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Glenn Hegar  •  Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

USPS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updated June 5, 2012 – View Changes

The following answers are based on generic circumstances. More specific situations can result in different responses.

If your situation is more complex or if you need additional guidance, please contact your Uniform Statewide Payroll/Personnel System (USPS) representative or call the Statewide Human Resource and Payroll Assistance Help Desk at (512) 463-4008.

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Calendar Year-End

When can I submit a request to run W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) forms for my employees? [+]

Follow the steps in the USPS Calendar Year-End Close Manual. At a minimum, you should complete these steps before you submit your W-2 request:

When is the last day to request W-2s? [+]

Check the USPS Calendar Year-End Schedule included in the USPS Calendar Year-End Close Process (FPP R.014).

How do I change an address on an employee’s W-2 form? [+]

Once the W-2 forms have been printed and submitted to you, no changes can be made to the original forms. After you have updated the employee’s information on the HIDU1 (Individual Identification) screen, you will need to complete a form W-2c to correct the employee's address. Deliver the corrected copy to the employee only; there is no need to submit a copy to the Social Security Administration.

When would I need to report an employee’s income on a 1099 form? [+]

Wages or other compensation paid to a deceased employee’s estate or beneficiary must be reported on a 1099 form. These wages will be reported in Box 3 (Other Income).

An employee lost his W-2 form. Can I get a replacement? [+]

Your agency receives the Employer Copy D of the W-2 forms. Using Copy D, you can make a copy of the W2 to provide to the employee.

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Deductions

Note: For additional guidance, see the USPS Quick Reference Guides for Miscellaneous Deductions.

Why didn’t all of the employee’s insurance deductions get taken? [+]

Per guidance from the Employees Retirement System (ERS), insurance deductions are taken as “all or nothing.” If your employee doesn’t have enough income to cover premiums, USPS will not take any of the premiums. It is important to use Report 14 (Deductions Not Taken Register) when checking your payrolls.

My employee said that his dependent turned 18 and he wanted to stop his child support deduction. Is this okay? [+]

Child support deductions may only be changed with the proper documentation. You must have an order to stop taking the deduction. As the agency payroll officer, you need to know that taking actions without authorization may result in personal and agency liability. For more information, see the Child Support Withholding and Fees Policy Statement.

My employee wants to have 100 percent of her lump sum payment go to her 401(k) deduction. How do I override the amount? [+]

Be sure to explain to the employee that the lump sum is still subject to taxes. The balance may be contributed to an authorized deferred compensation plan. When setting up the HUZU1 (Lump Sum Payments for Terminations) screen, enter 0 in the DED field. Then do an override on the HUDU1 (Deduction Override) screen for the deduction and dollar amount. An employee must be set up for a 401(k) deduction before it will pay. For more information, see HUZU1 – Lump Sum Payments and HUDU1 – Employee Deduction Overrides in the USPS Process Guide.

I entered a 401(k) deduction on the HN1U1 (TexaSaver 401K Contribution) screen and entered the wrong date. How do I change it? [+]

If an entry was made in error before Report 017 (Generated Defined Contribution Deductions) runs, the entry can be deleted and corrected by agency personnel. If Report 017 has already processed, a Letter of Authorization for Data Changes (LOA) PDF can be submitted to delete the incorrect entry. Once completed, the agency can re-enter the deduction information on HN1U1 screen.

How do I know how if child support should be deducted from a lump sum payment? [+]

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) requires employers to notify them if:

  • There is an administrative writ of withholding for child support in place,

and

  • The employee’s lump sum payment is $500 or more.

A lump sum payment may include a bonus or amount paid in lieu of vacation or other leave time. If you are scheduled to make such a lump sum payment, the payroll officer or other appropriate personnel may use the OAG’s Electronic Methods for Submitting Lump Sum Payment Notifications before making the payment. The OAG will confirm the amount to withhold, if any.

How do I add insurance deductions to a new employee? [+]

All insurance must be entered into ERS OnLine. It takes two nightly cycles for an employee’s insurance information from ERS OnLine to process into USPS and load to the HMTU1 (Group Insurance/TexFlex Participant Information) screen. If the insurance transactions did not come from ERS and you need to run payroll, you can enter optional coverages on the HMTU1 screen. The health insurance row on HMTU1 requires a LOA and a screen print from ERS OnLine showing the date health coverage began with the carrier and level of coverage. For more information, see HMTU1 – Group Insurance and/or TexFlex in the USPS Process Guide.

