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125 PlanAlso known as "Cafeteria Plan" or "Flex Plan". Out-of-pocket costs an employee pays for certain benefit plans. If this is available to the employee, premium payments can be taken on a before-tax basis, reducing the employee's federal, social security, medicare and most state taxes.
401(k) PlanA cash or deferred arrangement that allows employees to authorize their employer to place pretax dollars in a retirement plan that invests the monies. The contributions (including those matched by the employer), and any earnings on them, are not subject to federal income tax (and most state income taxes) until they are withdrawn.
403(b) AnnuityAn annuity or mutual fund that provides retirement income for employees of public schools and certain tax exempt organizations.
Accelerated Deposit RuleThis rule requires employers who accumulate a tax liability of $100,000 or more during a deposit period to deposit withheld taxes within one banking day of the day the liability was incurred. This is also known as the one-day or $100,000 rule.
AccrualThe recognition of assets, expenses, liabilities or revenues after the cash value has been determined, but before it is transferred.
Advance Earned Income Credit (AEIC)Payments of earned income credit during the year to employees who expect to be eligible for the credit. Employers make the payments out of federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the employees' wages.
After-Tax DeductionA deduction from an employee's pay that does not reduce the employee's taxable wages. It is taken out only after all applicable taxes and other deductions have been withheld (e.g., union dues, garnishments, charitable contributions).
AlienA citizen of a country other than the U.S. or one of its territories or possessions.
Annual Wage Reporting (AWR)The Social Security Administration's system of recording wages reported annually by employers on Forms W-2.
Automated Clearing House (ACH)A Federal Reserve Bank or private financial institution acting as a clearinghouse for direct deposit transactions. Entries are received and transmitted by the ACH under the rules of the association.
Backup WithholdingIncome tax withholding required from non-employee compensation when the payee fails to furnish the payer with a taxpayer identification number (TIN) or the payer is notified by the IRS that the payee's TIN is incorrect.
Base PeriodAs it relates to unemployment compensation, it generally consists of 52 weeks or four of the last five quarters, immediately preceding the claimant's benefit year.
Base Period WagesWages earned during the base period. The amount is generally one of several criteria used in determining a claimant,s eligibility for unemployment compensation.
Cafeteria PlanA plan that offers flexible benefits under the Internal Revenue Code 125. Employees choose their benefits from a "menu" of cash and benefits, some of which can be paid with pretax deductions from wages.
Child Support WithholdingThe process of withholding amounts from an employee's compensation to satisfy a child support order from a court or state child welfare administrative agency. The employer is responsible for withholding the amounts and paying them over to the party named in the withholding order.
Circular EIRS Publication 15, Employers Tax Guide. This publication contains the basic rules, guidelines, and instructions for withholding, depositing, reporting, and paying federal employment taxes.
CompensationAll cash and non-cash remuneration given to an employee for services performed for the employer.
Compensatory TimePaid time off granted to an employee for working extra hours. The Federal Wage-Hour Law places severe restrictions on the use of compensatory time to avoid paying overtime, although special exemptions are allowed for certain public sector employees (e.g., police officers and firefighters).
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA)Federal law that requires employers with group health care coverage to offer continued coverage to separated employees and other qualifying beneficiaries. The person seeking coverage may be required to pay up to 102% of the premium for the coverage. COBRA also requires public sector employers to withhold and pay Medicare tax on the wages of all employees hired after 3-31-86 if the employer is not covered by a 218 agreement.
CreditAn accounting entry that increases liabilities and revenues and decreases assets and expenses.
DebitAn accounting entry that increases assets and expenses and decreases liabilities and revenues.
DeductionAn amount subtracted from an employee's gross pay to reach net pay, or an amount allowed to taxpayers as an offset against income.
Deferred CompensationIn general, the postponement of a wage payment to a future date. Usually describes a portion of wages set aside by an employer for an employee and put into a retirement plan on a pretax basis.
Direct DepositThe electronic transfer of an employee's net pay directly into financial institution accounts designated by the employee, thus avoiding the need to receive a "live" paycheck.
Earned Income Credit (EIC)A tax credit that is available to low-income employees with one or more qualifying children. It may be taken when the employee files his or her individual tax return, or partially paid in advance by the employer during the year.
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)The transfer of money electronically from an account in one financial institution to an account in another financial institution.
Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)System that allows employers to make federal tax deposits electronically through the ACH network.
Electronic FilingThe process of filing tax and information returns directly from one computer to another.
EmployeeAn individual who performs services for another individual or an organization in return for compensation.
