Chapter 11: Deferred Compensation

Overview

Summary

The Deferred Compensation Program (DCP) is an Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 457 program that provides an opportunity for employees to set aside pretax dollars into a supplemental retirement account. Deferred compensation is an agreement between employee and employer to postpone part of the employee's income until separation from service.

Amounts deferred are held in trust by the Washington State Investment Board for the exclusive benefit of program participants and their beneficiaries. Income deferred reduces the taxable income reported on the employee's Form W-2 for the calendar year in which it was deferred.

Any state employee (full time, part time, working a regular schedule or career seasonal) and any elected or appointed official of the state is eligible to participate. Political subdivision employees may participate if their employer offers DCP as an employee benefit.

As of Jan. 1 2017, new full-time state employees will be automatically enrolled into the Deferred Compensation Program (DCP) unless the employee chooses to opt out within 30 days from date of official notification. Default contributions are based on 3% of the employee’s pretax employment income. Employees will retain the same flexibility to change or suspend DCP contributions.

Local government employers may choose to participate in automatic enrollment provisions for their newly hired, full-time employees. To sign up for auto enrollment, local government employers must submit a signed resolution to DRS.

Who Can Participate?

DCP is available to all state agencies and higher education institutions. Political subdivision and school district employers may add this program to their benefit package, provided their governing body adopts a resolution. Information regarding agency enrollment is available by calling the DRS Education & Outreach Team at 360-664-7200, option '6', 800-547-6657, option '6', option '6' or emailing us.

Employer Responsibilities

Reporting Frequency and Deadlines

Reporting and Your Payroll Cycle
  • The DCP transmittal report must reflect participants' deferral information as of each payday. Employers with more than one payday in a month must submit a DCP transmittal report for each payday.
  • One exception to this rule applies to bi-weekly payroll cycles. DRS expects only two reports-even for the two months with three pay dates.
  • Each payroll period, both the transmittal report and the payment must be received before you will receive your next DCP transmittal report or a new Deferral Change Report.
Reporting Deadlines

Transmittals more than five business days past the payroll date are late.

Before DRS Can Invest the Member's Dollars

Both the transmittal report and the payment must be received and reconciled before the member's money can be invested. Web Based Employer Transmittal (WBET) Reporters - your report will remain in "Processing" status until payment is received. No Deferral Change Report will be available until both the transmittal and payment are received and reconciled.

Employee Enrollment

For newly-hired, full-time employees of state agencies and higher education (excluding student employees), employers must report employee profile information to DRS by the end of the payroll cycle for hire date. This is referred to as automatic enrollment. See Chapter 8 for technical requirements.

Employees not covered under automatic enrollment may enroll in DCP by completing a DCP Enrollment Form available on the DCP website. When eligible to begin deferrals, the participant will be listed on the DCP Deferral Change Report sent to employers.

All employers will receive the Deferral Change Report electronically. See Employer Web-Based Services.

The DCP Deferral Change Report will reflect the pay date deferrals should begin and the amount elected by the employee for both new participants and participants who are requesting a change to their deferral amount. Political subdivision and higher education employers cannot start, stop, increase or decrease an employee's deferral until the change is on the DCP Deferral Change Report.

In 2017, the maximum amount participants may defer from their annual compensation is $18,000 ($1,500 monthly).

Maximum Pre-Tax Contribution $18,000
Age 50 and Over Catch-up Contribution additional $6,000
3-Year Catch-up Contribution additional $18,000
Enrollment Corrections

These are two common errors when enrolling a new participant, and how to fix them.

  1. You deducted money from the participant's paycheck, but the person is not appearing on the DCP Deferral Change Report or the DCP Transmittal Report:

    The member needs to send DRS the Participant Agreement. Until we receive it and the waiting period is observed, the member will not appear on the reports.

    If you have already deducted the money from the participant's paycheck, email ESS with participant's name, SSN, your DCP account number and amount withheld in error. DRS will hold the money until the participant meets the wait period to begin deferring.

    On the next payroll, when the enrollee appears on the DCP Deferral Change Report, change the deferral amount to zero on the Deferral Detail in the DCP Transmittal Report until the money withheld equals the amount that should be sent to DRS from the participant's begin date forward.

  2. You didn't deduct money from the participant's paycheck, but the person is appearing on the DCP Deferral Change Report:

    Talk to the participant. Do they want additional money withheld from their next paycheck to correct the error? If so, adjust their next deduction to include the amount they want to make up. Adjust the deferral amount on the Deferral Detail screen in your DCP Transmittal Report.

    If they do not want the extra money withheld, change the deferral amount to zero on the Deferral Detail screen for that transmittal. Begin deducting and reporting the correct amount on the next payroll.

