DEAL OR NO DEAL _take my advice – DEAL__

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DEAL OR NO DEAL _take my advice – DEAL__ Powered By Docstoc
					                             The Woodlands Chapter
                           American Payroll Association
                           P.O. Box 9093, The Woodlands, Texas 77387

    Woodlands Chapter of the APA is affiliated with the American Payroll Institute, Inc. (dba American Payroll Association)
                                    but is an autonomous and independent organization.
                       American Payroll Institute, Inc. is not responsible for the liabilities, statements,
                                         or activities of any of its affiliated chapters.”

   The Treetop View                                  November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA

     Texas Payday Laws                Timothy B. Zwiefelhofer
                    Texas Workforce Commission
Our November chapter meeting featured a presentation by Tim Zwiefelhofer from the Texas
Workforce Commission. Tim spoke to our group about payroll payment requirements,
child labor laws, and overpayment recovery in Texas. He brought very helpful materials
along with him for all the attendees. Included in the handout materials was a large
handbook for Texas employers detailing all the ins and outs of Texas Payday Laws.

Tim’s presentation was informative and interesting. He really got the attention of all of us
when he described the process of retrieving overpayments. Simply put, in Texas, you can
take nothing out of an employee’s (or former employee’s) payroll payments unless the
employee agrees IN WRITING to the deduction. You may not subtract overpayments from
future payments, even in the case of gross error, unless the employee says it’s OK to
deduct. A blanket statement at hire or an entry in an employee handbook is not sufficient.
Each payment stands on its own and if you are going to dock an employee, you have to
have his or her authorization to make each specific deduction. Thanks, Tim, for important
(and eye-opening) information for all Texas employers and their payroll professionals.

          DEAL OR NO DEAL (take my advice – DEAL)!
The Woodlands Chapter will be purchasing The Payroll Source in bulk for use in the Spring
CPP/FPC Study Group. The more books we buy, the less they cost. So we decided to offer
our members the ability to buy The Payroll Source at a discount when we order our study
group texts. We will need to take orders through email so that we can determine how
many books to order and what the price will be, dependant on the quantity ordered. The
CPP/FPC exams in the Spring are based on 2009 law, so the text for the study group will be
the 2009 edition. However, we can also order 2010 books if anyone wants to take
advantage of the price reduction. Please send a note to the chapter web site to reserve
your copy. Please specify which year’s edition (or both!) you wish to order.
      The Treetop View                November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 2

               December 8, 2009 Awards Banquet
Please plan to join us for a catered Italian banquet on Tuesday, December, at
Hewitt Associates, 2601 Research Forest Drive, Building 3, The Woodlands, Texas
77380. We will honor each of the members and “Friends of the Chapter” who have
helped us to achieve success in 2009. The cost is $15.00 per person and includes
Italian buffet - meal, dessert, and soft drinks, water, or tea. We have a lot to
celebrate and hope to see you there. The meeting announcement will be coming
out shortly – so please sign up and come helps us recognize our achievements.

         Join TWAPA today! Your career is worth it!

   TWAPA named host chapter for Texas Payroll
      Conference, September 15-18, 2010
TWAPA has been named the host chapter for 2010 TPC. Committee work has begun. Come
     join us – we will need lots of help from our members to put on a “really big shoe”.

                                 - Start planning now to attend the

             21st Annual Texas Payroll Conference
                  September 15th - 18th 2010
 The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel The Woodlands, Texas

                                 TEXAS PAYROLL CONFERENCE

                                    (866) 849-6534 Voice Mail

                                         P. O. Box 191473

                                         Dallas, TX 75219

      The Treetop View           November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 3

                       Spring CPP/FPC Course Scheduled
Our Spring CPP/FPC study course has been slated for 10 weeks, for 5 hours on
Saturdays, beginning January 16, 2010. If you plan to sit for the exam, also plan to
join us at Hewitt each Saturday morning next spring. Our goal is help you PASS
the exam and our classes are designed with that goal in mind. There will be plenty
of CPPs on board to mentor you and to help you tailor your study, so that success
is achieved. Mark your calendars! (BTW, CPPs can earn 5 RCHs each week for
helping out as mentors, facilitators, speakers, etc. - great way to KEEP your CPP!)

