Archive for July, 2011

Avoid Becoming A Victim of Tax Scams

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Tax ID Identity ScamsIR-2011-73, July 11, 2011

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers to guard against being misled by unscrupulous individuals trying to persuade them to file false claims for tax credits or rebates.

The IRS has noted an increase in tax-return-related scams, frequently involving unsuspecting taxpayers who normally do not have a filing requirement in the first place. These taxpayers are led to believe they should file a return with the IRS for tax credits, refunds or rebates for which they are not really entitled. Many of these recent scams have been targeted in the South and Midwest.

Most paid tax return preparers provide honest and professional service, but there are some who engage in fraud and other illegal activities. Unscrupulous promoters deceive people into paying for advice on how to file false claims. Some promoters may charge unreasonable amounts for preparing legitimate returns that could have been prepared for free by the IRS or IRS sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance partners. In other situations, identity theft is involved.

Taxpayers should be wary of any of the following:

  • Fictitious claims for refunds or rebates based on excess or withheld Social Security benefits.
  • Claims that Treasury Form 1080 can be used to transfer funds from the Social Security Administration to the IRS enabling a payout from the IRS.
  • Unfamiliar for-profit tax services teaming up with local churches.
  • Home-made flyers and brochures implying credits or refunds are available without proof of eligibility.
  • Offers of free money with no documentation required.
  • Promises of refunds for “Low Income – No Documents Tax Returns.”
  • Claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or Recovery Rebate Credit.
  • Advice on claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit based on exaggerated reports of self-employment income.

In some cases non-existent Social Security refunds or rebates have been the bait used by the con artists. In other situations, taxpayers deserve the tax credits they are promised but the preparer uses fictitious or inflated information on the return which results in a fraudulent return.

Flyers and advertisements for free money from the IRS, suggesting that the taxpayer can file with little or no documentation, have been appearing in community churches around the country. Promoters are targeting church congregations, exploiting their good intentions and credibility. These schemes also often spread by word of mouth among unsuspecting and well-intentioned people telling their friends and relatives.

Promoters of these scams often prey upon low income individuals and the elderly. They build false hopes and charge people good money for bad advice. In the end, the victims discover their claims are rejected or the refund barely exceeds what they paid the promoter. Meanwhile, their money and the promoters are long gone.

Unsuspecting individuals are most likely to get caught up in scams and the IRS is warning all taxpayers, and those that help others prepare returns, to remain vigilant. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Anyone with questions about a tax credit or program should visit www.IRS.gov, call the IRS toll-free number at 800-829-1040 or visit a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

For questions about rebates, credit and benefits from other federal agencies contact the relevant agency directly for accurate information.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

Keep Your Mobile Devices Secure

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Mobile Phone SecurityFrom coffee shops to hotels, to planes and cruise ships, we’ve become accustomed to having ready access to the Internet just about anywhere. The problem is, it’s easy to forget how vulnerable that makes us to security threats.

Whether you’re traveling with a laptop, netbook, smartphone, iPad or all of the above, the risks and defenses against them are basically the same. Many of the security concerns that people think about when they think about their personal computers are applicable in the mobile world. As mobile devices become more sophisticated, they lend themselves to the same types of access to email, passwords, and other secure information that PCs have done in the past.

Because today’s devices are so much more powerful and can hold so much more information than ever before, the risks are increasing. Add to that our tendency to carry both personal and business information around with us on the same device, and our mobile devices have never looked so appealing to hackers.

As specific mobile devices become more popular, they become more of a target for hackers. More and more often we’re seeing either Android- or iPhone-based vulnerabilities being targeted.

The good news is it’s not difficult or even expensive to protect your devices and the information on them.

Tips for keeping your mobile devices secure:

  1. Make sure your software is up-to-date: Almost every release of software patches a number of security vulnerabilities that are out there. Before every trip, or at least every few weeks, it’s a good idea to check the manufacturer’s website (or search Google) to see if a software or firmware update is available. If there’s a new one, download it.
  2. Use strong passwords: Be sure to use some combination of letters, numbers and/or special characters of 8 characters or more. Avoid using dictionary words. Instead, use acronyms for things like favorite songs, restaurants or other items known only to you. And change the password frequently, at least once every six months.
  3. Don’t mess with the security settings: Most of the default browser settings in Android, iPhone, and Blackberry phones are fairly secure out of the box.
  4. Avoid unencrypted public wireless networks: Such Wi-Fi networks require no authentication or password to log into, so anyone can access them.  Encrypted networks, on the other hand, are those that require an ID or password for access, you’ll find such networks at many hotels and coffee shops that offer Wi-Fi services. These networks have two different types of security, WEP (wired equivalent privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi protected access), the second is most secure.  Even encrypted networks have risks, it’s possible for hackers to gain access to encrypted networks at a hotel or café, for instance, so be cautious about the sorts of things you do on such networks.  Besides avoiding connecting to unencrypted networks, turn off Wi-Fi when you’re not using it. This will prevent you from automatically connecting to networks (and it will extend your device’s battery life).
  5. Paying to access a Wi-Fi network doesn’t mean it’s secure: Access fees do not equal security. Just because you pay a fee to access a Wi-Fi network doesn’t mean that the network is secure.
  6. URLs beginning with ‘https:’ are safer: Whenever you’re accessing a site where you’ll be sharing personal or confidential information, your bank’s site for example, you want to make sure that you’re doing so securely. The ‘s’ in https means that you’re connected to the site via the Secure Socket Layer (SSL). This means that all data transmitted to that particular website over the Internet is encrypted.  In addition, most email service providers have both a clear text option (that sends unencrypted data) and an encryption (SSL) option. Make sure you have the SSL option enabled.
  7. Use VPN: If you have access to a VPN (virtual private network), use it. A VPN provides secure access to an organization’s network and allows you to get online behind a secure layer that protects your information.
  8. Turn off cookies and autofill: If your mobile device automatically enters passwords and login information into websites you visit frequently, turn that feature off. It’s convenient, but it can also be a privacy threat.
  9. Watch your apps!: Apps are great, and many are free, so it can be tempting to download without the proper research. You should be selective about the apps you download, particularly in the Android market, because the Android app market is a little bit more open, without the strict developer guidelines found in Apple’s App Store.  Do some due diligence before downloading apps. Make sure that you trust the developer and have taken the time to review some of the published comments.
  10. If you still get hacked… If you do everything right and still have your information stolen, what should you do? The damage can often be repaired simply by changing your password (to one much stronger) and sending a message via the network that was affected, explaining what happened.

What if one of your devices gets stolen?
Be sure that all of your mobile devices have a remote wipe or autowipe feature. For Apple’s iPhone and iPad, there’s Apple’s MobileMe service. GoogleApps offers a solution for Android as well. If your device is lost or you know there’s been a breach, you can quickly and remotely perform a factory reset from any computer connected to the Internet, wiping out all of the device’s data and even locking it indefinitely.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

Are Telecommuters Happier and Healthier?

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Working From HomeIn a recent survey done by Staples Advantage, the business to business division of Staples, Inc., 86 percent of telecommuters said they felt better and were more productive when working from home.  The SHRM article reporting on this survey stated that telecommuters were:

  • Happier and Healthier: stress levels were down 25 percent and happiness was up 28 percent, plus 73 percent said they ate healthier when working from home.
  • More Loyal: on average, respondents were traveling 77 miles round trip to work prior to telecommuting.  By working from home they saved this time and used it to spend extra time on work related tasks.
  • Better Balanced: 80 percent stated they were better balanced with work and life.

The survey also noted opportunities to improve the telecommuting experience such as providing allowances for furniture, equipment and supplies.  Improvement in these areas helps to create a more efficient home office setting that maximizes productivity.

Technology obviously plays a lead role in establishing a solid telecommuting environment for the employee.  In addition to internet connectivity and secure access to company networks telecommuters rely on email, instant messaging, videoconferencing and unified communications technologies to stay connected to their co-workers.  Implementation of a proactive security and data backup strategy are very important to ensure confidentiality and data integrity.  The SHRM article strongly recommends IT and security best practice training along with providing telecommuters with tools that make it easy for them to collaborate and stay connected.

PCS offers internet based timekeeping, payroll and HR solutions that can help keep all employees connected and informed.

  • Timekeeping: PCS offers two choices for timekeeping, both of which have the ability to collect in/out punches or honor-based entries via the internet.  Supervisors can edit the time and approve the hours worked online making it easy to collect and approve payroll each period.
  • Payroll: Most of our payroll processing packages include employee self service (ESS) which allows the employee to view and print various demographic information including check stubs and pay history.
  • HR Solutions: Our HR System provides the complete employee ESS experience including the ability to view, edit and print information in their employee file.  You decide what the employee can view or edit and if you allow editing, whether approval is needed for the change to flow into your HRIS, payroll and timekeeping systems.
  • Paycards: The PCS paycard solution allows you to electronically pay every employee in your company without worrying about their banking status.  The employee can achieve no fee card usage by following simple user instructions to access or transfer their funds.

