June online workshops set to explain new state-mandated payroll tax

person working on a laptop

In case you missed information shared with all employees last month regarding workshops offered in May, please see below regarding the new state mandated payroll tax with new June information webinars that begin this week.

On April 21, 2021, Governor Inslee signed House Bill 1323, creating a new long-term care trust program. Beginning in January 2022, all employees will be paying an additional payroll tax — 0.58% of all wages. The tax proceeds will be used to fund a public insurance program for long-term services and support. While January 2022 seems a distant time, there are high-stakes earlier deadlines regarding this legislation.

Employees will need to understand the value of the long-term trust, understand the options to use the trust account, and understand the relative cost after paying into the system.

Employees will also need to understand that if they invest in an individual long-term care account or trust, then the legislation offers a one-time window for employees to opt out of the state mandatory payroll tax. The individual long-term care policy must be in place by November 1, 2021. Rules regarding the process to opt out are not yet finalized, so we cannot predict when the opt-out must be in place.

Olympia School District is partnering with NW Benefit Advisors to assist us with the communications and education regarding the new law.

This is one of those times where the stakes are high. All employees of the school district will be subject to the payroll tax, we all need to understand the State’s plan, and the payroll tax and employee options. Excluding the precious weeks of summer, the fall deadlines are right around the corner.

NW Benefit Advisors will conduct workshops to explain the new payroll tax, what options employees have, and important deadlines:

  • Tuesday, June 8  3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Wednesday, June 9  3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Thursday, June 10 3:30-4:30 and 6-7 pm.

NW Benefit Advisors will also conduct workshops to give employees an overview of long-term care insurance, the costs of private insurance, and the deadlines to opt out of the payroll tax:

  • Tuesday, June 15 3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Wednesday, June 16 3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Thursday, June 17 3:30-4:30 and 6-7 pm.

 CLICK Here to access NW Benefit Advisors website with information on:

  1. Attend a workshop.
  2. Find information on House Bill 1323 and Long-Term Care Insurance
  3. Schedule an appointment with NW Benefit Advisors to discuss your personalized plan.

The website will ask for your email address; this is used to verify that you are an employee of the Olympia School District. It is safe to use your district email address.

If you are having troubles accessing the website please email help-payroll@osd.wednet.edu.

New state-mandated payroll tax with inflexible opt-out deadlines; note workshops this week

Open notebook with words "My Plan" at the top and person preparing to write with a pen

On April 21, 2021, Governor Inslee signed House Bill 1323, creating a new long-term care trust program. Beginning in January 2022, all employees will be paying an additional payroll tax — 0.58% of all wages. The tax proceeds will be used to fund a public insurance program for long-term services and support. While January 2022 seems a distant time, there are high-stakes earlier deadlines regarding this legislation.

Employees will need to understand the value of the long-term trust, understand the options to use the trust account, and understand the relative cost after paying into the system.

Employees will also need to understand that if they invest in an individual long-term care account or trust, then the legislation offers a one-time window for employees to opt out of the state mandatory payroll tax. The individual long-term care policy must be in place by November 1, 2021. Rules regarding the process to opt out are not yet finalized, so we cannot predict when the opt-out must be in place.

Olympia School District is partnering with NW Benefit Advisors to assist us with the communications and education regarding the new law.

This is one of those times where the stakes are high. All employees of the school district will be subject to the payroll tax, we all need to understand the State’s plan, and the payroll tax and employee options. Excluding the precious weeks of summer, the fall deadlines are right around the corner.

NW Benefit Advisors will conduct workshops to explain the new payroll tax, what options employees have, and important deadlines:

  • Tuesday, May 4  3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Wednesday, May 5  3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Thursday, May 6 3:30-4:30 and 6-7 pm.

NW Benefit Advisors will also conduct workshops to give employees an overview of long-term care insurance, the costs of private insurance, and the deadlines to opt out of the payroll tax:

  • Tuesday, May 11 3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Wednesday, May 12 3:30-4:30 pm;
  • Thursday, May 13 3:30-4:30 and 6-7 pm.