                   The Woodlands Chapter Officers 2009-2010

          Office                      Officer                    Company

        President             Patty Lake Cady, CPP,          Hewitt Associates
                                    CPA, CTP

     President-Elect          Rebecca Schottie, CPP          Hewitt Associates

   Presidential Advisor        Carolyn Flores, CPP           Hewitt Associates
     (Immediate Past

        Treasurer               Brenda Dixon, CPP            Hewitt Associates

        Secretary               Melissa Marra, CPP

   Government Liaison            Olga Nesbit, CPP            Hewitt Associates

   Chapter Coordinator          Rebecca Ricks, CPP

   Chapter Webmaster               Paul Ramirez              Hewitt Associates

  America Works Because We’re Working for America.
        The Treetop View                    November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 4

                                 TWAPA Committees at Work
By-Laws Committee (Chair-Rita Epps) We need you and your ideas! Help us establish the ground rules
for our chapter – its By-Laws. The committee meets by telephone conference. If anyone is interested in
joining the By-law committee, please contact Rita Epps, Chairperson at 281-364-6433.

Finance committee (Chair-Leigh Longwell, CPP) The Finance committee has been hard at work on the
2009/2010 budget. Policies for meeting attendance, returned checks and expense reimbursement are
some of the items that are being addressed. We are developing the format for Standard Operating
Procedures to be used by each committee as well as a new format for the Financial Statement. Procedures
for monthly reconciliations are being addressed as well. The finance committee could not have made the
progress it has without dedicated members that are on a mission to make this chapter work. I would like to
thank them all. If anyone is interested in joining the Finance committee, please contact Leigh Longwell,
Chairperson at

Education Committee (Chair – Carolyn Flores, CPP) The Education committee has established the Spring
2010 CPP/FPC Study group schedule. Classes will run for 10 weeks, each Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at
Hewitt. The committee also recommended that The Payroll Source be made available at a discount for members,
whether or not they are participating in the study group classes. Additionally, the committee is investigating
the possibility of offering a post-year-end half-day workshop on Year-End Lessons Learned. (More to
come on that later.) If anyone is interested in joining the Education committee, please contact Carolyn
Flores, Chairperson at

Community Service Committee (Chair – Loretta Kramer) The “Charity” committee has found very
deserving charitable organizations for TWAPA to support. In December we will support the very worthy
“Toys for Tots” effort. Please bring new, unwrapped toys to help make some children’s Christmas. Yes,
Virginia, there is Santa Claus and it is US!

           Volunteer and make a difference!
      Upcoming TWAPA Charity Initiatives
December – Toys for Tots (help make some kids’ Christmas special)
   The Treetop View November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 5
         Upcoming TWAPA 2009-10 Chapter Meeting Schedule

Date and Location     Topic/ Charity Drive                Speaker
 December 8, 2009      Annual Awards Banquet        Recognition Committee
                       Hewitt Associates, 2601       Italian Buffet dinner
                       Research Forest Drive,        $15.00          RSVP
                              Building 3

                        Charity: Toys for Tots

   January 2010              No Meeting                    Year-End

  February 9, 2010       New Hire Reporting        Alicia Alvarado, Office of
                                                      the Texas Attorney
                             Charity: TBA                   General

   March 9, 2010          Projects in Payroll      Neal Garner, CPP, OPI-SCI
                            Charity: TBA

   April 13, 2010      Creating a Payroll Vision       Ron Cunningham
                             Charity: TBA

   May 11, 2010       The Successful Payroll Job       Brandi Alexander
                            Charity: TBA           Robert Half International

   June 8, 2010                 TBA                          TBA
                             Charity: TBA

   July 13, 2010       SSA’s Business Services           Terry Stivers
                        Online (BSO) System             Social Security
                            Charity: TBA                Administration

We need you and you need us! Join TWAPA TODAY!

