This week’s question comes from Lynn, a business owner. I recently hired my spouse to work in my sole proprietorship. My spouse qualifies using Form W-11, but I’m not sure if my spouse is considered my relative. Can my spouse’s wages qualify for payroll tax forgiveness? Answer: Under the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, employers may avoid paying social security tax on qualified employees and receive an income tax credit for retaining those employees. Employers are required to obtain a signed affidavit from qualified employees. Certain relatives of the taxpayer, as defined in §152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (IRC) are not eligible for the payroll tax forgiveness or the credit. They are:
- A child or a descendant of a child.
- A brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister.
- The father or mother, or an ancestor of either.
- A stepfather or stepmother.
- A son or daughter of a brother or sister of the taxpayer.
- A brother or sister of the father or mother of the taxpayer.
- A son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.
- An individual (other than an individual who at any time during the taxable year was the spouse, determined without regard to [IRC] §7703, of the taxpayer) who, for the taxable year of the taxpayer, has the same principal place of abode as the taxpayer and is a member of the taxpayer’s household.
Since a spouse is not on the list of ineligible employees, wages paid to spouses of sole proprietors who otherwise qualify are eligible for payroll tax forgiveness and potentially the retention credit. Contact Vision Payroll if you have any further questions on HIRE Act.