Attention: The medical resident FICA refund consent process has now closed. New consent forms will no longer be accepted.
FICA Refund for Medical Residents for Tax Periods Ending from January 1, 1995 to March 31, 2005
Welcome Former GW Residents!
The GW Medical Residents FICA Recovery website is designed for medical residents who trained at GW during the periods January 1, 1995 through March 31, 2005. This site will allow you to take the necessary steps to provide your consent to allow GW to file a claim for a potential FICA tax refund on your behalf. Thank you for your interest and please read on.
Updated May 15, 2013 - GW is planning to process an additional batch of payments in June 2013 for 1998-2000 (except the 4th quarter of each year, which we are still working with the IRS to secure payment). A letter will be mailed to you a couple weeks prior to payment that will detail the FICA tax refund amount being paid for each year, as well as interest. It will also include the 4th quarter FICA tax refund amount for 1998-2000, as applicable to each resident, though that will not be paid at this time.
The George Washington University Tax Department
History of the FICA Refund
The IRS has made an administrative decision that medical residents may be eligible for a refund for the FICA (social security and Medicare) taxes that were withheld for those who were residents during the period between January 1, 1995 through March 31, 2005, and it has established a process by which refunds may be requested by institutions on behalf of former residents. The George Washington University ("GW") is in the process of obtaining consents from individuals who served as medical residents here during the relevant time period and received wages earned for services as a resident from GW, in order to "perfect" claims for refund of FICA taxes withheld from resident wages.
As you may know, individual employees and their employers pay FICA taxes to the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"). Individual employees pay FICA taxes on their wages. The employer matches the employees' FICA contribution and pays both amounts to the IRS. Several court decisions have found that, under certain circumstances, residents (i.e. interns, residents, and fellows) may qualify for an exception in the Internal Revenue Code from paying FICA tax. Based on the court decisions, the IRS has conceded that medical residents may qualify for an exception. As a result of this announcement and an analysis of the residency programs at GW, we plan to perfect refund claims with the IRS for our share of FICA taxes paid to the IRS during the period from January 1, 1995 through March 31, 2005 (except calendar year 2002).
Please see the IRS Medical Resident FICA Refund Claims FAQ for additional information regarding refund claims
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What do former GW Medical Residents need to do now?
A1: You can consent to the claim for a refund for all years you were a resident at, and received wages as a resident from, GW during the January 1, 1995 through March 31, 2005 period (except calendar year 2002), if you have not already sought a refund or credit of these amounts directly with the IRS on your own behalf. You may have already filed a FICA tax refund claim for some or all of the years of your residency. For the tax periods where you have already sought directly with the IRS on your own behalf a claim for refund or credit of FICA taxes withheld from the payments you received during your residency with GW, you cannot participate in GW's refund claim or settlement.
If you want GW to file a refund claim on your behalf, you must provide GW with your written consent. An on-line Consent Form is accessible below. You must complete the Consent Form, sign the form identifying the specific time period(s) for when you were a resident at, and received wages as a resident from, GW from January 1, 1995 through March 31, 2005, and send the completed and signed form to GW so that it is received by GW by no later than September 22, 2010. Correctly addressed mailings post-marked by September 22, 2010 will be considered timely received.
You may track the status of your refund claim on the website.
Please follow the link below to start the consent process. Once you have entered the required information a populated Consent Form will be generated. You will need to print the Consent Form, enter your Social Security Number, and return the form (via mail, fax or email) to GW.
You will receive also a confirmation number when your Consent Form is ready to print. Remember to keep your confirmation number. Once your Consent Form is received and processed by GW you will be able to track the status of your refund claim on the website through the confirmation number. Remember you must sign and return the completed Consent Form.
Q2: Where and how do I send the signed Consent Form?
A2: You have several options to choose from.
Please remember that GW must receive the completed and signed Consent Form by no later than September 22, 2010.
Q3: Why do I need to send a signed Consent Form and provide my Social Security Number?
A3: The IRS requires that you provide written consent, including your Social Security Number (SSN), in order for GW to be able to file a refund on your behalf. For security purposes the SSN is not asked for on the website. GW did have your SSN while you served as a medical resident, but, in order to ensure proper payment and to provide accurate information to the IRS, the University must ask you for your SSN again.
Q4: GW previously asked me to sign a Consent Form back in 1999 and I signed one. Must I complete, sign and return the most recent version of the Consent Form? Wouldn't my previous consent be valid?
A4: Yes, your previous consent would still be valid, and if you do not timely return a new Consent Form, GW will process your claim for the tax years covered under your prior consent. However you should still complete, sign, and return the new Consent Form. The previous consent form may not have covered all years for which you may be eligible for a refund. You also can update your most recent address and add banking information for direct deposit. Further, you have the option of revoking your prior consent, and the most recent version of the consent form allows you to revoke your consent.
Q5: I've sent in my Consent Form (either by mail, fax, or email). How do I know it was received by GW or check the status of my refund claim?
A5: After you create your account and print your Consent Form you will receive a confirmation number (this is different from your GWID number listed at the top of the letter you received). Enter your confirmation number on the status check link below. Once GW receives your Consent Form we will update the status.
Q6: What are GW's next steps once consent forms are received?
A6: GW will complete and submit its filing with the IRS in one claim. Therefore all claims received by GW by September 22, 2010 will be processed in a single filing at the same time. It is uncertain how quickly the IRS will process and issue refunds.
If the IRS approves the FICA refund claims, it will send an aggregate refund to GW, and then GW will issue you the amount attributable to the FICA taxes that were withheld from your wages as a resident for the applicable tax period(s) plus interest. The refund of the FICA and interest (if the IRS awards interest, which we believe it will do) will be distributed in two separate disbursements.
This website and FAQs will be periodically updated with any additional information necessary as the claim filing process progresses.
Q7: Why is calendar year 2002 not available for FICA refund?
A7: Refund claims for 2002 are not available as GW did not file a statutory claim covering this calendar year.
Q8: Do you recommend the direct deposit option to receive the FICA refund and interest?
A8: YES! We highly recommend that you authorize GW to direct deposit into your bank account. It is convenient, reliable, saves time, and safe. You do not have to worry about your check getting lost/delayed in the mail or some other mishap before you can get it to your bank.
Q9: Will the FICA refund and interest be considered taxable income to me?
A9: The refund of the FICA taxes will not result in additional taxes to you. If you are entitled to interest on the refund, you may receive a Form 1099-INT reflecting the amount of interest you receive. These interest amounts may be includible in gross income in the year in which they are received. Please consult your tax advisor for additional information.
Q10: Do I have to submit a refund claim through GW or may I do so directly with the IRS on my own behalf?
A10: That is up to you. However, the IRS has imposed time limits for filing refund claims, and in most cases, the deadline for claiming a refund for FICA paid in 2006 or earlier has already expired. You are encouraged to consult with a tax advisor to determine whether filing a claim on your own behalf is right for you.
Q11: I was a medical resident at GW after April 1, 2005. Am I eligible for a refund?
A11: The IRS has taken the position through regulation that FICA taxes must be withheld as of April 1, 2005 and are not eligible for refund. There have been several court challenges to those regulations, and the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear one such challenge case in its next Term. We are closely monitoring that case.
Q12: Who may I contact if I have additional questions?
A12: You may email the GW Tax Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (703) 726-8371. Include your name, telephone number, GWID reference number, and years of residency in your message.