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Social Security’s safe with us, Mnuchin says

  August 12, 2020 | By Doug Sword, Roll Call

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that the Trump administration will “create a level of certainty” to encourage businesses to participate in President Donald Trump’s payroll tax holiday, and that after November’s election a victorious Trump would push legislation “to fully top up” Social Security’s finances.

Trump on Saturday ordered Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, to stop collecting the 6.2 percent workers’ share of the payroll tax that funds Social Security — limited to those earning less than about $104,000 annually — between Sept. 1 and the end of the year. Treasury has yet to issue guidance on how this will be accomplished, leaving businesses uncertain about their potential liabilities in withholding and repaying the deferred taxes.

Trump’s directive expresses a vague hope that the deferred taxes, which the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates will amount to $100 billion, will somehow not have to be repaid. And it leaves unanswered how soon taxpayers would have to pay back what would amount to a loan if Congress doesn’t forgive the deferred taxes.

“We can’t force people to participate, but I think many of small businesses will do this and pass on the benefits,” Mnuchin told Fox Business.

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