I was looking at my 2021 planner recently, at first all the usual birthdays, meetings, and other important dates I road map out each year stood out. Then I noticed the other dates, the days not yet spoken for or scheduled out in advance. I realized 2021… the possibilities are endless.
What do I want to do this year? Will I take some online classes? Try out some new recipes? Finally clean out my closet? Move more, sit less? Read the classics? Maybe I’ll just spend more time catching up with friends and enjoying family fun nights at home.
I know no matter what I choose to do, this year my focus is on staying positive and pushing forward. I have high hopes for 2021 and the WMAC has an education packed year planned. I hope that you will take some time for yourself and make WMAC part of your plan for 2021. Whether it’s a chapter meeting, taking a class or preparing for your next designation WMAC’s website is your resource for payroll education and networking.
Julia Lopez Divack, CPP
Introducing your 2021 Board of Directors
Elections for the 2021 Officers took place at the December chapter meeting. These officers will serve in these roles throughout the 2021 calendar year. Drop by and welcome them aboard or say hello at the Planning Meeting taking place this Saturday, February 6th or send them an email below!
President: Julia Lopez Divack, CPP
President: Elect: Katie Horvat, CPP
Secretary: Steven Carballo, CPP
Treasurer: Karen Ballard, CPP
Best of luck to you all in the coming year!
WMAC Planning Meeting
Saturday, February 6th
This meeting is designed to plan for the Future of the WMAC-APA. This meeting is open to ALL members. We get excited when members bring thoughts, ideas, and enthusiasm to the meeting. This meeting will be held virtual in Zoom. Registration closes on February 5, 2021 at 1:00 PM
APA's Capital Summit
The APA's Virtual Capital Summit puts attendees on the leading edge of payroll compliance from the comfort of their remote workplaces! This virtual conference features government insiders presenting the latest information on legislative and regulatory issues that impact payroll operations. For attendees' convenience, on-demand sessions are included and available through May 17, 2021.
Don't miss this opportunity to hear from government decision-makers and private-sector experts on a range of topics, including agency perspectives on paid sick leave, data security, government agency modernization and online services, employment verification and the right-to-work, child support collaboration to improve communication, impact of politics on payroll, and more.
WMAC Spring Calculations Class
Saturday, March 20th
Save the date for WMAC’s popular one-day seminar focused solely on payroll calculations. This session is perfect for a wide range of students – those new to payroll, students looking for some extra study time to prepare for their CPP or FPC exams, and even seasoned professionals looking to earn some RCHs. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Save the Date – WMAC Chapter Meetings
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Paving the Way for the Future of Pay: Staying on the Right Side of Compliance / Managing a Payroll Department
George Mavrantzas / Jon Schausten, CPP
Thursday, April 8, 2021
Kevin Valuet, CPP
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Michael Schoelles, CPP
Thursday, September 9, 2021
Speak Up & Be Heard / Best Practices
Lori Brown, CPP / Sam McAtee, CPP
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Unions / 401(k) Overview
Linda Dailey, CPP / John Lestock, CPP
Thursday, December 9, 2021
Jodi Parsons, CPP
For 2021, WMAC has selected Covenant House Greater Washington (CHGW) to be our charity. For over 25 years CHGW has served as the region’s leading non-profit throughout the area in protecting, supporting, and transforming the lives of youth ages 18-24 experiencing homelessness, disconnection, and exploitation. CHGW has provided a safe harbor and wrap-around supportive services to one of the area’s most vulnerable populations. The programs and services offered to young people help them to get back on track in achieving housing, career, and economic stability.
CHGW creates tailored solutions for each young person that goes beyond short-term housing and support. Their approach equips youth with the resources they need to overcome common obstacles and barriers. Aside from housing, youth receive workforce readiness, job/career placement, post-secondary support, case management, mental health support, drop-in services, child development center (for youth with children), and more.
Due to COVID-19 limitations, in-person activities are currently cancelled, however, our goal for 2021 is to raise $5,000 for CHGW. The WMAC website is set up to accept donations and for every dollar contributed, WMAC will match it. It is that simple. The donation option will also be on the chapter meeting invites. For more detail, please visit WMAC’s Community page. Donations can be made by visit the catalog on the left side of the page.
Additionally, CHGW host monthly drives. For February, they are looking for new bedding, towels/washcloths. If you prefer to give these items, please email [email protected] and we will help coordinate socially distanced donation arrangements.
We are very excited to be partnered with this organization for 2021. Please reach out if you have any questions.
Preparing for the Next Twelve Months of Payroll Success
By Lori Brown, CPP
Now that year-end 2020 is wrapping up, it’s not too early to start preparing for 2021 year-end. Preparing for year-end actually starts in January every year! Here are some checklist suggestions to help you prepare for the next twelve months of payroll success.