        The Treetop View                  November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 6

                  Committee                                          Volunteers

       Program Committee is responsible for                          Open – CHAIR
Arrangements <> Programs <> Regularly Scheduled             Rebecca Ricks, CPP (Distribution)
    Meetings (locations and equipment) <> RCH                Joyce Davidson (Arrangements)
  Distribution <> Meeting Buddy <> Table Host <>           Kathleen Chaddick (Arrangements)
                    Distribution.                              Nan Rocka (Arrangements)
                                                      Patty Cady, CPP, CPA, CTP (Programs, RCHs)

Nomination & Elections Committee is responsible                     Open - CHAIR
            for the election process.                             Brenda Dixon, CPP

     Education Committee is responsible for           Carolyn Flores, CPP (Study Group) – CHAIR
      Workshops <> CPP/FPC Study Group.                            Olga Nesbit, CPP
                                                                       Rita Epps
                                                                 Rebecca Ricks, CPP
                                                              Patty Cady, CPP, CPA, CTP

 Membership Committee is responsible for Open                Jane McDonald, CPP - CHAIR
 enrollment <> Membership Drive <> Membership                      Sue Bohac, CPP
                  Directory                                    Melissa Marra, CPP, FPC

  Finance Committee is responsible for Audit <>              Leigh Longwell, CPP – CHAIR
 Annual Report <> Annual Budget <> Monthly and                   Carolyn Flores, CPP
Quarterly Reports <> Recording and Receipting paid                 Olga Nesbit, CPP
                 and unpaid dues                                   Judy Walker, CPP

Historical Committee is responsible for Progress of         Melissa Marra, CPP, FPC- CHAIR
              history <> Pictorial.

 Liaison Services/ Special Events Committee is                 Kathleen Williams – CHAIR
responsible for Congress <> National contests <>                 Jane McDonald, CPP
Texas Payroll Conference <> APA’s Chapter of the              Patty Cady, CPP, CPA, CTP
     Year Contest <>Awards and recognition.                       Brenda Dixon, CPP
                                                            Olga Nesbit, CPP, Subchair, TPC

Community Service Committee is responsible for                 Loretta Kramer - CHAIR
               charity events.                                Patty Cady, CPP, CPA, CTP

By-Laws Committee is responsible for updating the                Rita Epps – CHAIR
             Chapter By-Laws                                     Carolyn Flores, CPP
                                                                  Olga Nesbit, CPP
                                                                 Melissa Marra, CPP

                     Join TWAPA and make a difference!
   The Treetop View   November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 7

    “Payroll is the reason people come to work.”

           November Charity Event
TWAPA supported Montgomery Youth Center
in a BIG way at our November meeting. We
collected $100 and several blankets for the
kids. Thanks to everyone for your generosity!

National APA FREE Chapter Leadership
Webinar, December 11, 2009, 12:00 noon
 – 1:30 p.m. – register on APA Website
      The Treetop View         November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 8

       OK – Time’s Up, 2009 Charter Members!
TWAPA Fiscal Year begins July 1 each year. Annual dues are payable
NOW. The dues schedule is as follows:

Regular member (Member of National APA)                                 $36
Associate member (Sponsored by a Regular Member)                        $45
Corporate membership (up to 5 members – 1 must be a National member)   $144
Please make your check to The Woodlands Chapter APA or
TWAPA. Bring your check to the meeting or mail to the
mailbox, P.O. Box 9093, The Woodlands, TX 77387.

LAST CHANCE!!!! Note to Charter Members: Your charter
membership will expire if you don’t renew right away.
Maintain your charter member status by sending your check
today! After November, charter membership will expire if not
renewed. Don’t let that happen to you! RENEW NOW!