Utilization of these products and services is making it easier to deal with the new telecommuting employee and allows many companies to achieve paperless payroll and electronic HR files.  In most cases, the implementation and on-going costs are offset within months due to the efficiencies created.

For more on these services, contact us or call us directly at 763.513.5951

Submitted By:

Bob Willbanks
VP of Sales and Marketing
Payroll Control Systems
763.746.1934
bwillbanks@pcspayroll.com

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

Deadline Set for New 401K Disclosure Rules

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

401k DisclosureBy: Juhl Stoesz, Associate Counsel, TSC

On July 15th, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that final deadlines had been set for compliance with the new disclosure rules under ERISA §§408(b)(2) (service provider disclosure) and 404(a)(5) (disclosure to participants). According to the announcement, the effective dates for these two disclosure rules will now be more closely aligned. The service provider disclosure rules are now scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2012 with the disclosures for participants becoming effective either May 31, 2012, or 60 days after the first day of the plan year beginning on or after November 1, 2011 (whichever is later).

The DOL’s New Disclosure Initiatives
As 401(k) plans increasingly become the primary source of retirement income for American workers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (hereinafter referred to as the “DOL”), the agency charged with regulating private retirement plans, has turned its focus towards creating more transparency and consistency around the operation and arrangements of private retirement plans.  The DOL believes that to better-prepare workers for retirement, plan participants, sponsors, and the DOL itself need to receive and evaluate more specific information regarding plan arrangements.  To that end, the DOL has recently launched three distinct disclosure initiatives.  In doing so, the DOL has relied on its authority to implement standards and requirements for plan fiduciaries along with its ability to issue regulations and exemptions under ERISA’s prohibited transaction rules – namely that arrangements and fees must be reasonable.  While TSC is focused on this issue and is committed to helping you comply with the new requirements, it is important that you, as the sponsor of a private retirement plan, be aware of the coming changes.

  1. Service Provider Disclosure – to employers (408(b)(2)): On July 16, 2010, the DOL published an interim final regulation under ERISA §408(b)(2) that requires most service providers for retirement plans to disclose to plan fiduciaries comprehensive information about their arrangements with the plan including information regarding fees and possible conflicts of interest.  This regulation, which is now scheduled to go into effect beginning on April 1, 2012, would require that service providers describe in writing (1) the services that they intend to provide to the plan, (2) whether the service provider intends to assume a fiduciary role with respect to the plan, and (3) the costs and fees associated with the provision of services.  The DOL intends that plan sponsors use this information to evaluate the reasonableness of the arrangement and the fees paid to the service provider.  You should expect to receive these disclosures from service providers by early 2012.  Once you receive these disclosures, you should use them as a tool to evaluate the various service providers for your plan.
  2. Participant Disclosure – from the employer to participants (404(a) participant disclosures): On October 20, 2010, the DOL published in final form a participant fee disclosure regulation under ERISA §404, requiring that employers sponsoring retirement plans provide disclosures containing information regarding plan and investment costs to participants who direct their own investments. This regulation will be effective either May 31, 2012, or 60 days after the first day of the plan year beginning on or after November 1, 2011 (whichever is later).  The regulation requires two types of disclosure to participants (1) plan-related information and (2) investment-related information.

Plan-Related Information
Plan-related information must include general investment information, a description of administrative expenses, and a description of individual expenses.  The general plan information and expense descriptions must be provided to participants before they can initially direct their accounts and annually thereafter.  Information regarding actual fees and expenses paid from the participants’ accounts must be provided quarterly.

Investment-Related Information
Investment-related information must be provided to participants before they can initially direct their accounts and annually thereafter and must be provided in a chart format.  The information contained in this disclosure must include the name and type of each investment alternatives under the plan, its historical performance data, fund benchmark information, and a description of the fees associated with the investment.

In most cases, your investment platform provider will provide you with the information and/or disclosures needed to comply with this requirement.  TSC is also preparing to assist its clients in meeting this new participant disclosure requirement.