Employees Withholding Allowance CertificateThe federal Form W-4 or an equivalent state or local form, on which the employee states their marital status and the number of withholding allowances he or she claims. The form is used by the employer to determine the amount of federal, state, and local income taxes to withhold from the employee's compensation.
EmployerAn individual or organization that hires individuals to perform services in return for compensation, and that has the authority to control and direct the work of those individuals as part of the employer-employee relationship.
Employer Identification Number (EIN)The employer's account number with the Internal Revenue Service, consisting of nine (9) digits (00-0000000).
ExemptSee White Collar Employees.
Experience RatingIn the context of unemployment compensation, it is the employer's past record of unemployment claims activity. This record is used to determine the employer's unemployment tax rate (i.e., a high unemployment rate results in a higher tax rate).
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)The Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) regulates minimum wage, overtime pay, and child labor laws for employers and employees covered by the law.
Family Medical Leave Act of 1993Law guaranteeing 12 weeks of unpaid leave to most employees to care for newborn or newly adopted children, or to deal with a serious injury or illness suffered by an employee or an ailing child, spouse, or parent of the employee.
Federal Income Tax (FIT)A withholding tax levied against employees. The amount of withholding varies with the amount of earnings, frequency of pay, number of claimed exemptions, and marital status.
Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)Combined tax levies for Social Security and Medicare.
Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA)It requires employers to pay a certain percentage of their employees' wages (up to a maximum wage limit) as a payroll tax to help fund unemployment compensation benefits for separated employees.
Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)A number assigned to taxpayers and businesses by the federal government. This number is used for all tax transactions. Also referred to as EIN.
Fringe BenefitCompensation other than wages provided to an employee such as health and life insurance, vacation, employer-provided vehicles, public transportation subsidies, etc., that may be taxable or non-taxable.
GarnisheeIn a payroll context, an employer that receives an order requiring withholding from an employee's wages to satisfy a debt.
GarnishmentA legal proceeding authorizing an involuntary transfer of an employee's wages to a creditor to satisfy a debt.
Gross-UpAn IRS-approved formula that employers can use to determine the taxable gross payment when the employer wishes to pay the employees share of the tax.
Group-Term Life Insurance (GTL)Term life insurance that is provided to employees, with the cost being borne by the employer, the employee, or both.
Guaranteed Annual WageA plan guaranteeing employees their annual income (regardless of the work available) or that they will be kept on the payroll (although possibly at a lower wage).
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)Law enacted in 1986 that prohibits employers from hiring persons who are not authorized to work in the U.S. and from discriminating against those who are because of national origin or citizenship.
ImputeThe addition of the value of cash/non-cash compensation to an employees taxable wages in order to properly withhold income and employment taxes from the wages.
Independent ContractorA non-employee contracted by a business to perform services. Although the business specifies the result of the work to be performed, it has no right to control the details of when, how or who will ultimately perform the work.
Information ReturnA return sent to the IRS (i.e., 1099 series) or Social Security Administration (i.e., W-2, Copy A), that indicates information relevant to tax liability.
Information StatementA statement sent to a payee (i.e., 1099) or an employee (i.e., W-2) that indicates payments made and taxes withheld by the party issuing the statement.
Internal Revenue Code (IRC)Federal tax laws.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)Federal Agency charged with enforcement of United States tax laws and collection of taxes.
Leased EmployeesEmployees of a leasing (personnel) agency who are hired and trained for the client firm through the agency. Withholding, depositing, and reporting responsibilities remain with the leasing agency.
LevyAn attachment to satisfy a tax debt or a court judgment.
LiabilitiesDebits of a business that have yet to be paid.
Lookback PeriodA 12-month period beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30 of the previous calendar year. The amount of payroll taxes (federal withholding, social security, and medicare without being reduced by any AEIC payments) in the lookback period determines the employer's deposit schedule of the payroll taxes for the current calendar year. These payroll taxes are located on quarterly Forms 941 (line 11).
Magnetic Media ReportingUse of a computerized method of filing information with government agencies, such as magnetic tape, diskette, cartridge, or electronic filing from one computer to another.
MedicareA federal hospital insurance program for individuals 65 or older and some disabled persons. It is funded through the hospital insurance component of FICA. Employer and employee pay matching amounts; no annual wage limit.
Minimum WageThe lowest hourly amount an employer can pay employees under federal or state law.
New Hire ReportingThe reporting of newly hired/rehired employees to state agencies to assist in collecting child support and/or uncover abuse of the state's unemployment compensation, workers compensation or public assistance programs.
Net PayThat part of an employee's wages that remains after all deductions have been subtracted (taxes, health insurance, benefits, etc.)