Group Dates Set - 10 weeks, Saturdays 8:00 a.m. – 1:00
p.m., starting January 16, 2010. We will see you there!
        The Treetop View                  November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 9


 National APA Education Grants Available – 1 could be yours!
The American Payroll Association, Global Cash Card, and Kronos would like to honor payroll professionals
for their commitment to education and professional growth. Ten deserving APA members will receive APA
training and resources at absolutely no cost through the Payroll Education Grants.
                                       Don’t delay — apply today!
                             The application deadline is March 15, 2010.
APA, Global Cash Card, and Kronos Payroll Education Grants will be presented at the 28th Annual Congress
in Washington, D.C., May 25-29.
                                              APA will award:
                                  One Complete APA Payroll Training Package
                                      Two APA Course/Conference Grants
                                     Three The Payroll Source® Grants

                                  Global Cash Card will award:
                              One Global Cash Card Payroll Education Grant
                              One Global Cash Card Payroll Publication Grant
                                       Kronos will award:

                                   One Kronos Payroll Education Grant
                                   One Kronos Payroll Publication Grant

             For more information, visit

TWAPA Member and Chapter Coordinator, Rebecca Ricks, CPP, was the first Kronos
Payroll Education Grant winner. So it can be done! Nominate yourself – you could win big!


       2010 American Payroll Association 28th Annual
                   Washington, D.C., May 25-29, 2010
       The Treetop View                   November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 10

                                         Job Search Tip
                                       Holiday Networking Tips

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is upon us. Many put their job search on hold
during the holidays, yet there are so many prime opportunities to further your career
and to learn about new opportunities during this busy season. It's all about focus,
being social with friends, family and colleagues, and best of all having fun! The
holidays present a great opportunity to get out and network. Here are a few special
tips for networking during the holiday season.

   •   Be open to invitations. The holiday parties or social events put on by your friends,
       neighbors and your professional affiliations are often a great way to mingle with
       professionals who you wouldn't otherwise see on a regular basis. These are often the most
       attended events of the entire year.
   •   It's not about you. I say that a little tongue in cheek because yes, you want to eventually
       turn your network into your greatest resource for your next career. However, if you find an
       interest in another person, they will naturally find an interest in you. Always start
       conversations with people at networking events with questions about them. What's new in
       their lives and their careers? What do they see for 2010? Are there any challenges they'll be
       facing? The conversation will eventually turn back to you for your turn. I promise.
   •   Be ready to brag... a bit. Be ready with just a few stories that really demonstrate real
       accomplishments. When asked about what you've been up to, be sure to answer with more
       than just "Work has been really busy."
   •   Share your goals.         If one of your goals is to obtain a new post as an Accounting Supervisor,
       then share it. You never know who might be able to help you accomplish your goal. Find out from
       each person you talk to who in their organization is responsible for that type of work. Ask whether
       you can follow up and receive an introduction.
   •   Be a source of professional cheer.                Go ahead. Be the life of the party... within reason.
       Your behavior at social events will reflect on your professional life too. Be a resource to others,
       bring joy and good cheer. They will remember it later.    Source: APA/AAPA Job Board News
       The Treetop View              November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 11

      Compliance Corner by Olga Nesbit, CPP, Government Liaison

Federal News
Name and SSN Match

On October 7, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule
rescinding its "no-match" rule. In August, the DHS issued a proposed rule about rescinding
the no-match rule after the agency conducted a review of existing programs pursuant to its
updated regulatory and enforcement agenda. After the review, the DHS decided to focus its
employment authorization enforcement efforts on increased compliance through improved
verification, including participation in E-Verify, ICE Mutual Agreement Between
Government and Employers, and other programs.

The no-match rule was originally issued in August 2007. It has been on hold since October
2007, when a federal district court blocked it in response to a lawsuit filed by the American
Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and a coalition of business groups
(AFL-CIO v. Napolitano). The no-match rule outlined responsibilities and safe harbor
procedures for employers that received notice from the Social Security Administration (SSA)
or DHS of discrepancies between government and employee-provided identity and
employment eligibility information.

