November | Volume #100
December 12 and 13 in Anchorage
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:
Leave Without Pay
Voluntary Compliance Program
for Gaming Activities
Contractors vs. Employees
Health Care Information
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New Chief Financial Officer and Member Services Manager
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
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.
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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
The statute reads as follows:
AS 39.35.255 CONTRIBUTIONS BY EMPLOYERS
(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
- (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.
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.
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.
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IRS YouTube Video:
Tax Scams: English
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
“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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on how to report
phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website,
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IRS Sees Heavy Demand As Operations Resume
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
“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.”
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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.
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)
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)