CAPPS Notes - June 16, 2004
I. Welcome (Cliff Lee) - Cliff covered the logistics for evacuation in the event of an emergency and relocation in the event of a "Shelter-in-Place" crisis.
II. PATS6B > GESD Tracking (Marty Curole) - Jo discussed this item. If you had access for the PATS6B report, you must request access for the new report. If you want to find out the status of your projects with NFC, you must go thru your Security Officer to request security access at the required access level. Q: USDA has heard Security is backed up about 6 weeks, is this correct? A: Penny will have Jim respond to this. Regardless, access to this report needs to be put into the queue. If you don't want prior users to have access, fine; but you must request access for this new report. POST MEETING NOTE: Jim Julian will participate in the July CAPPS meeting and discuss the issue about security backlog, requests, etc.
III. .EARN > Reporting Center Statement of Earnings & Leave (John Faciane) - scheduled for PP 25 to enter ELS and can search via an organization list. Q: Is the old EARN going to stay up/come down? A: Tony Priola indicated they'll take down EARN when CV 08 comes up - cut off at that point, in PP 25. EARN CoolJen product will disappear and will be replaced with the module on the Reporting Center. NFC South will send out emails to those with access to the client server version to alert them to this change. We're moving to the web area and away from the client server area and we cannot continue to support both versions. Q: Security - detail reports or separate category? A: it's a separate report or can access be granted to just that report. Jo feels only to 'that report' and it's sensitive data and there are garnishment issues. CAPPS agrees to a separate report with specific access to. Q: BPD - do we need to submit a request for security because it's in RC? A: YES. Details will be forthcoming - bulletin or email. Suggestion from DoraLee: Bulletin would hit a larger audience. C: Printing out of the Reporting Center is an issue. CA: NFC South is examining getting away from the .pdf modules and exploring style sheets; this should resolve the printing issues. Q: FDIC - if we have to get separate security for this, shouldn't the system overlap (Client vs Web)? A: Penny says they'll have to look into the impact and they understand the need for both versions and the decision/information will be in the bulletin and will cover any security issues. Q: Smithsonian - can you look into having those people who have access to EARN auto have access to the RC and this report. A: Penny indicated she isn't sure how this type of request can be handled but she'll check w/Jim on this and see what the audit request is.
IV. Voluntary (Local) Taxes - 2 DOJ Requests (Brad Womack) - Brad indicated this is far more than just the 2 DOJ requests. We've had about 15 requests (over the past 6 months) to withhold tax in small tax areas (entities). First, let me recap what we currently do on tax entities. All of those we now support have over 500 Federal employees affected and they have an agreement with Treasury and it puts them on the same path, ie., makes them accept certain data in certain formats and we're currently withholding for about 160 tax entities around the country. In the past we have known that there are areas with <500 people and what we offer to them is a discretionary allotment to send their funds to whatever tax entity they choose. The problem is that in using the discretionary allotment, the deduction does NOT show up on the W-2 and causes confusion as to filing their tax returns. Apparently it's not a huge problem because we have not had it reported to us. However, in the past 6 months we've received these requests from agencies and from some of the tax entities as well. This could include only one employee or up to 499 employees. The 2 DOJ requests - both from Kentucky, one for 166 employees and the other for 24 employees. NFC can turn this info on for them; however, voluntary tax withholdings does not mean that the employee can elect to withhold this tax. What it means is that the Payroll Office withhold's for everyone, not just those included in the request from the agency. Some of these requests include employees working for DOJ but other employees who may work at USDA, Treasury, etc. Question from Brad: Who makes the decision for the USDA or Treasury employees? Is it appropriate for NFC to withhold for all the employees in those areas? Brad is not sure that the USDA agencies want us to withhold for their employees. This is a question we'll have for all small tax entities. If one agency requests this tax be withheld, do we automatically force this on the other employees in that area? We need the CAPPS group to decide this for NFC. Would it be appropriate for them to tax all employees in those areas? Who will pay for setting this up? For example - is it appropriate for DOJ to pay the full expense for setting up this tax for the employees in KY or should DOJ/USDA share this expense? Or should ALL of the clients pay for these small tax entities across the country? There are significant costs ($3-$5K) to set up a tax entity. This includes contacting the tax entity, establishing an account with them and setting up a reconciliation process. When we are withholding taxes we must submit monthly or quarterly reports to them as well as at the end of the year submit a Year End Report and W2 report as well as notifying ALLTAX of all taxes being deducted for each employee. Once we receive the info on how to set up the account, we then need to update TMGT and get w/programmers to have them set up the calculation for this area or have ALLTAX calculate the tax entity, then we have to change the W2 programs and