The final rule abandons the no-match rule's definition of constructive knowledge. Employers
that receive no-match letters will not be deemed to have constructive knowledge that a
worker might not be authorized to work in the U.S. The final rule is effective November 6,

The full text of the final rule is available at:

Agencies Ordered to Encourage Federal Contractors to Bar Employees From Text
Messaging While Driving

An Executive Order issued by President Obama on October 1, 2009 prohibits federal
employees from text messaging while driving and also directs federal agencies to encourage
federal contractors to adopt and enforce similar policies. In procurement contracts, grants,
and cooperative agreements entered into after October 1, federal contractors and
subcontractors are to be asked to have policies that ban text messaging while driving
company-owned or company-rented vehicles or while driving vehicles owned, leased, or
rented by the federal government. The policies are also intended to cover federal contractors
driving privately owned vehicles while on official government business or when performing
any work for the government.
       The Treetop View               November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 12

Compliance Corner, continued

Texting is broadly defined as reading from or entering data into any handheld or other
electronic device for purposes that include SMS texting, emailing, instant messaging,
obtaining navigational information, or engaging in any other form of electronic data retrieval
or communication. Drivers who are temporarily stopped on the road by traffic, traffic lights,
and stop signs are deemed to be still "driving" for purposes of the policy.

The Executive Order is available at:

GINA Interim Final Rules Released by Agencies

On October 7, 2009, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) released interim final rules prohibiting discrimination
based on genetic information in health insurance coverage and group health plans. The
interim final rules only apply to sections 101 through 103 of Title I of the Genetic
Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) (P.L. 110-233). Signed into law by
President Bush on May 21, 2008, Title I of GINA prohibits group health plans or health
insurers from requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information for underwriting
purposes, to deny health coverage, or to raise premiums. Title II of GINA bars employers,
employment agencies, labor unions, and training programs from using genetic information to
discriminate in employment. The health insurance provisions became effective for plan years
that began after May 21, 2009. (For calendar year group health plans, the effective date is
January 1, 2010.) The employment provisions are effective November 21, 2009.

The interim final rules are effective for both group and individual markets on December 7,
2009. Public comments are due by January 5, 2010.

The GINA interim final rules are available at:

Employer-Provided Adoption Benefits

National Adoption Month is celebrated during November, with a particular focus this year on
November 21, which marks the tenth anniversary of National Adoption Day. The day serves
as a day of celebration for adoptive families across the country. In addition, many U.S. courts
use it as an opportunity to finalize adoptions from foster care. Since 2000, the adoptions of
more than 25,000 children have been finalized on National Adoption Day.
       The Treetop View                  November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 13

Compliance Corner, continued

Social Security Administration Releases 2010 Indexed Figures

The Social Security Administration (SSA) released the Social Security 2010 indexed figures
on October 15. The SSA announced that there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
for 2010. According to the SSA news release, this will be the first year without an automatic
COLA since they went into effect in 1975. Some other changes that would normally take
effect in January 2010 based on the increase in average wages also will not take effect, even
though average wages did increase. Since there is no COLA, the law prohibits an increase in
the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax as well as the retirement
earnings test exempt amounts. These amounts will remain unchanged in 2010.

The key figures are shown below:

There is no COLA for 2010. (The 2009 COLA was 5.8%.) The Social Security Act provides that the
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits increase automatically each year if there is
an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and
Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year to the third quarter of the current
year. This year there was no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter
of 2009, so there was no COLA increase.

The 2010 Social Security wage base will remain at $106,800 (the 2009 amount).

The FICA tax rate remains at 7.65%: 6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare combined. These
are not indexed amounts and currently are not scheduled to change in the future.

For someone retiring at full retirement age in 2010, the maximum benefit is $2,346. (The 2009 amount
was $2,323.)

