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IRS Releases 2021 Publications 15 (Circular E) and 15-B

BY: Jyme Mariani, Esq. | 02/12/21

On February 6, the IRS released the 2021 Circular E, Employer’s Tax Guide (Publication 15) and the Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits (Publication 15-B). The Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide (Publication 15-A) has not been released yet.

Circular E summarizes much of the COVID-19-related tax credits and other tax relief on page 2.

COVID-19 Items to Note

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers with participants in health and dependent care flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) can amend their plans to allow:

  • Participants in health and dependent care FSAs to carry over any unused benefits or contributions remaining in the account from the plan year ending in 2020 to 2021 and also from the plan year ending in 2021 to 2022.
  • A 12-month grace period for unused benefits or contributions in health and dependent care FSAs for plan years ending in 2020 or 2021.
  • Post-termination reimbursements from health FSAs from unused benefits or contributions for 2020 or 2021 through the end of the plan year in which an employee ceases participation in the plan.
  • A midyear change in the election amounts up to the maximum allowable amount for the year for health and dependent care FSAs for plan years ending in 2021.

Reminder on Withholding Tables

The percentage method and wage bracket method withholding tables, as well as the amount to add to a nonresident alien employee’s wages for figuring income tax withholding, are now in Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods.

To learn more about federal and state laws, regulations, and information to keep your company's payroll operations in compliance, check out Payroll Source Plus!


Jyme Mariani, Esq., is Managing Editor of Payroll Currently and Payroll Information Resources for the APA.