Government Reporting Disclosure – from employers to the DOL (Form 5500 Schedule C reporting)
On November 16, 2007, the DOL published a final regulation providing new requirements for reporting service providers and their fees to the DOL by listing them on the Schedule C of the Form 5500.  This information was required to be reported by large plans beginning in 2009.  Importantly, only large plans, generally those with over 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year, must comply with this reporting requirement.  The regulation also requires that service providers who received $5,000 in fees during the year report to large plan sponsors the amount of direct, indirect, and bundled compensation that they received.  The plan sponsor must then list the name of the service provider and its fees on Schedule C to the Form 5500.  TSC has been assisting its clients meet this disclosure requirement since it was first required in 2009 and will continue to provide this assistance.

This article is only intended to give you a brief overview of three new and complex requirements and does not attempt to explain the details of each requirement.  It is our hope that this article will familiarize you with the changing regulatory landscape so that the impending changes will not come as a surprise.  Again, TSC is well-versed in the new regulations and is committed to helping you maintain compliance.  If you have any questions regarding any of these new regulations, please contact your TSC Retirement Plan Administrator.

-    Juhl Stoesz, Associate Counsel, TSC

Need more information?  Contact:

Matt Slyter, QKA
Vice President, Operations
TSC
direct: 952.806.4329
matts@tsc401k.com
www.tsc401k.com

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

Should You Consider Automating HR and Benefits?

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Automating HRSource: Ascentis White Paper, “Automating HR and Benefits Management for Strategic Success”

Maximizing the potential of the HR department
HR departments in mid-tier organizations are models of versatility. Their responsibilities include everything from answering employee questions about health benefits and vacation time and sorting out the process of employee reviews, to high level long term planning and organization of training, employee retention plans, management development and other important issues that fundamentally affect the productivity and success of the organization.

Most organizations of this size would agree that they would greatly benefit from their HR professionals having the opportunity to focus more of their energies on strategic issues, as is the case in larger organizations. It is no secret that the top-performing companies in the S&P 500 are the ones that have the strongest focus on employee development.

However, in reality, the majority of their HR department’s time and resources is consistently taken up with day-to-day tactical issues—up to five hours of every eight-hour day, some studies suggest.

For larger companies, the technology to automate HR and benefits issues has been available for some time, and is widely used. However the resources and infrastructure required to install and maintain one of these large and complex systems has made the cost of entry prohibitive, both financially and technologically, for companies in the mid tier. As a result, only about 15% of mid-tier companies have yet adopted a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) solution.

Today, software solutions are emerging that can provide a practical answer to organizations of this size. The problem then becomes how to choose the one that is the best fit for their requirements and that is affordable, flexible and agile enough to cope with constant change, whether it comes from within the organization or from legislation such as HIPAA and the E-sign Act.

What to look for in an HRIS
First and foremost, a good HRIS needs to be based on a solid, modern technology foundation.

A quick survey of the marketplace will show that there is a wide range of solutions available today. Further study, however, will reveal that most of them are designed for very large organizations, costly to set up and maintain, based on heavy-duty legacy technology and requiring the services of an army of consultants to keep them operational. Most of the systems designed for smaller organizations concentrate heavily on either HR functions such as attendance and compensation, or on benefits management, but lack the ability to combine the two issues.

To be a practical investment choice for a mid-tier organization, a satisfactory HRIS solution must have its HR and benefits functions highly integrated. It must be both agile and robust in order that it can easily be kept abreast of constant change, and it must be built on a tried and true foundation that is both easy to use and maintain, such as a modern database like SQL Server.

Ease of use is a vitally important feature for an HRIS. The learning curve on any new software is often a challenge for people whose primary function is non-technical, such as the average HR consultant. It is important that if the investment is made in a product, it is accepted to the extent that it becomes part of the fabric of the department. There are three things to look for that will make an HRIS easier to use and more accepted by staff:

  • Wizards: Wizard-based technology makes it easy for staff to enter or import information and make changes and updates, by following through a set of simple instructional, fill-in the blanks forms on the screen, rather than their having to learn to program or call in the consultants.
  • Strong HR facilities combined with flexible benefit capabilities: The system should be able to handle compensation, attendance and recruitment, and legal requirements such as FMLA and OSHA, while integrating them with benefits issues such as COBRA.

Role-based operation: A good HRIS solution should be able to cater to the needs of a wide range of people and functions within the organization, and should appear seamlessly tailored to their requirements. Role based administration is becoming increasingly important in the HRIS marketplace. With this feature, HR administrators can define what an individual can see in the system, allowing managers access to the information they need about their particular team, while locking them out of information that is not pertinent to them. Role based administration can extend further into proactive alerting—a particular manager or management level can be automatically alerted by the system that it is time to conduct a review, for instance, with those alerts being based on the specific mangers role and needs within the organization.