*Note: For retirees born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is age 66. Full retirement age will
gradually increase to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

The most recent National Average Wage (NAW) amount is $41,334.97 for 2008; (the NAW for 2007
was $40,405.48).
       The Treetop View                  November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 14

Compliance Corner, continued

The 2010 formula is used for retirement benefits for individuals who are age 62 in 2010 and for most
death and disability benefits if death or disability occurs in 2009. The 2010 formula is:

       90% of the first $761 of Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME)+
       32% of the AIME over $761 and through $4,586 +
       15% of the AIME over $4,586

The family maximum formula, for workers who are age 62 in 2010, and for most workers who become
disabled or die in 2010, is:

       150% of the first $972 of Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) +
       272% of the worker's PIA over $972 through $1,403+
       134% of the worker's PIA over $1,403 through $1,830+
       175% of PIA in excess of $1,830

For individuals under full retirement age, the annual earnings test limit remains at the 2009 amount
of $14,160.
For individuals attaining full retirement age in 2010, the annual earnings test limit for the months
before reaching full retirement age remains at $37,680. There is no annual earning test for individuals
who have attained full retirement age.

Information is also available        through   Social   Security   Administration's        Web   site   at:

A    fact  sheet    on    the     SSA's    2010    Social   Security      changes     is   available    at:

President Signs Defense Authorization Bill Into Law; Includes FMLA Military Leave

President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (H.R.
2647 and accompanying conference report) on October 28, 2009. The law includes an expansion of
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions related to qualifying exigency leave and military
caregiver leave. Qualifying exigency leave will be available to family members of active duty military,
and military caregiver leave will be available to family members of veterans. The House approved the
conference report on October 8 with the Senate approving the report on October 22.

The full text of the conference report is available at:   

The full text of the H.R. 2647 is available at:              
        The Treetop View                  November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 15

Compliance Corner, continued

President Signs DHS Appropriations Bill Into Law; Includes Three-Year E-Verify

On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed into law the $42.8 billion fiscal year 2010 Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill (H.R. 2892 and accompanying conference report). The
law includes a number of provisions related to immigration, among them a three-year extension of the
E-Verify program. E-Verify is the government's voluntary, Web-based electronic eligibility verification
program offered by the DHS and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), along with
the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify enables employers to compare employee
information taken from the Form I-9 against records kept in DHS and SSA databases. The conference
report passed the House on October 15 and the Senate on October 20.

The full text of the conference report is available at:    
The    full    text  of  H.R.   2892     is   available   at:

PBGC Announces Maximum Insurance Benefit for 2010

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced on October 27 that the maximum
annual insurance benefit for participants in underfunded pension plans terminating in 2010 will
remain at $54,000 for those who retire at age 65. The 2010 maximum insurance benefit is unchanged
from the 2009 amount because the benefit is indexed to a contribution and benefit base in Social
Security law, which will not increase for 2010. The amount is higher for participants who retire at a
later age and lower for participants who retire at a younger age or elect survivor benefits. According to
the PBGC, the "overwhelming majority" of the participants in plans taken over by the agency
experience no reduction in benefits due to the legal limits on coverage.

The PBGC announcement, including a chart with the 2010 annual and monthly maximums for retirees
from age 75 to age 45, is available at:

HHS Issues Interim Final Rule on Civil Penalties for HIPAA Breaches
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an interim final rule on October 29 that
amends enforcement regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of
1996 (HIPAA) to incorporate civil monetary penalties under the Health Information Technology for
Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. HITECH addressed privacy and security issues related
to the electronic transmission of health information. Under the interim final rule, covered entities are
subject to a tiered penalty structure based on four categories of HIPAA violations. The categories range
from the lowest, which applies to a violation that a covered entity was not aware of and would not have
known about even if it had exercised "reasonable diligence," to the highest, which applies to a violation
that was due to willful neglect and not corrected within a 30-day time period. The penalty for the
lowest category ranges from a minimum of $100 per violation up to a maximum of $50,000 per
violation. The penalty for the highest category is set at a flat amount of $50,000 per violation. The
penalties are capped at $1.5 million annually for multiple violations of the same provision. The HHS is
asking for public comments on the interim final rule by December 29, 2009.