I entered new deductions, but they are not showing up on my payroll. Why? [+]

Deduction frequencies are ruled by your agency’s HØCUS (Agency Processing Options) screen pay flags for the current month. If your agency is not in the current processing month for the new deduction, then the frequency for that deduction (HØZUC – Employee Deductions) will not turn on and it will not be deducted. Once the agency has completed month-end processing, the deduction frequency will turn on the night after month-end clears have processed.

My employee gave me information showing he is participating in the Texas Tuition Promise Fund. How do I set up this deduction? Is there a report that I need to produce? [+]

The Texas Tuition Promise Fund (TTPF) deduction number 59 is set up on the HNYU8 (College Tuition/Savings Plan) screen. If you do an insert for deduction 59 on the HØZUC (Employee Deductions) screen, USPS will link you to the HNYU8 screen. You should automatically receive Report 157 (College Savings Plan Detail) when your payroll processes. For more information, see HØZUC, HNYU8 – College Tuition/Savings Plan (59) in the USPS Process Guide.

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EIS

Why didn't my employee get an email notification that their leave statement was available? [+]

The Employee Leave Summary (537) Report is generated during the nightly cycle and may run after midnight. If this occurs, the automatic email notification will be delayed by a day. However, the leave summary statements may still be viewed in the Employee Information System (EIS).

I had an employee transfer who needs to update her email address but does not remember her password. What should I do? [+]

If your agency has a direct transfer or new hire that came from an EIS-using agency and cannot remember their password, your agency must reset the employee's account. Once the reset is done, the employee will log into EIS as if they were registering for the first time and use their WEBID and last six digits of their Social Security number to re-register.

How does an agency begin utilizing the Employee Information System (EIS)? [+]

If your agency would like to begin using EIS, contact your SHRPA representative for instructions.

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Fiscal Year-End

What does fiscal year-end close mean? [+]

The fiscal year-end (FYE) close process prepares USPS records for the new fiscal year. The state fiscal year runs from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 of the following year. Some of the types of records that must be established for the new fiscal year include organization codes, program cost accounts (PCAs), salary tables, class codes, position records and employee assignment records. See the USPS Fiscal Year-End Close Process (FPP R.016) for links to the USPS Fiscal Year-End Close Manual, FYE schedule and schedule of FYE training classes.

When does the FYE process begin? [+]

The FYE process at the Comptroller’s office begins when system-level tables for USPS are set up and the Uniform Statewide Accounting System (USAS) profiles are established for the new fiscal year.

The FYE process for agencies begins when the pre-roll reports for the current fiscal year are ordered and reviewed. Pre-roll reports should be ordered after the final and supplemental payrolls for August have processed.

Before the first fiscal year of a new biennium, legislation may require system changes. System Change Tracker provides a summary of USPS system updates. For the latest System Change Trackers and “What’s New” announcements, check the USPS topic page on FMX. The USPS Fiscal Year Close Manual is updated annually, and once it has been posted, it will be announced in “What’s New” and the FMXtra weekly e-newsletter. It is important to follow the steps outlined in the manual.

Do I have to complete the steps in a particular order? [+]

Yes. Although the FYE schedule allows agencies to complete multiple steps on the schedule in the same night, it is important to follow the steps in sequential order to ensure a smooth and successful fiscal year-end close process. All steps on the schedule must be successfully completed before running the September payroll.

What if I enter a salary action after I rolled insurance? [+]

USPS checks nightly for salary actions that would affect the Sept. 1 insurance salary amount. When an action is found, the insurance rollover program re-processes for that agency, and the updated information is sent to the Employees Retirement System (ERS). Anytime this occurs, the Report 974 (Insurance Salary Transactions) will generate and should be retained by the agency as verification of the change. The process continues every night until the agency successfully processes the final payroll for September.

Note: Agencies are responsible for submitting Sept. 1 new hires to ERS via the ERS OnLine process.

When should the leave accounting roll be completed? [+]

Complete the leave accounting rollover process as soon as possible but no later than the calendar year-end split in December.

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Human Resources/Personnel

Where can I find more information about reason codes? [+]

See Reason Code Resources and Classification Salary Schedules for detailed explanations of all active reason codes.

How do I find out who made an entry in the system? [+]

Depending on the type of entry, the HRH (Employee Information Changes) database can provide data identifying:

  • Certain changes that were made,
  • Who made the changes, and
  • The date and time changes were made.

The audit database feature captures those changes as they are made online. The changes are available for viewing on the audit trail screens following the next nightly cycle. See Appendix L – On-Line Audit of the USPS Process Guide.

