ERISA and Global Benefits

IRS Provides Special Administrative Procedures For Post-Windsor Refund Claims

October 03, 2013

The Global Compensation, Benefits & ERISA Practice Group

The Internal Revenue Service continues to shape the post-Windsor landscape, issuing its latest guidance last week in Notice 2013-61 with special procedures for tax refund claims.  Earlier IRS guidance this fall confirmed that employers would be able to make refund claims for overpayments of employment taxes with respect to employer-provided health benefits and certain fringe benefits for same-sex spouses.  

The Notice sets forth optional special administrative procedures for pursuing these claims, summarized as follows:

  • For 2013, employers have two options: (1) use the Q4 2013 Form 941, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return, to correct overpayments for the first three quarters of 2013; or (2) use one Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund, for Q4 of 2013 to correct overpayments of FICA taxes for all of 2013.

  • For tax years prior to 2013, employers can use one Form 941-X for all four quarters, if the statute of limitations has not expired (or, for adjustments, the limitations period will not expire within 90 days of the adjusted return filing).  The usual requirements for prior-year corrections apply (e.g. filing of Forms W-2c).

See the Notice for detailed guidance on how to file these claims.   The regular procedures (which remain available) generally require a separate Form 941-X for each taxable period in which a refund claim or adjustment is made, so the special procedures significantly reduce employer burden.   Given the relative ease of pursuing refund claims, employers who have not already done so should strongly consider filing them.

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