The full text of the HHS final rule is available at:
       The Treetop View              November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 16

Compliance Corner, continued
State News
As a result of the passage of Assembly Bill x4_17, the California Withholding Schedules for
2009 have been replaced effective November 1, 2009, to accelerate withholding.

Supplemental wages rate has increased:
Supplemental wages - 6.6%
Stock Option and Bonuses - Paid after 11/01/2009 - 10.23%

See the updated DE44 - Employer's Guide Effective 11/01/2009 on California’s state website.

Recently enacted legislation may require catch-up withholding for certain individuals:
Single Filers with Annual Earnings More Than $500,000
Head of Household Filers with Annual Earnings More Than $800,000, or
Joint Filers with Annual Earnings More Than $1 Million.

Employers are required to adjust the withholding amount for employees within these tax
brackets to reflect the 6.5% rate.

The Indiana Department of Revenue (IDOR) has revised its county income tax rate tables,
effective October 1, 2009. Rates and additional information is available at

The State of Minnesota is ending its income tax reciprocity program with Wisconsin, effective
January 1, 2010. As a result, Minnesota and Wisconsin residents who work across the border
and meet minimum filing requirements must file returns in both states next year.

New York
Employers can electronically file Form MTA-305, Employer's Quarterly Metropolitan
Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax Return
Individuals can electronically file Form MTA-5, Estimated Metropolitan
Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax Payment Voucher

To file and pay online, you must register with the Online Tax Center. To register for the
Online Tax Center or electronically file your MCTMT return and make a payment, see:

We've also recently published new MCTMT frequently asked questions (FAQs). In addition,
please note that the rule for household employers has changed. They are not subject to the
MCTMT on wages paid to household employees.

To read the FAQs and get more information about this tax, see:
       The Treetop View                 November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 17

Compliance Corner, continued

South Dakota
Due to a permanent provision in South Dakota law automatically assesses a surcharge to
employers when the State Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund falls to low levels. The
Surtax is 1.5% on taxable wages paid from October 1 through December 30, 2009.

The surcharge is further projected to remain in effect at the 1.5 percent rate through June 30,
2010 because the Trust Fund will have a negative balance on December 31, 2009 and on
March 31, 2010.

Any chapter members that require additional information on recent regulatory changes or
would like to see a particular Federal, State and/or Local regulatory requirement detailed,
please contact Olga Nesbit at

What a bargain TWAPA Membership is! Just look back
at the preceding pages and see the outstanding value!
                       Job Search Tip             The Art of the Cover Letter

Writing letters is a lost art... or is it? We may no longer pick up the quill and scribble long
narratives by hand. However, many of us write more emails or text messages in a day than we
make phone calls. The pitfall is that a majority of these communications are short, quick and to the
point. And in a text message, grammar and spelling just don’t matter. This is not the case with
cover letters.

A cover letter is your first and maybe your only introduction into a potential new employer. I call it
an art because it’s not an exact science. Think of a skilled painter. They learn many of the same
techniques, yet each painter’s piece is personal. It reflects that artist’s personality and finesse.

First the skill… I suggest a common cover letter is no more than 3 to 5 paragraphs in length. The
first paragraph lists the title of the position. The middle paragraph(s) explain to the reader why you
are a fit for the position. This might include pointing out certain qualities on your resume or where
you’ve obtained a skill. The final paragraph asks for a next step such as a specific time for an
interview or a follow up. Be careful to check for correct grammar and spelling. It’s especially
important       to   have      the     correct    spelling   of   the    hiring    manager's     name.