 CLICK Here to access NW Benefit Advisors website with information on:

  1. Attend a workshop.
  2. Find information on House Bill 1323 and Long-Term Care Insurance
  3. Schedule an appointment with NW Benefit Advisors to discuss your personalized plan.

The website will ask for your email address; this is used to verify that you are an employee of the Olympia School District. It is safe to use your district email address.

If you are having troubles accessing the website please email help-payroll@osd.wednet.edu.

Learn more about PayActiv

Payactiv flyer with an image of a cell phone offering employees to get an extra $20 for signing up with Payactiv and making a first transfer of earned wages to a card or bank account by April 14, 2021. Heading says, "Give it a try, we know you'll love it."

In last week’s blog, we shared with employees about PayActiv, a new option to get your pay when you need it prior to payday at the end of the month.

The vendor has since sent us information sharing that employees are eligible to get an extra $20 when they sign up with Payactiv and make their first transfer of Earned Wages to a card or bank account by April 14, 2021. PayActiv is also working with KOFE that can assist with Financial Planning.

Learn more about PayActiv by visiting the benefits webpage on the staff intranet. Be sure to log in to your Google account to access the staff intranet.

DRS offers live webinars during Spring Break

Close up of person typing on laptop computer with notebook in the foreground

OSD employees are invited to attend live Department of Retirement Systems webinars April 6–8, 2021. The DRS Education & Outreach team will present several topics, including:

  • Plan 2 Basics (PERS, TRS, SERS)
  • Plan 3 Basics (PERS, TRS, SERS)
  • Online Resources
  • Getting Ready for Retirement
  • Applying for Retirement

Logging into a webinar

Employees can visit the DRS Webinar Page for the schedule. Pre-registration is not required for these sessions; however, we recommend attendees join 15 minutes early to ensure a successful connection. How to join a DRS webinar provides tips for logging in, and help is also available at 360-664-7930.

Education & Outreach offers webinars for all members of DRS as well as many retirement planning resources.

Questions

If you have any questions regarding this DRS Notice, please contact Employer Support Services at 360-664-7200, option 2, or 800-547-6657, option 6, option 2, or email.

Learn about new OSD PayActiv Earned Wage Access

PayActiv QR code to go to the Apple/Google app store and download the PayActiv App. Information also includes: Access the money you have already earned. Transfer wages to your bank, card, or pickup as cash.

PayActiv Earned Wage Access is one of the many benefits you can now enjoy at Olympia School District. It is a great option to get your pay when you need it prior to payday at the end of the month. Enrollment is from the 1st through the 14th of each month. There is a blackout period after that until payroll is processed.

To start, you can download the PayActiv App from Apple or Google app stores and create your account using your employee ID. You can find your employee ID when you create an electronic timesheet in ETRS. It is that simple. You can then see your earnings and get your money between the 1st and the 14th of each month.

More information about PayActiv is posted on the staff Intranet Payroll Benefits page. Be sure to log in to your Google account to access the staff intranet.

If you have questions, call 1-877-937-6966. PayActiv provides 24×7 customer service.

Thinking about retirement? Join a VEBA Retirement Readiness presentation

White ceramic teacup sits on railing with mountains and lake in the distance

Want to learn more about the Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA)? Read the VEBA Plan Benefits Guide 2021. Then, pick a date and time that works for you to attend a VEBA Retirement Readiness webinar presentation. Note: To view the presentation, please register with your name and email (required). When you register, WebEx will likely default to Central Time Zone time, however the calendar invite you will receive will be in Pacific Time Zone.

Urgent message emailed to employees impacted by error on 2020 W-2

This article reshares important information emailed last night and today to many OSD employees, and mailed today as a notification to those same employees at their home address, regarding an error discovered on their 2020 W-2. Only employees impacted by this error were sent an email and a notification to their home address. Note: The email sent via SchoolMessenger to employees impacted by this error requires them to open an attachment. It is safe to open this attachment.

For those impacted by this W-2 error, please note the following:

The district mailed you an original W-2 on January 31, 2021. The original W-2 data with respect to income is correct. 

