track all working locations to comply with all state tax obligations. When taxpayers live in one state but work in another, they may have tax liability in both states. Certain tax credits can minimize taxation of the same income in two different states. Occasionally, neighboring states have reciprocity agreements.

Home Office Deduction

Certain taxpayers — like independent contractors and self-employed individuals — who use their homes for business purposes may be eligible to claim a home office deduction. This deduction is available to homeowners and renters. It allows qualifying taxpayers to deduct certain home expenses on their tax returns.

However, employees who maintain a home office can’t deduct those expenses for the tax years 2018 through 2025; the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspended those types of deductions.

Business Expenses

There are still some work-related expenses taxpayers can deduct. These include the business use of cell phones and internet services. If a business has established an accountable plan as detailed in Publication 15, (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide, it can claim a deduction for employee reimbursements of legitimate business expenses. Those reimbursements aren’t included in the employee’s taxable income.

If you have questions about how remote work impacts you or your business’s tax obligations, let us know.

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