January: Be sure to validate new tax changes with the first payroll including rates and limits. Confirm that new year wage bases and limits are updated, such as 401k, HSA and FSA to name a few. If new benefit deductions are setup, pretax or post-tax, review at least one pay check per company to ensure it’s been setup correctly. Review your payroll calendar for pay period begin, pay period end and pay dates for the entire year are correct, notating holidays. Distribute Form W-2s to employees and EITC notifications required by state or local laws.
February: Stay on top of monthly reconciliations to prepare for quarter end. This month is a good time to gather the team to review what went well and where improvements can be made for next year end. Celebrate the success of another year.
March: It’s quarter-end, so be sure that manual checks have been accounted for and recorded, as well as any voids. Process any corrections identified prior to closing the quarter. Update your Form 941 to W2 reconciliation for first quarter totals. Before the month closes, ensure that all state unemployment tax rates have been updated.
April: Prepare or confirm first quarter tax filings. Take a breather, first quarter is over.
May: Get those monthly reconciliations completed and now’s a good time to update your Form 941 to Form W2 reconciliations for second quarter activities to get ahead of quarter close.
June: It’s quarter-end, so be sure that manual checks have been accounted for and recorded, as well as any voids. Process any corrections identified prior to closing the quarter. Some state unemployment tax rates are provided mid-year, so be sure that you’ve received all updated rates to apply.
July: Prepare or confirm second quarter tax filings. Celebrate, second quarter is over.
August: Pull your year-end checklist, update dates, who will be responsible, add any new tasks and remove any tasks no longer needed. Schedule your first year-end meeting with the team.
September: It’s quarter-end, so be sure that manual checks have been accounted for and recorded, as well as any voids. Process any corrections identified prior to closing the quarter.
October: Prepare or confirm third quarter tax filings. Review Form W-2 preliminary reports and ensure that your Form 941 to Form W-2 reconciliation is updated.
November: Ask employees to verify their home address and that state tax information is correct. Remind employees to update their tax elections if they’ve had any changes. Schedule your second year-end meeting with the team. Report the next year’s social security wage base to your budgeting or accounting team.
December: Process final payrolls and any fourth quarter adjustments prior to closing the month if possible. Update your year-end checklist every week, if not daily, to ensure all tasks are timely. If you have third party sick pay, confirm when you should receive the annual reconciliation. Gather all taxable fringe benefits to record them with a scheduled payroll if possible. Process employer health care costs for Box 12 Code DD.
By Karen Ballard, CPP
As of January 29, 2021 the WMAC bank balance is $25,039.40.
Congress Xstream Preview Session of Lessons Learned from Leading during a Crisis
By Lori Brown, CPP
I’m honored to be speaking with Stephanie Salavejus, CPP at APA’s upcoming Congress Xstream. 2021 Congress Xstream is a virtual event scheduled for May 18-21. Our workshop session scheduled for Tuesday, May 18 is about Lessons Learned from Leading during a Crisis.
2020 was a challenging year for us all. As leaders, we were faced with many changes and challenges to overcome. While many leaders may have read or heard about leading through a crisis, 2020 provided us with actual experience and lessons learned that we’d like to share.
While we may think that we’re prepared to lead during a crisis, when that time hits it may feel like we’re not prepared. Facing the reality of a crisis and embracing change is the first step. Once you get ahold of yourself and dig deep, you can begin to plan for the long haul. You are the calm of the storm and must display that no matter the situation. Being transparent is key, as well as leading with care, intention and sticking to your values. Crisis situations provide challenges and opportunities that you have to take advantage of. We’ll share our experiences so you can learn and lead with confidence for what the future has to hold.
We welcome you to attend Congress Xstream to learn more about this session and many others, all the while getting rejuvenated for the year to come!
Congress Xstream Updates
Recently APA announced the 2021 Annual Congress would take place virtually this year. The week-long conference will still be held on the original dates, May 18-21, 2021. There you can expect to find expert knowledge, valuable networking (including NEW video chats!), and world-class products at the world’s largest payroll expo.
Included in the 2021 Congress Xstream registration:
- Up to 35 RCHs
- Two special Preview Events
- Access to Virtual Congress with up to 14 more RCH's
- 27 Workshop sessions, 5 general session keynotes, and 3 industry expert presentations
- 4 days in the Expo
- And much more!
While there is barely 100 days remaining before the conference, we all know how quickly time flies. Also new this year, attendees will have access to two special preview events, but only if you register by March 5th. The first session is a returning crowd favorite – Pegine!
APA is very excited to bring you another year of expert payroll knowledge and the opportunity to network virtually with peers and business leaders from various industries all across the world. We look forward to seeing you in 2021 at Congress Xstream!