However, on the original W-2, data in box 12 (employer paid health benefit) and box 14 (employee portion of health benefit) were incorrectly displayed. The mistake overstates the amount that the employee paid for health benefits and understates the amount that the employer paid. Therefore, this error affects only those who have already, or intend to itemize and deduct medical expenses on their 2020 tax return. Due to the high threshold for medical expense deductions in tax law, few people (about 2% nationally) itemize medical expenses. However, if you fall into this category of taxpayers the mistake may result in an overstated tax credit.  

We work very hard to ensure that the data we publish is accurate. In past years our staff calculated the data in boxes 12 and 14.  This year, our staff relied on School Employee Benefits Board (SEBB) and our payroll co-op’s calculation of this data. We should not have relied on these entities for that data but at the time felt that SEBB was actually the best source of information.

On February 19, 2021 we mailed you two copies of a W-2C. A W-2C is a correction to the original W-2. Do not destroy the original W-2. You will use both versions of the W-2 to file your taxes. You are receiving two copies of the W-2C as you will include one copy when you file your taxes and keep one for your records. (If you have already filed your 2020 tax return, do not re-file just to include the W-2C. See the table below.)

Please note, the incorrect W-2 was calculated for a subset of employees (generally full-time employees). Therefore, another member of your household that also works for our district may not be impacted by this correction.

For a more complete understanding of how the incorrect data could impact you, please see the table below:

Chart containing information about what to do if you have filed or have yet to file a tax return. This information is also embedded in the text.

As stated above, we have mailed copies of the W-2C to your home address. If you are working on your taxes now, and would like immediate access to the original W-2 and the new W-2C in Skyward, open this pdf for instructions. Both are available to you now in Skyward.

We sincerely apologize for the complication and inconvenience associated with this error, and will work to make the adjustments as easy on you as possible. Please do not hesitate to email w2correction@osd.wednet.edu so that we may connect you with the district’s tax attorney to help with this process or answer your questions. Or call Tonya Palmer, Payroll Supervisor, at 360-596-6189 for assistance.

DRS public records request notification

This week the Olympia School District was notified by the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems about a public records request they received from the Seattle Times concerning information about all members of the state’s retirement systems, including all retirees and inactive members, for the period July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.

DRS has asked that we notify our employees of this request and that March 19, 2021 is the date DRS plans to produce responsive records to the Seattle Times.

Please note that this records request was not made to the Olympia School District but to the Department of Retirement Systems. Questions about petitioning the court for injunction relief should be directed to the Department of Retirement Systems at (360) 664-7000 or 1 (800) 547-6657.

Department of Retirement Systems offers ‘Nearing Retirement’ Seminars

Person typing on a laptop computer

Is retirement around the corner? The Department of Retirement Systems’ Education & Outreach team offers “Nearing Retirement” Seminars. The next seminar is Saturday, January 30, 2021.

Although the Nearing Retirement Seminars are open to all employees, they are designed for those who are within five years of retirement. Basic retirement plan information will not be provided at these seminars, but it’s important to understand the basics of your plan prior to attending.  To brush up, select your retirement system and watch the video:

Plan 1 PERS
Plan 1 TRS
Plan 2 SERS, TRS
Plan 3 SERS, TRS

We also encourage you to review the following article: Resignation timing affects health and pension benefits for school employees and teachers.

For more information about the Nearing Retirement seminar-webinars and how to join, select this link.  Be advised while you can pre-register, you don’t have to. From the seminar page, just select ‘Join’ 10-15 minutes prior to start.  Unable to attend?  Watch the seminar videos at a time that is more convenient. 

Ignore vendor email offering to discuss retirement benefits

Caution cone sits on computer keyboard

Recently you may have received an email from an outside vendor stating that as an Olympia School District employee you are eligible to schedule a phone call or teleconference meeting with a representative regarding retirement benefit questions.

This email did not come from the Olympia School District, even though the subject heading on at least one email listed it as “Assistance for Olympia School District Personnel.”

The Olympia School District does not endorse one retirement planner/firm over another. In addition, the district has not, and will not share information with a firm. Your email address is likely listed on our website, and we believe that the firm has searched our website for the purpose of solicitations. The district has not submitted a list of employees and email addresses as part of a public disclosure request. 

Please contact Tonya Palmer, payroll supervisor, if you have questions or additional concerns at help-payroll@osd.wednet.edu.