Benefits for the entire organization
There are three constituencies whose needs must be addressed in the selection of a new HRIS solution: HR and IT managers, the HR department itself, and the “customers,” i.e., the executives, managers and other employees of the company.

HR and IT managers must be satisfied that they have chosen the best tool for the job—one that is going to offer a good return on their investment of both financial and time resources; the HR department must find that the solution allows them to become strategic thinkers rather than data processors, and employees must find that they are receiving a more efficient service and are able to make better and easier choices.

Unless the chosen solution offers benefits to everyone in the organization, it will not succeed.

For a detailed recap of the questions that should be asked for HR and IT managers, HR Personnel, employee expectations, and a list of essential features, please download the white paper or contact PCS for a copy.

The Future of HRIS
In looking at HRIS solutions, it is important to look at the longer-term prospects for the technology. The HR industry is in a state of flux, and any product that a company installs today must be based on a platform that can readily and rapidly adapt to change, and must offer concrete plans for coping with the future.

In an ideal world, widespread, electronically enabled end-to-end HR management and benefits enrollment would be the norm. Employees themselves would be able to perform many operations such as online benefits enrollment and selection, the updating of personal information, and other tasks such as viewing compensation and benefits information that are currently performed for them by an HR professional. Relevant data would be routed based on business processes, allowing role-based task assignment and monitoring, allowing team leaders to manage their own staff without the constant need for the services of the HR department.

Two things are helping turn this concept of complete end-to-end benefits enrollment into a reality. First of all, the advent of the HIPAA Administrative Simplification laws. By making the acceptance of standard electronic data formats mandatory for all carriers and benefit vendors across the country, HIPAA makes it possible for software vendors to create a common interface using these new data standards, allowing enrollment information to be transferred to the insurance carriers and TPA’s electronically, eliminating the error prone manual system that exists today.

Secondly, leading vendors of HRIS solutions are ensuring that their software is fully Internet enabled and able to transfer data electronically to benefits carriers. This is a key concept in making complete end-to-end benefits enrollment a viable proposition. It enables the user through employee self-service to access and use their HR and benefits information from just about anywhere. It makes electronic benefits enrollment possible and will also allow online premium remittance, whether via the Internet, a Virtual Private Network, or through a standard modem connection.

Conclusion
In today’s rapidly changing business environment, the need for the HR department to be freed to be a more of a strategic force in the organization has become apparent. In order for this to happen, it is essential that mundane, day-to-day tasks be automated.

This automation must be brought about in such a way that the HR department can truly become more productive, rather than simply exchanging one set of tactical tasks for another, and it must be done cost-effectively. The solution chosen has to be easily usable and configurable by regular HR staff. In a constantly and rapidly changing environment such as HR, it isn’t practical for every minor change in policy to require precious resource be spent on employing outside consultants to reconfigure systems.

The chosen solution also has to offer significant benefits to end user employees, whether they will use it in a “self-service” fashion, or still receive their answers through the HR department. These benefits include immediately apparent advantages such as faster and more accurate responses and less reporting errors, but also more important and long-term features such as a broader range of benefit choices.

Lastly, the chosen solution has to offer a solid return on investment. Not only through greater employee satisfaction and the freeing of the HR department for more important strategic functions, but in actual terms of reduced benefit costs through greater efficiency in plan administration, less errors and faster pick-up of problems and issues.

For Additional Information Contact PCS or visit the HR Section of our website.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

So What Is New Hire Reporting?

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

New Hire Reporting Child SupportNew Hire Reporting can be a confusing topic as it can have different meanings dependent upon whom you are working with.  Usually, the two that get miss-labeled as New Hire Reporting are Social Security Number Verification and eVerify.  Both of these services are not mandated reporting for employers even though they may be a required part of your company’s hiring process.  On the other hand, New Hire Reporting (NHR) IS a mandated federal program that also may have additional requirements which are set at the state level.

What is the purpose of New Hire Reporting (NHR)?
New Hire Reporting is a mandatory reporting program, born out of welfare reform in the 1990s, that gathers information on all new hires and compares it to state Child Support Enforcement agency records to locate parents who have been ordered to pay child support.  The State agency in turn passes along the new hire information to the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS).  The State agency will review its database of open child support orders for any matches.  The FPLS also reviews the information looking for matches against existing child support orders in states other than the employee’s home state. If the FPLS finds a match, it will forward the match information back to the appropriate child support enforcement agency so that a new support order or orders can be issued and sent to the new employer.

