Employer News | November 2013

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Find us on Facebook Find us on Twitter
Right-click here to download pictures…
In This Issue

Upcoming Seminars



Audit Section
(907) 465-5707

Financial Education and Advice Services
(800) 232-0859

Member Services Counseling Services
(907) 465-4460

Member Services Contact Center
(907) 465-4460

(877) 517-6370

Contact the editor with feedback. Archives are available. 

Online Services


Payroll Processing

yellow graphic line

November | Volume #100

Register for Employer Training

December 12 and 13 in Anchorage

Employer Workshop

The Employer Training Workshops are taking place in just a few weeks in Anchorage on December 12 and 13 at the Captain Cook Hotel. Register today. Don't miss your chance to learn about the following topics:

  • Rehired Annuitants
  • Scattered Leave Without Pay
  • Federal Voluntary Compliance Program
  • Guidelines for Gaming Activities
  • Independent Contractors vs. Employees
  • New Health Care Information

Back to Top

Announcing Additions to Executive Team

New Chief Financial Officer and Member Services Manager

New Division Hires

The Division is pleased to announce the following additions to its executive team:

Kevin Worley, Chief Financial Officer

Kevin Worley started working with the Division of Retirement and Benefits as Chief Financial Officer in mid-October 2013, after transferring from the Department of Corrections where he worked as an Internal Auditor. Kevin has worked for the State of Alaska since 1990, serving in various accounting and leadership positions, including two terms with the Division from 2000 to 2004 and 2007 to 2009. 

Kevin oversees all accounting functions within the Division, including payroll processing, refunds, payments to retirees, preparations for and audit of all retirement and health systems’ financial statements, and working with the retirement systems’ consulting actuary. According to Kevin, "an important topic on which I can be helpful to most employers are the new pension reporting requirements issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). GASB has issued two new statements, GASB 67 & 68, which affect the retirement systems’ audited financial statements. In the very near future, GASB 67 & 68 will impact the financial statements of our participating employers. A focus change on financial reporting is now afoot and the Division is here to assist employers." 

You can reach Kevin Worley by calling the Division at (907) 465-4460.

Michele Michaud, Member Services Manager

Michele Michaud became the manager of the Member Services section in early October 2013. She has worked for the State of Alaska for over 23 years and started working with the Division in 2007. She has served various roles for the Division, starting as a Regional Counselor, after which she supervised the Operations team and then the Member Services Contact Center. 

As Member Services Manager, she directs the Division's counseling, benefit education, and benefit processing efforts. The Member Services section works closely with employers to amend participation agreements, determine eligibility, and report discrepancies, and responds to other service, retirement, and health benefit related processes and inquiries. 

You can reach Michele Michaud by calling the Division at (907) 465-4460.

Back to Top

PERS Salary Floor

PERS logo

PERS Salary Floor (AS 39.35.255)

During the 25th legislative session, Senate Bill 125 passed, which established a June 30, 2008 salary floor under AS 39.35.255(a)(2).

The salary floor is the total base salaries paid by an employer to active employees of the system as of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008. The statute requires the Division of Retirement and Benefits (Division) to collect employer contributions at a minimum based on FY 2008 base salaries.

The statute reads as follows:


(a) Each employer shall contribute to the system every payroll period an amount calculated by applying a rate of 22 percent of the greater of the total of all base salaries

  • (1) paid by the employer to employees who are active members of the system, including any adjustments to contributions required by AS 39.35.520; or
  • (2) paid by the employer to employees who were active members of the system during the corresponding payroll period for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008.

All PERS employers received a letter from the Division in July 2011 indicating their June 30, 2008 base salary floor.

The Division is currently gearing up to bill for the pay period ending June 30, 2013.


The June 30, 2008 base salary floor has already been determined for each employer. This fall, the Division will compare each employer's gross salaries for all pay periods ending between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 to their June 30, 2008 salary floor.

  • If their current year gross salaries are higher than the FY 2008 base salary floor, then nothing will be due. These employers will receive a notice indicating that no additional contributions are due under the salary floor provision for FY 2013.
  • If their current year gross salaries are lower, then the difference is what should have been reported to PERS. These employers will receive a notice indicating that their FY 2008 salary floor was not met during FY 2013, and additional contributions are due.

