This morning’s Federal Government Executive General Session was all about PR: partnerships and resources. Each of the executives spoke of the important partnership between their respective agencies and payroll professionals as well as the tools they have put in place to make it easier for them to access information.
First up was Scott Lekan (pictured above), Commissioner, Office of Child Support Enforcement.
“You’re the backbone of what we do,” he said, citing statistics for FY17 which show that 75% of $32.4 billion collected on behalf of child support clients came from wage withholdings. “Without you, we wouldn’t have a mechanism for collecting these funds. This is for families, and we have to remember that.”
Lucy Gambescia, Accounting Manager at Clarabridge Inc., took Lekan’s remarks to heart.
“As a former recipient of child support on behalf of my daughter, I could really relate to his comments on a personal level about how important it is to families,” she said.
Lekan also encouraged attendees to avail themselves of two important resources: electronic withholding orders and the agency’s Employer Outreach Team.
"We look forward to hearing from you about how we can better serve everyone," she said.
David Kautter, Acting Commissioner at the Internal Revenue Service and Assistant Secretary (Tax Policy) at the U.S. Treasury, had a similar message for attendees.
“We value our partnership with APA,” he said.
In particular, he credited payroll professionals for their role in helping the agency reduce reports of tax-related identity theft by 65% from 2015 to 2017.
Kautter then turned his attention to tax reform.
“The IRS and the APA have some challenging work ahead of us,” he said.
At the same time, he assured attendees that the agency is “well under way with respect to implementing the next tax bill.”
Kautter expects 2018 tax forms will be made available for public comment later this summer. According to him, all of the more than 400 IRS forms, instructions, and publications that require updating are in at least the initial draft stage. This was welcome news to Frank Lilley, Manager of Payroll at Nexen Energy ULC.
“It was interesting to learn that the IRS is updating its guidance so early,” he said.
Lilley also expressed an interest in the Department of Labor’s new nationwide pilot program, Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID), which Bryan Jarrett, Acting Administrator, Wage & Hour Division, highlighted during his remarks.
“Many of the laws are complicated,” Jarrett said. “This program was created to provide assistance to employers acting in good faith who inadvertently violated the law.”
PAID facilitates resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) without litigation.
“I would encourage you to do a deep dive on these resources,” he said.
With these and other resources at their disposal, payroll professionals will be well-equipped as they continue to partner with the government agencies that most impact payroll processing.