Related Links
Supplement from Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families regarding New Hire Reporting
Summer 2011 SSA/IRS Reporter Newsletter

What Isn’t the Purpose of NHR?
NHR is not in any way related to eVerify, SSNV, I9s or any other program or form whose purpose is to confirm the eligibility or the work authorization of employees. The sole purpose of NHR (on both the Federal and State level) is to ensure that all child support orders (even if the non-custodial parent lives in a different state from the child and custodial parent) are being enforced and the withheld funds are being sent to the appropriate state child support agency in a timely manner.

Who must be reported to the state NHR agency?
All newly hired employees and all rehired employees with a break in service of more than 90 days.

NHR Timing
At the Federal level, as well as most states, the deadline for reporting new hire information is 20 days from the employee’s hire date. This typically translates to reporting the new hire or hires on the next payroll you process.  If you are using PCS’ New Hire Reporting Service, the PCS system will pick up any new hires and report them to the state.  There is also a report generated with the new hire information on it for your records.  On that report, it will note which employees were reported to the NHR agency and which were not.  If an employee is not reported to the state, the employer is responsible for reporting that information to the state.  Click here for Minnesota employer information about the state NHR program.

What Data Elements are Required for NHR?
On the Federal level, the following information:

  • Employer Name (Company Legal Name associated with the FEIN)
  • Employer Address
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Employee Name
  • Employee Address
  • Employee Social Security Number (SSN)

Each state agency has its own requirements for Required Data Elements.  Click here for a list of links to all state child support enforcement agencies.

As an example, the State of Minnesota requires the following elements to be included when reporting all new hires:

  • Employer’s Name (corporate name)
  • Employer’s Address (address where support orders should be sent)
  • Employer’s FEIN
  • Optional – Employer’s Telephone Number
  • Optional – Employer’s Fax Number
  • Optional – Employer’s Email Address
  • Employee’s Full Name (first, middle and last)
  • Employee’s Full Address
  • Employee’s SSN
  • Employee’s State of Hire (only required if you have employees located in more than one state)
  • Optional – Employee’s Date of Birth
  • Optional – Employee’s Date of Hire
  • Optional – Employee’s State of Hire

Note that there are some optional data elements included on this list. What is optional for one state may be required for another.  Our preference at PCS, when faced with this type of state or federal reporting requirement, is to error on the side of reporting more data in order to avoid future penalties, audits, or requests for information.

What Happens If You Have Employees In More Than One State?
As noted above, part of the NHR process is reporting information on newly hired employees to the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) for comparison to all states’ existing child support orders.  In order to get new employees reported, companies that are multistate employers must register. If you are using the PCS NHR service, PCS will do this registration on your behalf, and will make updates as you add employees in additional states.  If you are not currently taking advantage of PCS’s NHR service, you can register your company yourself by clicking here.

Please note that this is the DHHS (Federal) Multistate Employer Registry (MSER) website, and that you only need to register here once. You will, however, need to add new states at this site as you hire employees that reside in states outside of your company headquarters.  This website will also allow you to remove your multi-state status, should that occur.  Lastly, an employer can designate a single state through which to report all new hires, regardless of the employee’s state of residence.  This is typically the state in which you have the largest number of employees, or the location of your corporate headquarters.

Summary

  • New Hire Reporting is a child support order enforcement program mandated on both the federal and state level to report all new employees to a designated state NHR agency where the employee information can be compared against state and federal databases to check for open and outstanding child support orders for that employee.
  • The state agency is responsible for reporting the employee information to the federal program.
  • All employers, regardless of size, are required to report all newly hired employees to the state child enforcement agency for their state.  The state will in turn report the employee’s information to the Federal Parent Locator Service.  If you rehire an employee after a 90 day separation, they must also be reported.
  • The reporting of a new hire’s specific information must be done within 20 days of hire.
  • The Required Data Elements may differ for each state.
  • Companies must register with the DHHS Multistate Employer Registry in order to report new hires in more than one state.
  • A multistate company may elect to report all new hires through one state, regardless of their employees’ state of residence.

If you have any questions about New Hire Reporting, questions about how the PCS NHR service works, or are interested in adding NHR service to your existing PCS services, please feel free to contact your Client Account Manager and they will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.