Check out all the details at https://www.congressxstream.com/ - there’s even a quick video to see what to expect at Congress Xstream this year.
Are you interested in advancing your payroll knowledge? Would a subscription to the Payroll Source Plus help you stay compliant? Apply NOW for an APA Education Grant! Did you know APA offers grants annually used for various types of payroll education and resources? You could win free registration to Congress Xstream, a subscription to Payroll Source Plus, and other great options. There are a total of 8 grants available this year. Apply here!
The deadline to apply is February 23, 2021. Keep these tips in mind when applying:
- Fill out the application completely and answer the questions with as much detail as possible.
- Do not give one-sentence answers. The committee wants to get to know you and your accomplishments.
- Tell us about your professional, personal, and organizational growth, and your involvement in process improvements within your job, department, or organization.
- List all your volunteerism outside of the APA. For example: Girl Scout leader, church secretary, Little League coach, club membership, community involvement, etc.
- List all your APA local chapter, statewide, and national APA activities, committees, and volunteerism.
- Write a detailed personal statement letting the committee know why you want to win and how you plan to use the grant to advance your payroll professional career. Do not forget to include why this education grant is important to you and to your future in the payroll industry.
- Include two current letters of recommendation. Make sure the people recommending you understand what you are applying for and why. The recommendation letters can be no more than two years old and must be relevant to the application of the education grant. Each letter must be signed by the person writing it and saved in a PDF format.
Katie Horvat, President-Elect
Government Liaison Updates
by Jeffrey Rothholz, CPP
Chapter members: Welcome to 2021. As payroll professionals are completing the year-end processes, including reconciling, filing, and distributing 2020 Form W-2 as well as employer tax filings, we should take a moment to appreciate how much we have accomplished in this unprecedented year. While we expect additional federal legislation for Coronavirus relief in the coming months, including changes that may impact payroll, we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The importance of our role as Payroll Professionals has been reaffirmed by all levels of organizations, from CEO's to hourly employees and contract workers.
Federal Compliance Updates:
Student loan relief extended until September 2021 through an executive order signed by President Biden. The Department of Education made the official announcement that they are extending the suspension of student loans through September 30, 2021. At the request of President Biden, the Acting Secretary of Education will extend the pause on federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0%.
2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA): President Trump signed H.R. 133 on /December 27, 2020, which provides extensions, changes, and updates to the payroll tax credits enacted through the CARES and FFCRA regulations. Here are highlights that impact payroll:
- Paid Leave Credit: These credits created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act 2020 was extended to March 31, 2021. Employers' credits for sick and family leave are no longer mandated but may be claimed at the same level from January 1, 2021, to March 31, 2021. These credits created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act 2020 was extended to March 31, 2021. Employers' credits for sick and family leave are no longer mandated but may be claimed at the same level from January 1, 2021, to March 31, 2021. Although the optional coverage for sick/ family leaves under the FFCR has been extended through 3/31/21, that does not mean that the allowable amounts are reset. Whatever has been used in 2020 can only be continued as a credit in 2021 if the initial limits were not met in 2020. If limits were reached in 2020 and an employer voluntarily elects to continue providing the benefit to employees under sick/paid family leave through 3/31/21, the employer will not be eligible to apply those wages as credits against their federal liability.
- Employee Payroll Tax Deferral: Some employers chose to suspend collection of the employee portion of Social Security tax from September 1 to December 31, 2020, following President Trump's memo. Employers who deferred collecting the employee portion of Social Security taxes during 2020 will have an extension for repayment from April 30, 2021, to December 31, 2021.
- Employee Retention Credit: The CAA provides an extension of the employee retention credit from December 31, 2020, to June 31, 2021. This credit provides employers a relief credit that may be applied to the employer and employee portions of Social Security, Medicare, federal tax withheld. Additionally, the CAA revised the eligibility, percentage of wages, and the maximum credit allowed beginning January 1, 2021.
- Flexible Spending Accounts: The CAA provides temporary changes in flexible spending accounts in both dependent care and health care. If the plans permit carryovers, employees may carryover balances from 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022.
- Work Opportunity Credit: The CAA extended the Work Opportunity Credit, set to expire on December 31, 2020, to now expire on December 31, 2025.
The Labor Department clarifies issues with leave under the FFCRA. Employers are not mandated but may opt to provide employees with coronavirus-related leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act after Dec. 31, 2020, the Labor Department said in two Dec. 31 additions to its FFCRA-related frequently asked questions.
Local Compliance Updates:
State electronic W-2 reporting deadlines are approaching: Today is the deadline to file Forms W-2 for most states, including DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
District of Columbia filers are reminded to file their Forms W-2 with their tax departments electronically or on magnetic media by February 1, 2021. (January 31st is on a Sunday this year, so the next business day rule applies.)