Non-cash Fringe BenefitsBenefits provided to employees in some form other than cash (i.e., company car, health or life insurance, parking) which may be taxable or nontaxable.
Nonexempt EmployeeEmployees who are covered by the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. They may be paid on an hourly or salary basis.
Nonqualified PlanIn the context of employee benefits, an employer plan that does not meet IRS qualification requirements.
Nonresident AlienAn individual from a foreign country working in the US who does not pass either the "green card" or "substantial presence" residency test, but is subject to federal income tax on U.S. source income.
Originating Depository Financial Institution (ODFI)A financial institution that is qualified to initiate deposit entries submitted by an employer as part of the direct deposit process.
Other CompensationCompensation other than wages that an employer must report on an employee's W-2.
OvertimeHours worked in excess of maximum set by federal or state law that must be compensated.
Participating Depository Financial InstitutionA financial institution that can accept direct deposits and transmit or receive entries.
Payroll PeriodThe period of service for which an employer pays wages to its employees.
Payroll TaxAny tax levied by a government agency on employees' wages, tips and other compensation.
Pretax DeductionA deduction taken from gross pay that reduces taxable wages.
Pre-NotificationThe process financial institutions require for individuals who are trying to establish electronic direct deposit services.
Qualified PlanA benefit plan that meets IRS qualification requirements for tax-favored treatment (i.e., nondiscrimination).
Receiving Depository Financial Institution (RDFI)A financial institution that qualifies to receive direct deposit entries from an Automated Clearing House.
Resident AlienIn the context of payroll, an individual who passes either the "green card" or "substantial presence" test for determining resident status in the U.S. Resident aliens are generally subject to federal income tax withholding and Social Security and Medicare taxes on the same basis as U.S. citizens.
Resident Income Tax (RIT)Taxes an individual pays related to their state of residence. These taxes are separate from taxes related to the state in which an individual works.
Shift DifferentialExtra pay received by employees for working a less-than-desirable shift (i.e., late nights, evenings).
Simplified Employee Pension (SEP)An Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) with special participation requirements that is available to certain small employers.
State Income Tax (SIT)State taxes paid by individuals to the state in which they work.
Social SecurityThe Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) component of FICA.
Social Security Administration (SSA)The federal government agency that administers Social Security. It is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Social Security Number (SSN)An individual's taxpayer identification number, consisting of nine (9) digits (xxx-xx-xxxx).
State Unemployment Insurance (SUI)A quarterly tax paid to a state unemployment agency.
Statutory EmployeesSpecial groups of employees identified by law (i.e., full-time life insurance salespeople, certain homeworkers) whose wages are not subject to Federal Income Tax Withholding (FITW) but are subject to FICA and FUTA.
Straight TimeThe standard number of work hours during a workweek for which an employee's regular rate of pay will be paid.
Supplemental WagesCompensation received by employees other than their regular pay, such as bonuses, commissions, and severance pay. Income tax may be withheld from such payments at a flat rate under certain circumstances.
Table IRefers to IRS Uniform Premium Table I, which is used to calculate the value of group-term life insurance over $50,000.
Taxable Wage BaseThe maximum amount of employee compensation subject to Social Security, FUTA, and state unemployment insurance taxes.
Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)A Social Security number or employer identification number that serves as the taxpayer's account number with IRS and Social Security.
Third-Country NationalIn the context of U.S. payroll, someone who is a non-U.S. citizen working in a country other than the U.S.
Third (3rd) Party Sick PayPayments made by a third party, such as a state or private insurer, to employees because of non job-related illness or injury.
Tip CreditA reduction in the minimum wage allowed for tipped employees earning at least $30 per month in tips.
Tipped EmployeeAn employee who works in an occupation in which the employee regularly receives $30 or more a month in tips.
Wage AttachmentAn involuntary transfer of an employee,s wage payment to satisfy a debt.
Wage Continuation SheetA periodic report (i.e., quarterly) from an employer to the state unemployment agency containing employee information and unemployment taxable wages.
White Collar EmployeesIn the context of the Federal Wage-Hour Law, these are executive, administrative, professional (including computer-related professionals), or outside sales employees who are exempt from the law's minimum wage, overtime pay, and certain record keeping requirements.
WithholdingSubtracting amounts from an employee's wages for taxes, garnishments or levies, and other deductions (i.e., medical insurance premiums, union dues). These amounts are then paid over to the government agency or other party to whom they are owed.
Work WeekThe basis for determining an employee's regular rate of pay and overtime pay due under the Federal Wage-Hour Law. It can be any consecutive 7-day (168-hour) period chosen by the employer (i.e., Saturday to Friday, Wednesday to Tuesday).