edit and produce the W2 and send the reports out. A lot of things are needed to get the ball rolling, then every year (forever) we'll have to reconcile each of these tax entities, just because they are a small group of affected employees doesn't mean the reconciliation process is less - the number is not as big but the process is the same. So back to my earlier questions: 1) Who Pays? 2) Who decides as to whether we'll set up tax withholding for an area where multiple agencies are involved? Q: Treasury - do these local tax entities have an agreement w/Treasury? A: No. FC: Treasury declines for <500 so they don't really care about those areas w/<500 employees. Brad indicated that whether we have an employee in a tax area or not, we set it up because someone (or an agency) can move into the area but realize this is for the areas with 500+ employees. Q: NFC North - we understand that another payroll provider does establish this, has this been discussed in the e-Gov initiative and will this be a standard for all? A: Brad - DOI does this for many small entities, 300+ and they are not happy about handling this, however, they do it. Penny indicated it is part of the standardization effort and she'll check to see where this falls. She feels this is more of whether the community is willing to have these tax entities set up and who will pay for it? Q: Treasury - how does DOI handle the cost of set up, etc.? A: Unknown. Q: NFC North - can the initiator begin the process and pay for it, then update later as add'tl agencies come on? A: Penny indicated there is a billing algorithm and asked CAPPS to give them some ideas and she'll present this to billing dept. C: Cliff indicated that USDA is not willing to pay for this for only two employees. A: Penny agreed but the community needs to look at this as a global impact as we move forward into these tax entities. C: DOJ says other counties have inquired about this process; however, DOJ has not sent down another request until a decision is made on their current requests. C: George indicated there could be some union issues. R: DOJ indicated if this comes up with them, they put the burden on the tax entity to go to TREASURY to get a formal answer. C: BPD agreed w/this approach, ie., if no local tax agreement, they don't do it. C: Cliff is concerned that we should find out if e-Payroll group will standardize or what their desires will be and that's the position we should be taking. Q: What are the 4 payroll providers going to do? A: Brad will get w/Rick on this and the other providers to see what their thoughts are. Q: Treasury - can we at the same time find out how DOI bills for this service? A: Yes, per Brad. Q: USDA - if each time a new tax entity comes to be, do we have to pay each time? A: Yes. Brad indicated that these 2 DOJ requests are only the beginning, that other agencies could make a request as well. Q: NFC North - does this go in line w/ALLTAX? A: Yes it's in their programming, but it has to be activated. Brad indicated that small tax entities could have unique withholding requirements which would require front-end programming to allow our system to accept our data. That's why Treasury enters into the agreements to keep them all in line as opposed to allowing unique requirements. Standard criteria is to use the discretionary allotment process. Q: Treasury - should someone be checking w/the Dept (of Treasury) about their concerns? A: Penny indicated it's a return on investment, how much $$ and resources do you want to expend? If OPM is discussing this as an eGOv initiative, she is surprised that this would come up. Q: HUD asked if those agencies who have duty stations in the affected areas determine if they want to share the costs? And to share the costs irregardless of the number of people in those areas? A: The problem is that if only a few of the clients want this and pay for this but others come down later, who then pays? If you don't have employees in those duty stations, you should not have to pay. USDA indicated that EEX takes half of their development costs and splits it up among all the users. George agreed to this, even though EEX may now be looking at this differently as agencies are leaving EEX. Jo indicated there may be many options on the billing and everyone wants to know what eGOv decision is. Q: Is there a legal obligation? A: No. Jo mentioned that some agencies want this, while other agencies want something else, it may be political. Cliff reminded CAPPS that the discretionary allotment can be used currently. Brad says the CFR says with the small tax entities, you have to set up a process to withhold and the discretionary allotment currently covers this. Q: BPD - there are hundreds of these small entities and where does it stop and when do we reach the point where resources are expended...if we turn this on, where will it stop? A: Brad feels it doesn't make sense to set up a tax entity for a small group of people. The discretionary allotment process has been working well for 20 years; it's only in the past 6 months these add'tl requests have surfaced. Brad is not sure what prompted this. DOJ says some people are confused about voluntary allotment for local tax, thought this would be easy to do. Q: DOJ asked is the voluntary local tax where the employee is working or where they reside? A: That's one of the variables - do you tax residents or workers only? This raises the costs of setting these up. Penny indicated we needed to wrap this discussion up; we can discuss again at the July meeting. In the meantime, Brad will get the answers for the notes before the July meeting; otherwise, we'll discuss at the July meeting. C: Is there a threshold # of people that would have withholdings? CAPPS might want to set up this number.
V. Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIPs) (Cliff Lee) - discussed at last meeting and an email followed- Cliff provided a short recap. Section 1313 of DHS Act basically amended Chapter 35 of Title 5, U. S. Code adding a Subchapter covering Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments. This new authority applies to Executive agencies and requires the prior approval of the Office of Personnel Management. The new authority eliminated the agency 15% contribution to the retirement fund required under previous VSIP authorities. Unfortunately, OPM did not establish a new authority code to differentiate between VSIP's under Chapter 35 and VSIP's under other authorities. NFC's current process automatically deducts a 15% Agency contribution to the retirement fund unless an agency submitted a specific request to be excluded. We asked that replies be rec'd by 6/15 and we've heard from many of the agencies: DOC, FCC, FMC, MSPB, USDA, DOJ, HUD, SBA. If you're a congressional agency, you are not covered by Chapter 35 and will need legislative authority for future VSIP's. Other agencies who do not meet the definition of Executive agency (e.g., FDIC,) will also need their own legislative authority. We (NFC North) will alert NFC South about these agencies being excluded from this requirement of paying the 15%. FYI - FCA has a separate authority. Some of the small agencies also have their own authorities. Hopefully at the July mtg, we can give you an idea of when this will be implemented. Q: Treasury - NFC only deducts the 15% quarterly, if you have to have it stopped, can this be changed before they make the next deduction? A: Cliff indicated he will report out in the notes as soon as this change will be made. FQ: Does this mean we have to pay for it ourselves? A: Cliff indicated agencies should go thru SPPS. FC: NO, in our case, the payments have been made. FA: That's different. Again, the only thing you can do is access SPPS - we'll send requirements down on this. But we have no idea when the programming will go to production. FC: another part of NFC has to get the funds back and give it back to the agency and we hope that this requirement is implemented ASAP. There is some incentive for NFC to do this but we have to fit it in w/the other requirements on the table. Q: Who do we call for this request? A: Contact Mose (as indicated in the MAY notes) to coordinate the effort. And you should have a list of the employees who are affected.
UPDATE: Cliff sent an email to CAPPS on June 17th, listing the Executive agencies that would be excluded from the 15% Agency contribution to the retirement fund. If an agency is not included on the listing and would like to be added, they have been given until June 23, 2004 to notify PPSPS accordingly. Requirements for the program modification were submitted to GESD on June 24th. It has been assigned Project Number 40529.
VI. Status of 2004 Retroactive
Pay Adjustment Processing (D'Juan Brady) - have completed the generation
of all automatic retroactive actions. Removed controls where NFC was deleting
the HCUP packages and agencies are handling this now. NFC generated report
PER04RT which reflects the following actions still in suspense - CV 05:
80, CV 06: 109, CV 07: 44 - from the original population. Agencies
must clear up these remaining suspense actions. C:
Smithsonian - they've been trying to determine who has rec'd the retro
payment and they have compared PP 10 employees and their salaries with
what they should be earning according to the current pay schedules and
they have identified those that are being paid incorrectly but those paid
correctly they cannot tell if the retro payment has been processed accurately.
Q: Is there a FOCUS report or some sort
of report that agencies can use to determine if the retro was processed
and paid out correctly, from PP 01 thru PP 07 for GS and for the wage
grade employees as well? A: Jo indicated
that last year someone (from NFC South) wrote a report, maybe it was run
against PAYTA, does anyone have an idea if this report is available? GAO
has been trying to get this report, however, they've been told no one
understands how to regenerate this for this year. GAO can send us the
report name but D'Juan says it sounds like something Steve wrote last
year and it wasn't available this year. Q:
George inquired as to whether the report could be updated to include information
from this year (ie., PP's and YR)? Steve Cunningham will need to be consulted
on this. D'Juan says this year's retro is different than last year's and
the report may be different. Can you check into this? A:
Yes, NFC South will check into this. Post Meeting
Note: PPSPS spoke to Penny who will discuss with Steve the possibility
of running this report and have it available at the July CAPPS meeting
(if not before). C: Treasury
- you may want to run the report for beyond PP 07 since some employees
did not receive the retro timely and it was proc'd in PP 09. This could
be due to the timing of when the HCUP package applied to the database;
if in first cycle, would apply PP 07 but if delayed then it gets proc'd
the next pay period...you need to look in PP 08, 09.
VIII. Benefits Updates (Jody Nyers) -
IX. Employee Express Update (George Morris) - EEX monthly meeting yesterday (6/15). Checkbook and PlanSmart asked for time to present to reps, but only one showed up. Both want sponsorship off EEX web page; final decision to be made later. Your EEX Reps should be able to provide details. Fall Release information was announced. TSP catch-up contributions (the year field will be on the screen so employees can elect this year vs. next year-December/January issue last year) will be part of release. FEGLI Option & Cost/Billing structure discussed (USDA is pulling out and others are discussing it). EEX is reviewing cost structure and if another major client is lost, they may have to do a major overhaul, but in the meantime, a simplified cost assessment will be put in place. EEX is considering proposing their system for possible electronic OPF application.
X. Child Support Garnishments (George Morris/Steve Loeffelholz) -
XI. User & Work Group Updates