Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Not Use One Form When We Can?

I just finished writing my monthly article for the Payroll Practitioner’s Monthly for IOMA. This month my article is on abandoned wages. So as you might have guessed I am still knee deep in reporting requirements and forms for all the states. So that brings up my reporting topic for this week. Why can’t we have one common form to use when one common form will work? I mean how many different ways do we have to know in order to report an employee’s name, address, check date and amount? 50 different states, so we have 50 different forms. Can’t the form for California be identical to the form in Alabama? Yes they are similar. But each one is just different enough to cause you to have to learn the form. The requirements are all pretty similar. Most are after one year, most due in November for wages owed as of June 30. There are a few notable exceptions such as New York on the reporting dates or Delaware on the time limit. But the information being asked for is still the same in most cases.

Now I understand that we must report the wages to the state where the employee last resided. The 1965 U.S. Supreme Court case gave us that requirement. So no, we can’t report all abandoned wages to one state like we do new hires. But nothing says the reports can’t all be the same. After all, they have managed to pretty much standardize new hire reporting forms again with a few notable exceptions. Why not abandoned wages forms?

So what do you think? If they can standardize a complicated form such as the Child Support Withholding Order then why not the abandon wages reporting forms? It sure would make it much simpler come this November.

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