For these employers, the Division is offering a payment plan which would extend the payment over a twelve-month period. Interest will still accrue on the unpaid balance. Payment plans should be approved by the governing body of the participating employer. If you are an employer who has payments due to PERS under this statute and you would like to set up a payment plan, email Tamara Criddle or call (907) 465-2279.

Back to Top

IRS Warns of Pervasive Telephone Scam


Source: IRS

IRS YouTube Video:
Tax Scams: English | Spanish | ASL

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

“This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country.  We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves.  Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer,” says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. “If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling.” Werfel noted that the first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail.

Other characteristics of this scam include:

  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
  • Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
  • Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
  • Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
  • If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.  This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov.

More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.

Back to Top

2014 Tax Season to Start Later Following Government Closure

IRS Sees Heavy Demand As Operations Resume


Source: IRS

WASHINGTON–The Internal Revenue Service today announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure. 

The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay and will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4. 

The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season. Programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 IRS systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns. Updating these core systems is a complex, year-round process with the majority of the work beginning in the fall of each year. 

About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown, with some major workstreams closed entirely during this period, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its tight timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season. There are additional training, programming and testing demands on IRS systems this year in order to provide additional refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention.

“Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right,” Werfel said. “The adjustment to the start of the filing season provides us the necessary time to program, test and validate our systems so that we can provide a smooth filing and refund process for the nation’s taxpayers. We want the public and tax professionals to know about the delay well in advance so they can prepare for a later start of the filing season.”

The IRS will not process paper tax returns before the start date, which will be announced in December. There is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date, and taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit. The April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place. However, the IRS reminds taxpayers that anyone can request an automatic six-month extension to file their tax return. The request is easily done with Form 4868, which can be filed electronically or on paper.

IRS processes, applications and databases must be updated annually to reflect tax law updates, business process changes, and programming updates in time for the start of the filing season. 

The IRS continues resuming and assessing operations following the 16-day closure. The IRS is seeing heavy demand on its toll-free telephone lines, walk-in sites and other services from taxpayers and tax practitioners.

During the closure, the IRS received 400,000 pieces of correspondence, on top of the 1 million items already being processed before the shutdown. 

The IRS encourages taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent, and to continue to use automated applications on IRS.gov whenever possible.

“In the days ahead, we will continue assessing the impact of the shutdown on IRS operations, and we will do everything we can to work through the backlog and pent-up demand,” Werfel said. “We greatly appreciate the patience of taxpayers and the tax professional community during this period.”

Back to Top

I-9 & E-Verify Webinars

American Flag

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is holding interactive Webinars for employers that use the E-Verify service. E-Verify is a free and easy Web-based service that lets participating employers quickly verify the eligibility of their new employees to work in the United States.

Pre-registration is not required for these Webinars, unless a register link is displayed next to the session. Visit this page to attend a session.

Form I-9

Get an overview of the Form I-9 process, including step by step instructions on how to complete each section, retention, and storage.

  • Tuesday, November 19 at 10 a.m. (AKST)
  • Thursday, November 21 at 7 a.m. (AKST)
  • Tuesday, November 26 at 10 a.m. (AKST)

E-Verify Overview

Learn how this free service works, how to enroll, employer responsibilities, program highlights, and see a demonstration of the program.

  • Tuesday, November 19 at 7 a.m. (AKST)
  • Thursday, November 21 at 10 a.m. (AKST)
  • Tuesday, November 26 at 7 a.m. (AKST)

E-Verify for Existing Users

A detailed review of E-Verify specifically for existing users. Topics include Form I-9, user roles, case alerts, how to handle a Tentative Nonconfirmation, and common user mistakes.

  • Friday, November 22 at 9 a.m. (AKST)
  • Wednesday, November 27 at 7 a.m. (AKST) 

E-Verify for Federal Contractors

For Federal contractors that have been or may be awarded a Federal contract with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Clause.

  • Wednesday, November 20 at 7 a.m. (AKST)

Spanish Form I-9 and E-Verify

Join this Spanish language Webinar and review the Form I-9 process, learn how E-Verify works, how to enroll, and employer responsibilities. 

  • Wednesday, November 20 at 11 a.m. (AKST)