|Effective Date: 07/01/05|
It is the policy of the State of North Carolina that appropriate deductions be applied to payroll in accordance with applicable rules and statutes.
G.S. 143B-426.39 Powers and Duties of the State Controller
Various federal statutes*
Deductions are amounts withheld from an employee's gross wages. Deductions may be statutorily mandated, legally garnished, or voluntary. There are basically three types of deductions processed on the Central Payroll System:
Post-tax deductions (after-tax) - Deductions that do not affect the employee's taxable wages.
Deferred deductions - Deductions that reduce the employee's taxable wages for income tax withholding.
Pre-tax deductions (before-tax) - Deductions that reduce the employee's taxable wages for income tax and FICA tax withholding.
Statutory deductions are mandated by law. The State of North Carolina is responsible for withholding, reporting, and remitting the following deductions, as appropriate:
An employee with a permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment, who works at least 30 hours per week for nine months of the year, is automatically a member of the Teacher's and State Employees Retirement System.
Employer and employee contribution percentages are established by the North Carolina General Assembly. The employee's current share of the cost is six percent of their salary and is automatically deducted from the employee's paycheck on a before-tax basis.
Optional Retirement Plans are offered to University faculty members only in lieu of the Teacher's and State Employees Retirement Plan. The Optional Plan choices are listed below:
FICA Tax Withholding
The FICA tax rate is comprised of two parts, OASDI and HI or MQFE, which are calculated separately and then combined. The rates for each category are subject to change each year. The current FICA tax rates, including any wage limitations and employer costs, are available in section D.02 Current Year Payroll Processing Rate Table. In situations where an employee has a pre-tax (Code Section 125) deduction, the subject wages is calculated by reducing the employee's gross wages by the amount of the pre-tax deduction. The following are pre-tax deductions:
For information related to FICA tax exemptions, refer to the Payroll Taxes section of this manual.
Income Tax Withholding
In accordance with federal and state laws, income taxes are withheld from employee gross pay based on tax withholding schedules and information submitted by each employee on a W-4 Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate form and a NC-4 Employee's Withholding Allowance form.
Effective October 3, 2000, the State of North Carolina implemented an aggregate tax method for certain supplemental payments made to employees. Instead of using the flat withholding rates for supplemental pay, the state began to include payments for longevity, bonus and the different types of premium pay with regular pay in performing tax withholding calculations. The aggregate method uses the tax table to calculate income tax withholdings, which is preferable because the flat withholding rates do not consider marital status or withholding allowances claimed by the employee. The current year flat tax withholding rates are available in section D.02 Current Year Payroll Processing Rage Table.
Wages that are subject to income tax withholding are calculated by reducing the employee's gross wages by the employee's share of health insurance premiums, employee retirement contributions, and selected deferred deductions. The following deductions and retirement contributions currently affect the calculation of Federal and State taxable wages:
For information related to Federal and State Income Tax Exemptions, refer to the Payroll Taxes section of this manual.
A garnishment is a legal process resulting from a court order issued from any court of record in North Carolina. The order directs the state to withhold a specified amount of money from the pay of a specific employee, to be paid to the court in settlement of a judgment rendered by the court against that employee.
A levy is an act of collecting, by deduction from an employee's pay, any governmental taxes and/or assessments due from the employee to the governmental body. This action is separate from and in addition to amounts normally withheld for income tax purposes. A notice of levy is issued by the governmental body directly to the state. No court is involved.
The rules governing the amounts withheld from an employee's pay for garnishments and levies vary, based on the types of deductions being processed.
*Form OSCPXA 04 is located at: http://www.ncosc.net/sigdocs/sig_docs/payroll/Payroll_Forms.html
Net disposable earnings are calculated as follows:
Garnishments and levies are paid to the appropriate agencies at month end, even in December, when the monthly payroll is processed early.
Prioritization of Garnishments and Levies
If multiple orders for garnishments or levies are received for a single employee, they should be processed in the following order:
Note: All orders and levies must be answered regardless of whether they are deducted. An agency or university can be held liable for the full judgment amount if the authority issuing the garnishment or levy is not notified.
