Oct 2, 2006

Federal Register Notice On Attorneys Providing SSNs

As expected, Social Security published a notice in the Federal Register today requiring attorneys who represent Social Security claimants to submit their Social Security numbers as a condition of getting direct payment of fees for representing Social Security claimants. To do so, an attorney must undertake two actions. First, the attorney must complete a form SSA-1699 on a one time basis. Second, the attorney must complete a form SSA-1695 for each individual case. The form SSA-1695 appears to not be ready yet. This will result in attorneys receiving SSA-1099 forms showing their payments from Social Security. Eventually, this will require direct deposit of attorney fees, although that is apparently not being required for now.

There is a problem with the notice that will affect all attorneys who practice in a corporate form or who work for another attorney. This is an e-mail I sent today to , whose e-mail address is shown on the Federal Register notice, as the person at SSA to contact for further information:
I have just read the notice published this morning in the Federal Register and I'm confused, or perhaps I should say it appears to me that Social Security is confused.
My law firm is a professional corporation. It has its own taxpayer identification number. It files its own corporate tax return. We have 6 attorneys all representing Social Security claimants. All of the fee checks we get go into the firm's bank account and are reflected on the firm's tax return, not our individual returns.
If each of us provides our individual SSN, we will each get an SSA-1099, but we will not be reporting that income on our individual tax returns. If we do it the way this notice says we are supposed to, each of the attorneys in the firm will have a problem with the IRS every year, since we will have a good deal of income shown on our SSA-1099s under our individual SSNs that is not reflected on our individual tax returns.
I don't think that SSA is requiring those who contract with the agency to provide goods and services to provide their individual SSNs. You recognize that there are such things as corporations. I think you need to recognize that fact when you deal with attorneys. In fact the act that requires SSA to issue these 1099s, talks of TINs, as your notice indicates, but the notice seem to be contradicting the statute to require SSNs.
SSA needs to publish a new notice making it clear that we can provide TINs.

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