Note: The audit screens require additional security access. You may need to request access from your agency security coordinator (Comptroller user ID required) to view this information.

Certain changes are also captured on Report 1006 (HR: M Change Listing).

The HNXAT (Audit History) screen provides a history of personnel actions and entries with incorrect information corrected through entry on the:

  • HMPFX (New Hire Correction) screen,
  • HØBFX (Employee Termination Correction) screen,
  • HNHBK (Personnel Action Backout) screen or
  • Letter of Authorization process.

The HN9U3 (Leave Balance Detail by Leave Type) screen can also be helpful when reconciling employee leave entry.

Do I have to set up the HIDU1 (Individual Identification) screen before entering a new employee on the HMPNH (New Hire) screen? [+]

No. It is best practice to update information on the New Hire Processing (HMPNH) screen and then review the HID-related information (using HMPNH) to see if any updates are needed after the employee is hired. Also, the gaining agency’s access may be restricted, which prevents updates on HIDU1 until the new hire process is complete.

How do I fix a new hire employee record or a terminated employee’s record? [+]

To correct the new hire assignment-related information, access the New Hire Correction (HMPFX) screen. An assignment date may not be changed to a date earlier than the month before the current calendar month and must stay in the same fiscal year as the original assignment date. This action will cause an entry to be created on the HNXU1 and HNXAT screens. Other information about the new hire can also be changed on this screen (e.g. the employee’s job classification code, new hire salary and PCA).

See HMPFX – Changing Information for a New Hire, Rehire, or Interagency Transfer in the USPS Process Guide.

To correct a termination date or termination reason code, access the Employee Termination Correction (H0BFX) screen. When correcting the termination reason code, the H0BFX screen can be used for all reason codes, except when changing to/from reason code 065 (Transfer) or reason code 069 (Death). A Letter of Authorization is needed to change to/from reason code 065 or 069.

If changing the date of a terminated employee who has transferred to another state agency, notify the gaining agency of the change so the new hire information can be corrected, if necessary.

See HØBFX – Changing the Date or Reason Code for a Termination in the USPS Process Guide.

I submitted a Letter of Authorization (LOA) to fix something I had entered incorrectly. How do I know this has been fixed? [+]

LOAs with a priority of Urgent are completed within 12 system hours, while LOAs with a priority of Regular Processing are completed within 24 system hours.

It is best practice to verify the LOA was completed correctly. Verify the change on the appropriate USPS screen(s) and contact your USPS representative, if necessary.

Our new employee is starting on Monday. Can I enter her in the system the week before? [+]

It is best practice to wait until the employee reports to work before entering the new hire in the system. This ensures the entered information is accurate and alleviates the need for a Letter of Authorization to back out the new hire if he/she never becomes an employee.

I have an employee transferring from another state agency. What day do I use when hiring him? [+]

The transferring employee should be hired on the day after the employee’s termination date at the losing agency.

If a state or national holiday falls between the dates an employee separates from one state agency and begins employment with another state agency without a break in service, the agency to which the employee transfers to is responsible for paying the employee for the holiday.

Can I hire someone on a holiday? [+]

Yes. Please note that when the holiday falls on the first workday of the month, the individual must be a state employee on the day after the holiday to be paid for the holiday.

If state agencies have a business need to hire an employee on a holiday, the employee can be hired to begin work on a holiday. If the new hire (reason code 010) is employed to begin work on a mid-month holiday, the employee receives pay for working the holiday. He or she does not earn holiday compensatory leave for working the holiday because the employee was not employed both the day before and the day after the holiday.

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Leave

How do I make entries for Employee Wellness Leave?[+]

Employee Wellness is awarded on the Employee Leave Request (HM9U1) screen. Use EW (Employee Wellness) and A (Awarded) to designate the employee was awarded leave or EW (Employee Wellness) and T (Taken) if the employee has taken leave.

How do I set up Report 156 to run? [+]

The Vacation and Sick-Leave Accrued Exceptions (156) report is requested on the Standard Report Request (HSRPT) screen and accrues leave based on the LA Process Date entered on the Leave Accounting Reports Request (HNKLA) screen. For more setup information, see Report 156 Vacation & Sick Leave Accrual Exceptions in the USPS Reports Guide.

Additionally, Report 156 will neither accrue nor change the accrual dates for employees who:

  • Have already received accruals for the month,
  • Have been suppressed from receiving accruals on HMCU1 (Employee Leave Accruals screen),

and/or

  • Are hired after accruals were run. (Please note: Report 156 can be run again at the end of the month to accrue employees hired during the month and will not affect leave already accrued for the month.)

