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APA Comments on OCSE Revised Income Withholding Order

BY: Alice P. Jacobsohn, Esq. | 09/09/20

APA recommended additional clarity on the proposed Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) revised income withholding order (IWO) for child support. The OCSE submitted a revised IWO to the Office of Management and Budget for approval in June and published it for one last round of public comments. The existing IWO expires on August 31, 2020.

APA’s recommendations included:

Independent contractors. APA recommended adding a checkbox to identify independent contractors as more states are requiring withholding for these workers. Historically, an IWO comes to employers through payroll departments. Payroll then determines whether the garnishee is an employee. Independent contractors do not appear in the payroll system because they are paid through accounts payable. If an IWO identified the garnishee as an independent contractor, the form could be transferred to accounts payable. A checkbox would help to prevent an employer from rejecting the IWO when the garnishee is not an employee.

Specific percentages. The revised IWO instructions require the sender to identify the percentage of income to withhold. APA asked OCSE to narrow these instructions to require the sender to enter a specific maximum percentage for the Consumer Credit Protection Act limits. “Employers often receive IWOs that have a percentage range (i.e., 50%-65%), which is insufficient for employers to determine the percentage of income to withhold,” APA said.

Other recommendations. APA asked OCSE to include an explanation stating that when an extra pay period (53/27 instead of 52/26) occurs, the amount withheld per pay period might not match the amount directed. The instructions should require a valid federal employer identification number on the paper form, which the e-IWO requires. OCSE also should allow courts and private attorneys to use the e-IWO.

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Alice P. Jacobsohn, Esq. is Director of Government Relations for the APA.