Then comes the art… Reread the letter to ensure that there’s just a bit of you in there. Have you
used your personal language? Could you include a sentence explaining why you’d really love to
work for that employer? How could you contribute to their success? Be sure to communicate in the
same form that the employer has. Such as if they’ve asked for an email application, then include
your cover letter as the body of the email. Be creative and you’ll soon master the art of cover

Source: APA/AAPA Job Board News
       The Treetop View                 November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 18

The following information was submitted by Brenda Dixon, CPP, TWAPA Treasurer.

                   Veterans Affairs Educational Benefits
Members of the military and their eligible family members can now get top-level payroll training
through their military benefits. Payroll 101 and Payroll 201 courses are now officially approved
for reimbursement through the military’s G.I. Bill. Learn more about other G.I. Bill-approved
education assistance, as well as how you can cash in on APA’s Payroll 101 and Payroll 201

Military Members & Veterans

Active duty military members with 2 years of service and veterans are eligible to use their benefits
towards an Excelsior College professional development program. In order to be eligible you will
have to follow the instructions below. You will need to register and pay for your professional
development program and you will receive a monthly check while in the program based on full
time or part time status. (Note: Active duty soldiers cannot receive more than program costs
reported or enrollment into half time or full time status, whichever is less.)

*Approved training under the Post 9/11 GI Bill includes vocational/technical training with
no money out of pocket. Tutorial assistance, and licensing and certification test
reimbursement is also included.

There are over 50 VA approved programs that are available for you to get started in a new career
or advance at your current job. Choose From Ten Different Educational Benefits Programs. There
are currently ten veterans benefits educational programs for which Excelsior College students may
be eligible. The Veterans Administration determines the type of benefits our students may receive.
How much funding you may receive depends primarily on the following few factors:

Educational Program:
      Post 9/11 G.I. Bill (Chapter 33)*
      Montgomery G.I. Bill -- Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)
      Montgomery G.I. Bill -- Active Duty (Chapter 30)
      Reserves Educational Assistance Program (REAP - Chapter 1607)
      Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP - Chapter 32)
      Old G.I. Bill (Chapter 34)-noncontributory, converted to Chapter 30)
      Educational Assistance Test Program (Section 901)
      Educational Assistance Pilot Program (Section 903)
      Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 35)
      Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors (REPS)

Continued next page
       The Treetop View               November 2009 Newsletter of TWAPA pg 20

Filing forms to the Department of Veterans Affairs:

If you have never used or established your benefits previously, you will need to complete VA form
22-1990. If you have used your benefits previously, you are required to complete VA form 22-
1995 (change of school form) and list Excelsior College as your parent school. You can download
these forms and mail them directly to the Department of Veterans Affairs or complete them online
at Information regarding your
current pay rate, can be found on the VA Web site.

Using your benefits for professional development programs at Excelsior College:

Once you have registered for your professional development program you need to notify our
Veterans Affairs office by completing and submitting a letter of intention (provided below). The
DVA will send you a monthly check based on your enrollment status (either half-time or full-

If you have any questions we encourage you to contact our VA Counselor in the Financial
Aid Office. You may also email our VA Counselor with questions and messages at
       Letter of Intention and Instructions --Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits
Military Spouse Career Advanced Accounts (MyCAA)

The Department of Defense has implemented a new Military Spouse Career Advanced
Accounts (MyCAA) program that offers up to $6,000 to military spouses who are interested in
pursuing degree programs, licenses or credentials leading to careers in high growth, high demand
portable career fields. MyCAA financial assistance pays for expenses such as post-secondary
education and training (associate to post doctoral), tuition, licensing, and credentialing fees.

To get started, eligible spouses should establish a MyCAA Account by visiting the MyCAA
website. Once spouses provide their registration information at the portal, DOD will verify their
MyCAA eligibility and the spouse will be notified of their eligibility status through the MyCAA
messaging system.

*Click here to read the latest article on Center for Professional Development students using the
MyCAA program.
Military Tuition Assistance

This program is available to active duty personnel who meet basic eligibility requirements
established by their branch of the military. It can cover up to 100% of the cost of eligible
educational expenses (generally, college course tuition). For more information, contact your base
Education Office.

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