Special Considerations Related to Out-of-State Garnishments and Levies
Federally Mandated Garnishments
Out-of-State Child Support Orders: The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) requires employers to honor out-of-state child support orders. The act also provides that while the order controls the amount deducted and the person or agency designated to receive the payments, the administrative process (e.g., timing and frequency of deduction and maximum limits) is controlled by the employee's work state.
Only child support orders and any withholding order issued by a federal court or federal agency are honored.
Out-of-State Creditor Garnishments or Levies
Out-of-state garnishments or levies are not honored. However, all out-of-state orders must still be answered, stating that such garnishments are not valid in North Carolina.
An employee with a permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment, working at least 30 hours per week, is eligible for voluntary payroll deductions. Voluntary deductions are made only when authorized in writing by the employee requesting the deduction. Categories of voluntary deductions include the following:
Voluntary Supplemental Retirement Plans
The State offers the following voluntary deferred tax supplemental retirement plans to provide a way for an employee to save money and supplement state retirement benefits by making contributions through payroll reduction and postpone paying tax on these contributions until after the employee retires:
In accordance with the Internal Revenue Code, these plans have annual maximum contribution limits and, in some cases, contributions to one plan may affect contribution limits to another plan (i.e., 401(k) and 403(b) plans). An employee should consult with the plan administrator, the carrier representative or the agency/university benefits representative for more information about maximum contribution limits and coordination of plans.
These voluntary supplemental retirement plans offer significant tax advantages including:
The State also offers the following voluntary post-tax supplement retirement plan:
United States Savings Bonds
State employees may purchase two types of U.S. Savings Bonds, Series EE and Series I, through payroll deductions. An employee may deduct enough funds to purchase multiple Savings Bonds per pay period but are still limited to these two deduction categories. A $50 I-Series bond is the minimum bond that can be purchased and a $1000 EE or I Series bond is the maximum bond that can be purchased. Savings Bonds are automatically purchased and sent to the bond owner from the Federal Reserve once the savings add up to the purchase price.
The following U.S. Savings Bond deductions are currently available:
Medical Insurance Deductions
The State of North Carolina offers three medical insurance plans to permanent employees. These medical insurance plans are set up to be a pre-tax deduction unless the employee signs a waiver letter to have the deduction taken out as post-tax. Corresponding 800 series codes represent post-tax deductions. The medical insurance codes are:
An employee with a permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment, working at least 30 hours per week, may enroll in the State’s health plans. The State pays 100% of the cost of the coverage for each permanent employee who works 30 hours or more per week. Permanent employees who work 20 but less than 30 hours per week are eligible to participate in the health plans but must pay the full cost of coverage. Dependents' coverage is also available at group rates but is paid by the employee through voluntary payroll deductions.
Participation in the State’s health plans is terminated under the following conditions:
State of North Carolina Teachers' and State Employees' Comprehensive Major Medical Health Plan
The State of North Carolina Comprehensive Major Medical Plan offers employees with a permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment medical insurance coverage. Premiums are paid in advance for the subsequent month's insurance coverage. The employee and employer rates are subject to change each year. The current insurance rates for the State Health Plans are available in section D.02 Current Year Payroll Processing Rate Table but are subject to change each year.
More information is available by contacting the agency/university benefits representative or by accessing the State Health Plan website at:
Tricare Supplement Plan
The Tricare Supplement Plan is offered as an alternative to the State Health Plan. It is a military hospitalization supplement plan that operates similarly to the State Health Plan. Premiums are paid in advance for the subsequent month's insurance coverage. The current insurance rates are available in section D.02 Current Year Payroll Processing Rate Table but are subject to change each year.
NC PPO Health Benefit Plan
The North Carolina PPO Health Benefit Plan offers employees with a permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment tiered coverage options. It operates similarly to the State Health Plan.
More information is available by contacting the agency/university benefits representative or by accessing the State Health Plan website at:
NC Flex Plans
The State of North Carolina contracts with vendors to provide an array of voluntary pre-tax plans. NC Flex allows employees to save on payroll deductions for expenses associated with qualifying dependent, health, dental, vision and life plans not covered by regular insurance plans. Contributions are made on a pre-tax basis providing tax savings to employees.
