© 2020 American Payroll Institute, Inc. April 6, 2020 Volume 22 Issue 7 COVID-19-Related Child Support and Garnishment Guidance IOffice n light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the federal of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and several states have issued guidance or updates related to child support and garnishments. Child support Federal. The OCSE has confirmed that e-IWO is up and running and state agencies continue to process child support payments. California. The California Department of Child Support Services has a webpage providing child support- related employer updates during the COVID-19 crisis. Employers are strongly encouraged to sign up to remit child support payments electronically to help eliminate potential delays in processing payments via paper check. Instructions for signing up for EFT, via ACH Credit, ACH Debit, or credit card, or via a bulk-file upload option are provided on the website. New Jersey. The New Jersey Child Support Program provides COVID-19-related updates. Child support payments continue to be processed and the Employer Services Center remains available for employers. Information on electronic payment options is also provided. Oregon. The Oregon Department of Justice (ODOJ) has a COVID-19 FAQ webpage, which provides answers to common employer questions. According to the ODOJ, businesses that have temporarily closed due to COVID-19 will not be sanctioned if they do not respond (e.g., to IWOs, National Medical Support Notices) within a required time limit, but they do need to respond as soon as possible. Instructions in the order provide guidance for withholding limits that might apply if an employee is temporarily working reduced hours. If an employee is not working enough hours to qualify for health insurance, the employer is not required to continue providing insurance pursuant to the National Medical Support Notice. Employers should notify the Division of Child Support if the children are unenrolled, so the case can be updated. Texas. The Texas Attorney General posted child support guidance related to COVID-19 indicating that although most local child support offices are currently closed to the public they are in the process of transitioning to virtual services. During the transition, services will continue to be provided online including via a new chat function and by telephone. Delays in the processing of child support payments are not anticipated. Wyoming. The Wyoming Child Support Program provides COVID-19 updates on an ongoing basis. Any changes to local child support office hours or services are also provided. Other garnishments Kentucky tax levies. The governor has directed the Department of Revenue (DOR) to temporarily pause enforced collection methods, such as tax levies, while the state deals with the economic fallout of the coronavirus. The DOR sent out related releases and will provide additional guidance on its website soon. Nevada garnishments. Some courts have issued COVID-19-related administrative orders directing that as of March 17, 2020, courts can issue stays for writs of garnishments. During this period of time, liens should not be deducted and payments should not be sent to payees. Courts will not be sending releases to employers, so employers should check a specific court’s website for the latest updates. In consultation with Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Kristina Pickering, the district courts and limited jurisdiction courts across the state have entered orders imposing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be viewed on the public portal. IRS tax levies. Taxpayers unable to comply with an existing Installment Agreement, including a Form 2159 agreement, can suspend payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020. The IRS will not default any Installment Agreements during this period, but by law interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances [IRS, News Release, IR-2020-59, 3-25-20]. Federal student loans. Under the federal CARES Act, effective March 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is suspending all payments due for student loans that are held by the DOE until September 30, 2020. During the suspension period: (1) no interest will accrue (2) each month will be treated as if the borrower had made a payment for the purposes of: (a) loan forgiveness and (b) rehabilitation programs and (3) all involuntary collection, including wage garnishment, will be suspended. Notice will be provided to covered borrowers within 15 days of the March 27 enactment date of the CARES Act [H.R. 748, L. 2020]. Note: Starting with this issue of PAYSTATE UPDATE, references to The Payroll Source® refer to the 2020 edition of the book, which is printed and available online on the APA Bookshelf. The online version will be updated throughout the year.
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