When do accruals show up on HM9U1 for my new hire?[+]

Leave accruals will not display on the Employee Leave Request (HM9U1) screen for a new hire or transfer in until leave transactions have been loaded or entered on HM9U1. Once leave transactions are present, the updated leave balances will display. To view an employee’s leave balances when no leave has been designated or taken, view the Leave Balance Inquiry (HM8U2) screen.

I entered a lump sum entry in error and corrected the entry, but the leave still shows on HM9U1. How do I delete it? [+]

When an error occurs on a lump sum payment, an LOA may be needed to back out the incorrect lump sum payment row on HM9U1. When submitting the LOA, a copy of the Leave Balance Inquiry (HM8U2) screen must be submitted to restore the balances, along with a copy of the HM9U1 screen displaying the VCP.

How do I award Sick Leave Pool for an employee? [+]

Sick Leave Pool is awarded to the employee by entering (SA) Sick Awarded on the Sick Leave Pool Activity (HP9U2) screen. Enter the hours awarded with the appropriate effective date.

What should I do with an employee's leave when they terminate? [+]

If the employee is eligible to use the accrued annual leave, it is paid to the employee by:

  • Extending the employment on the payroll (with the appropriate agency personnel approval),

or

  • A lump sum payment with entry generally on the Lump Sum Payments for Terminations (HUZU1) screen.

If the employee has an overtime balance and the time was not taken, it should be paid as well. All other leave balances should be zeroed out by entering a lost record (i.e., SLL, CTL and HCL).

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Payroll

Why would an employee not get paid longevity if he or she began on the first working day of the month? [+]

This employee may be a return-to-work retiree and therefore not eligible for longevity. Check the HRALS (Return to Work Retiree State Service) screen to verify eligibility. Also, if the employee is classified as a part-time or temporary employee, he or she is not eligible for longevity.

Do I collect gross or net for an overpayment to an employee? [+]

An agency should collect only the net amount of the overpayment. When the returned money transaction is entered in USPS, it will generate negative transactions to recoup the taxes and other deductions.

How do I calculate the net amount to collect for an overpayment? [+]

Gross-to-net worksheets are available on the USPS References page on FMX to help agencies calculate the amount an employee needs to refund for an overpayment. Use the correct spreadsheet based on the date of the payment. To calculate the amount due manually, subtract taxes and other deductions from the gross amount that was overpaid.

What coding block do I use in the Uniform Statewide Accounting System (USAS) when depositing funds from an overpayment? [+]

Agencies should use:

  • Transaction Code 188
  • Program Cost Account 99915
  • Comptroller Object 3790
  • Appropriation 07738
  • Agency Fund 9015

Make the deposit before entering the returned money transaction in USPS. Confirm that the deposit has been recorded on the USAS Agency Fund (57) screen, and then adjust the employee’s year-to-date earnings on the USPS HTMU1 (Employee Manual Pays) screen

What is a direct deposit deadline? [+]

Direct deposit deadlines are established to allow sufficient time for payments to arrive in employee bank accounts on payday. For a list of the direct deposit deadlines, see Payroll Due Dates and Direct Deposit Schedules.

What if I do not process my payroll by the payroll due date? [+]

The payroll due date ensures adequate processing time for direct deposit payments and warrant distribution. The payroll due date is no later than the seventh workday before payday. If an agency’s final payroll is requested after the payroll due date but before the direct deposit deadline, the payroll will process and generate direct deposit payments and warrants. However, there may not be sufficient time to cancel payments before the direct deposit deadline.

It is a best practice to run the final regular payroll as soon as feasibly possible. If an employee’s pay is questionable or requires additional time to research, enter a “stop pay” on the main payroll and subsequently pay the employee on a supplemental payroll.

Why did my payroll fail? [+]

There are a number of reasons why a payroll fails to complete processing. The most common reason is a funding issue that can be identified on the USAS DAFR2151 (Agency Batch Error) report. Agencies should also review all USPS reports, especially the Report 1009 (Employee Diagnostics Listing) and Report 1012 (Company Diagnostics and Assumptions Listing), to determine if other errors exist that affect payroll processing.

How do I know if my employee's lump sum payment is on hold? [+]

An agency generating a payment to an employee who is on hold should receive the Texas Identification Number System (TINS) 6204 (Held Warrant Register for Issuing Agency) report. The agency may also view the PYWRNT and/or PYWTHD screens in TINS to determine if a payment is on hold.