An employee with a permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment, working at least 20 hours per week, may enroll in the NC Flex Program. Participation for new employees begins the first of the month after the enrollment date as long as it is within 30 days from the date of hire. Plans included in the NC Flex Program are:
Once enrolled in the NC Flex Program, federal laws regarding pre-tax benefits prohibit changing or stopping participation during the year unless there is a qualifying family status change.
Supplemental Insurance Programs
State agencies and universities offer various supplemental after-tax insurance products to employees through private insurance providers. Each agency/university insurance committee is responsible for reviewing insurance products and determining whether or not they meet the needs of employees at the local level. The committees are also charged with competitively selecting the best insurance products that reflect the needs and desires of the employees they represent. Insurance products available at the local level may include life, dental, disability, accidental death and dismemberment, prepaid legal expenses, and others.
The current programs that are offered statewide are:
More information about these supplemental plans is available from the agency/university benefits representative.
A perquisite is a value given to an employee providing certain conditions are met. The perquisite must be a requirement or condition of employment, for the convenience of the employer, and on the premises of the employer. Employees that are furnished lodging and having conditions of employment that meet these conditions are eligible for perquisite assignment. For example, employees required to occupy housing on the employer's premises as a condition of employment are eligible for perquisite/perquisite value assignment. Perquisites are exempt from federal and state income tax. Perquisites currently processed on the Central Payroll System include the following Code Section 130 deductions:
Other Miscellaneous Deductions
Other deductions that are available to permanent employees on a statewide basis include:
Pre-Tax Parking Benefit
Department of Administration parking permit costs are deducted from full time employee pay as a pre-tax deduction. This deduction reduces the amount of employee pay subject to federal, state, and FICA tax withholdings by the actual amount paid for the parking permit.
A complete listing of all deductions available on the Central Payroll System, regardless of agency electives, is available at:
Before a voluntary deduction can be put into effect, the agency Payroll Office must receive a deduction authorization containing the following information:
Credit Union payroll deduction authorization forms may be obtained from any Credit Union branch. Payroll deduction authorizations for parking are obtained from the agency's departmental parking coordinator.
To cancel a voluntary deduction, an employee must submit to the agency's Payroll Office a signed authorization of cancellation letter that includes the employee's Social Security number.
Refunds can be processed only on the two Cancellation & Rewrite payroll processing cycles. For voluntary insurance deduction refunds, approval must be obtained from the insurance company if the deduction error exceeds two months.
Refunds of Statutory Deductions
Statutory deductions are refunded when the amounts deducted were over withheld as a result of a payroll keying error. These amounts can only be refunded if the agency's Payroll Office receives notification of the error prior to December 31 of the calendar year in which the error occurred.
Refunds of Garnishments and Levies
Garnishments and levies are not refundable. Employees must contact the clerk of court that ordered the garnishment or governmental agency that submitted the levy to request a refund.
Refunds of Voluntary Deductions
Refunds of voluntary deductions are processed when the deduction administrator provides the agency's Payroll Office an authorization for a refund of previously deducted amounts. Requests for refunds for the following voluntary deductions are not allowed after December 31 of the calendar year in which the deductions occurred:
For specific restrictions regarding deduction refunds, refer to the Cancellation/REwrite section, topic "Personal Check Refunds."
The Central Payroll Division receives electronic data from the administrative vendors related to the following deductions:
The Central Payroll Division disburses all amounts withheld from employees' pay as follows:
Electronic Payment of Deductions by Central Payroll
The Central Payroll Division remits electronic payments to the administrative vendors for the following deductions:
Paper Check Disbursements by the Central Payroll Division
All amounts deducted from employees' pay that are not electronically disbursed are remitted via paper check by the Central Payroll Section. Direct payments to vendors are made for all deductions except the following:
For the deductions listed above, the Central Payroll Section remits a paper check to the individual agency or employee. Each agency is responsible for making payments to the appropriate vendor for these deductions. For NCAS agencies, the receipt of deductions from the Central Payroll Section should be deposited by the individual agencies to the appropriate clearing accounts as follows:
When the agency issues payment to the appropriate vendors, the payments should be coded to the same clearing accounts to which the deductions were deposited.
This policy applies to all state entities using the Central Payroll System.
There are no exceptions to this policy.
There are no special terms for this policy.
*Please contact Central Payroll for information regarding applicable federal statutes and rules.