Kent Joins Most Counties: Won’t Do Social Security “Holiday”

The Kent County Commissioners opted to decline the authorized deferral of social security taxes, citing concerns that the deferral would require double-taxing in early 2021, and the employer would assume costs for employees who leave their jobs.

The Kent County Commissioners, during their regular September 8 meeting, discussed the potential deferral of county employees’ federal Social Security taxes, as authorized by recent federal action. They concluded the county would not implement the authorized tax deferral, but may revisit the matter if clearer guidance becomes available, or Congressional action clarifies the longer term effects.

Kent County Human Resources Director Martin Hale, along with County Administrator Shelley Heller, framed the discussion of the potential short term tax relief, including the recent IRS ruling that the abatement is only temporary, and would have to be made up with extra collections following the late-2020 relief. “I would think of it as a loan, that has to be paid back,” said Mr. Hale.

For more context, see the recent Conduit Street post: IRS Issues Guidance Implementing President’s Payroll Tax Holiday

Mr. Hale also indicated that he had contacted peers across many Maryland counties, and all those responding had either decided to opt out of the deferral, or were recommending to their governing bodies that their counties do so.

The Commissioners, following an extended discussion on the troubling and unclear options for employers, voted to leave the Social Security tax collections in place.

Video of the Commissioners’ meetings are available on the Kent County website, and are archived soon after each meeting.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties