TN 4 (05-92)

RM 05004.005 Handling Correspondence With Earnings Questions


Follow the instructions below when replying to requests for itemized earnings information.

NOTE: Refer to RM 01400.000ff where these instructions are ambiguous.

 1 Include a statement of total earnings, except where an
SSA-7014C1 is being sent.
 2 Furnish a quarterly itemization of wages only  when required by procedure.
 3 If the employer's name and address must be included and the same employer appears more than once in the itemization then:
•  give the employer's current name and address, or 
•  give the name and address used by the employer when
   he/she last reported the wage earner. Show this
   address with the first wage item reported.
NOTE:  Do not repeat the address for succeeding wage items reported by that employer.
 4 Give yearly totals of amounts reported by each employer unless   it appears that this will not be sufficient to enable the person to check the accuracy of his/her earnings record. In this case follow Step 2 above.
 5 Include reinstated items in yearly totals. However,  in cases where the individual has furnished reinstating information and has specified the quarters, show a quarterly itemization.
 6 Show “Self-Employment Income” as the source of earnings and show the yearly total(s) when itemizing self-employment income.


Follow the instructions in the table below.

If you are replying to.. Then...

the wage earner or authorized third party (except the Internal Revenue Service or employers)

  • combine more than one amount reported by the same employer for the same period.

EXCEPTION: For multiple items for a period being adversely adjusted, do not combine the amounts for the same period regardless of whether they were reported on multiple returns or twice on one return.

  • subtract credit items from debit items for the same period and employer.

  • if the itemization shows only the periods and amounts, with no employers named, combine all amounts for each period, regardless of the employer.


  • if more than one debit amount is reported by an employer for the same period and the same employer, itemize each amount separately.

  • subtract credit items from debit items from the same period and employer.

the IRS or the IRS Commissioner

list the items separately when more than one amount is reported by an employer for the same employee and the same period. Do not  combine.



Follow the instructions in the table below.

If you are giving
information about...
Then show...

employer-reported tips

  • wages and tips separately for yearly itemizations

  • tips directly below the earnings reported by the employer for that quarter if giving a quarterly itemization.

self-reported tips

  • the yearly total of self-reported tips as a separate item if showing a yearly total or a quarterly itemization of a years earnings

  • the yearly total of the self-reported tips if showing a quarterly itemization of a year in which earnings were reported for an individual for fewer then four quarters.

NOTE: Do not show self-reported tips if earnings have been reported for an individual on a quarterly basis during a year, but  he /she has requested an itemization for fewer than four quarters. Do not  include self-reported tips in an itemization which will be sent to an employer.


If necessary, include an explanation of our lag period when giving earnings information. Give the lag paragraph which is most appropriate for the type of earnings itemized or alleged.


The Social Security Act provides a limitation upon the amount of earnings for a taxable year that may be used for Social Security purposes. This amount has changed, from time to time, as amendments were made to the Act. The amount applicable to each of several different periods, beginning with January 1, 1937, is set forth in Sections 209 and 211 of the Act.


The statutory period of limitations is 3 years, 3 months, and 15 days after the year in which the earnings were paid


The following instructions apply to all types of correspondence regarding earnings.

 1 Enclose the publication that contains sufficient information to cover the particular situation regarding maximum earnings. Refer the individual to the pertinent pages.
 2 Explain in your reply the provision of the law relating to maximum earnings in cases where the person alleges excess earnings or claims that excess taxes were paid.
 3 If you need to further explain the provisions of the law, limit the explanation of the maximum to the following:
  • the particular years for which earnings in excess of the maximum appear in the statement.

  • the period for which the person has not informed us that he/she has applied for or received a refund of excess taxes.

  • the years for which the statutory period of limitations has not expired, unless the individual has specifically requested information concerning maximum earnings.

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RM 05004.005 - Handling Correspondence With Earnings Questions - 08/19/1994
Batch run: 02/06/2015