Changing and Suspending Deferrals

Employees May Change or Stop their Payroll Deductions

Employees may change or stop their payroll deduction at any time by calling the DCP Information Line at 888-327-5596 and following the main menu. Employees can also make changes by accessing their online accounts.

Employers Must Refer to the Change Report Each Reporting Period before Taking Payroll Deductions

All deferral changes, including suspensions, will be reported to the political subdivision or higher education institution employers on the Deferral Change Report electronically for use in updating the payroll system.

Refer to Enrollment Corrections for how to correct new participant enrollment errors.

Sample Deferral Change Report
Sample DCP Change Report.

Note: Participants on the Deferral Change Report will be on the Transmittal Report except for participants listed on the Deferral Change Report with zero deferral amount.

Deferrals from Lump Sum Payments

Employees may prearrange deferring a portion of lump sum payments such as unused annual and sick leave, or incentive payments thirty days prior to payment. Employees may email us to start the process or if they have questions.

State Agencies

Deferrals from these types of lump sum payments are electronically transmitted to the payroll system after being updated by DRS. The following instructions are for deferrals from lump sum payments.

  1. When the lump sum is requested DRS will email the appropriate payroll with:
    • Name of the participant
    • Amount of lump sum
    • Date DRS expects the deferral
  2. The deferral must be taken only from the lump sum amount and must be the only deferral taken on the payroll date indicated.

If you have questions about the lump sum or if it will not be paid on the date indicated on the email, contact DCP customer service by calling 360-664-7111, or email us. If you need help with payroll data input, contact the Service Center at 360-664-6400.

Political Subdivisions and Higher Education Institutions

For questions related to deferrals from lump sum payments for political subdivisions or higher education employees, contact DCP customer service by calling 360-664-7111, or email us.

Transmittal Reporting

Employers may report through Web-based Employer Transmittal System (WBET), or send files through secure file transfer (SFT). All employers will receive the Deferral Change Report electronically. See Employer Web-Based Services.

Electronic Method - WBET

DRS has established an electronic means of reporting DCP transmittals called the Web-Based Employer Transmittal (WBET). This is an Internet-based application that is available to all political subdivision employers that have Internet access.

WBET online information. Access this page to:

  • Sign up
  • Learn about the application
  • Learn how to use the application
  • Log on
  • See other available services

Have questions or problems on WBET? Employer Support Services provides support Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. Contact them via email or call 800-547-6657, extension 47200.

Name/Address Changes for DCP Quarterly Statements

Employers are responsible for transmitting employee name or address changes to DRS on the transmittal as necessary. Changes reported on the retirement system transmittal report don't have to be reported on the DCP report. Quarterly statements (for DCP and Plan 3) will be mailed to employees' reported addresses.

Deferred Compensation Publications

DRS provides publications to assist employers with the DCP transmittal. Please refer to the following:

Quick Start -- DCP: DRS Electronic Services

Quick Start DCP is a one-page guide for DCP. It provides a summary of the steps for submitting an online DCP report.

Using the DRS Web-Based Services

Refer to the Deferred Compensation section of this 30-page publication for instructions on how to submit a DCP transmittal, how to use the change report screen, how to temporarily suspend a participant, and other important actions needed for reporting DCP participants.

Submitting Payment

State Agencies and Higher Education

These employers use an automated method of payment. Internal procedures are established and should be used.

Political Subdivisions

These employers may submit payments using either the electronic method or by check or warrant described below:

Electronic Method - ePay

DRS has established an electronic means of submitting DCP payments called Electronic Payment (ePay). This is an Internet-based application that is available to all political subdivision employers that have Internet access and are able to authorize electronic debits from an established bank account.

Online information about ePay. Access this page when you want to:

  • Sign up
  • Learn about the application
  • Learn how to use the application
  • Log on
  • Find out about other services available

Have questions or problems on ePay?

Employer Support Services provides support Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. Contact them via email or call 800-547-6657, extension 47200.

Payment by Warrant or Check

A Payment Advice form must be included with all payments mailed to DRS. A preprinted Payment Advice is available for employers that use WBET. Refer to the ePay section of Using the DRS Web-Based Services for how to create a preprinted Payment Advice or how to submit an electronic payment via the Internet. See an example of the Payment Advice form.

All checks should be made payable to the Department of Retirement Systems, Deferred Compensation Program.

Mail the Payment Advice and check to the following address:

Department of Retirement Systems
PO Box 9018
Olympia, WA 98507-9018

Form W-2 Requirements

IRC Section 457 deferred compensation deductions are reported on IRS Form W-2 at year-end. Box 1 reduces, "Wages, Tips, Other Compensation" by the amount contributed to Deferred Compensation. In box 12, enter a capital "G" and the amount the employee contributed to IRC Section 457.

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