Why did my lump sum transaction get deleted? [+]

If a lump sum pay date is prior to 30 days, USPS deletes the transaction to avoid a payment prior to 30 days past the employee’s last workday. Check Report 1009 for error conditions when processing lump sum payments.

As a payroll officer, what do I need to do when a miscellaneous claim has processed? [+]

An agency will need to process a Document Type 5 in USAS to create state-matching Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and state-paid retirement payments, if applicable. Failure to pay the state-matching FICA on a miscellaneous claim could result in an underpayment of taxes and may cause the agency to incur penalties and interest due to the Internal Revenue Service.

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State Service

How do I know the state service listed by my employee is valid? [+]

The employing agency must verify the state service of each employee by contacting every previous agency for signed verification of the employment periods.

Alternatively, if you as the employing agency choose to use the last agency for validation of all previous state service, you must contact the last agency to obtain a signed verification statement indicating they verified all prior agency service periods.

Is employment at a junior college considered eligible state service? [+]

No, service at a junior college or community college is not considered state service. Government Code 659.042 specifically excludes these employees from receiving lifetime service credit for purposes of longevity.

I’ve never heard of the agency the employee listed. Do I have to include it? [+]

Yes, you should verify all state service, even that which you are not aware of, to ensure the employee receives proper credit. The Comptroller Manual of Accounts is a great resource to search for state agencies.

The agency listed on my employee’s form has been abolished. Do I include it in her state service? [+]

Yes, service at abolished agencies should be included.

The agency listed on the employee’s form has been merged with another agency. What agency number do I use? [+]

You should use the agency number in effect at the time the employee worked at the agency.

If my employee was hired on the 10th day of the month, does he receive state service credit for a full month? [+]

No, state service is credited day-for-day.

We had an employee transfer from another agency and their state service transferred in USPS. Do I need to verify the service that is already entered?[+]

Yes, you are responsible for verifying the data. The service information transfers as a convenience to lessen data entry, however, the information must be verified and you must have documentation of that verification in your employee’s file.

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Taxes

Note: For detailed guidance on all tax matters, go to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website.

I received a notice from the IRS that my tax deposit was made late. What can I do? [+]

Review Schedule B submitted to the IRS, and verify the form was completed correctly. Tax liabilities should be entered in the spaces that correspond to the date you paid wages to your employees, not the date payroll deposits were made.

If you were assessed a failure-to-deposit penalty for a quarter and you discover that you made an error on Schedule B, see if the correction will change the total liability for the quarter. If so, you may be able to reduce your penalty by filing a corrected Schedule B. Write “Amended” at the top of the Schedule B and submit it following the instructions on the penalty notification. Once the correction has been accepted, the IRS will refigure the penalty and notify you of any change in the penalty.

How do I correct a mistake on the 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) form? [+]

If you discover an error on a 941 form filed Dec. 31, 2008, or later, you must correct the error using form 941-X. File a separate 941-X form for each 941 form that you are correcting, and file each 941-X form separately. Do not file 941-X and 941 forms together.

How do I set up the extra amount of withholding shown on a W-4 (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate) form? [+]

Employee tax information is entered in USPS on the HØBUD (Employee Tax Information) screen. To add extra withholding, enter R in the subcommand field, tab to the STATUS field and enter a value of 6.

This allows the system to withhold taxes based on the tax tables and the employee's marital status, number of exemptions plus the amount in the extra amount field. Tab to the EXTRA AMT field and enter the whole dollar amount to withhold. Enter 00100 to withhold an additional $100 of federal income tax.

Where can I find the total Social Security taxes paid for an employee by my agency and by a previous agency? [+]

Social Security’s Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) tax accumulators for employees are displayed by year, quarter, month and prior quarter on the HØATC (Employee Company Paid Tax Accumulations) screen. Figures for your agency are reported under state code of 44 while figures from any previous state agency employment are displayed under state code 00.

What does the COBRA line on the 941 form mean and how do I fill it out? [+]

On form 941, lines 12a and 12b are used to report Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) premium assistance payment information and are only for agencies 323 (Teacher Retirement System) and 327 (Employees Retirement System).

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Changes to this Document
06/05/2012 Added EIS and Leave topics with corresponding Q&As
04/01/2011 Added state service topic
10/1/2010 Added questions on HR/Personnel topic
08/13/2010 Added questions on FYE topic
05/26/2010 Added questions on deductions topic
03/31/2010 Added questions on payroll topic

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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Questions? Contact statewide.accounting@cpa.texas.gov
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