Q: If my payment is postmarked by the 15th but received later, will I still accrue a penalty?
A: Yes. Your payment needs to be received in SERS’ lockbox by the 15th in order to be considered on time. All contribution payments and reporting is due the 15th of the following month. Payments postmarked for the 15th are not considered “on time,” and school districts will accrue a penalty.
Q: What happens when the 15th falls on a holiday or weekend?
A: From time to time, the 15th will fall on a holiday or weekend. When this happens, the due date will be the first business day following the 15th of the month.
Q: If a school district pays all employer contributions through the foundation, will they be subject to the employer contribution penalty?
A: No. Foundation deductions are based on estimates and adjusted periodically. Employers which choose to make their employer contribution payments through the foundation program are always considered current for that purpose.
Q: Is a school district responsible if a contractor’s payment is late?
A: It is the responsibility of the school district to ensure that payments from contractors are received by SERS on time. Even if the school district is paying through the foundation program but the contractor is paying SERS directly, the school district will still accrue a penalty if the contractor’s payment is late.
Q: Will I accrue a late penalty if I don’t have the SSA-1945 form submitted to SERS within the member’s first 30 days of service?
A: No. This form is required by federal law and explains to your employees how public employment may affect their Social Security benefits. This form is filed with the member’s information at SERS, but it is not used to ensure membership. Although there will not be any penalties applied with this form, you are still required to submit it to SERS. SERS will accept the SSA-1945 by secure fax at 614-340-1195, Attn: Employer Services.
Q: I did not receive the Special Notice, Employer Bulletin, or any other communication announcing the due date for the Surcharge payment. Will SERS waive the penalty?
A: No. Almost all outgoing communications from SERS are now electronic. Specifically, SERS sends the Employer Bulletin and Special Notice to every email address in SERS’ employer contact listings. SERS cannot be responsible if your system blocked
SERS’ communication or placed it in your spam folder, or if you opted out of certain communications. If you believe SERS may
have the wrong contact/email information for your school district, please call us toll-free at 877-213-0861 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I have received a penalty notification. How do I make payment?
A: If your school district has access to foundation funds, you have three options:
Direct payment by check or EFT – please remember to complete a Payment Remittance Form
Send a written request directing SERS to immediately transfer foundation funds to pay the penalty
Do nothing, and SERS will automatically transfer foundation funds at year-end to pay the penalty
If your school district does not have access to foundation funds, the penalty must be paid by check or EFT. Please remember to complete a Payment Remittance Form prior to fiscal year end.
Q: I tried to make payment by ACH Debit through eSERS on the 15th, but the payment did not execute until the 17th. Why did this happen?
A: ACH debits and credits are not instantaneous. There is a minimum delay of one full day to allow for ACH processing, and depending on the processing institution, another day can be lost because the cut-off for ACH transmissions is usually early in the day. If you enter an ACH Debit date which is not valid, eSERS will display a warning message in red under the application title and change the date to the next available valid banking date. If the next available date is beyond the due date, please make other payment delivery arrangements.
Q: How do I handle my contractors?
A: If the contractor is late, the employer penalty is applied to the school district. The penalty accrues until the missing contribution report or payment is received. If the contractor is late and a penalty is applied, it is up to the employer to reach an agreement with the contractor on the payment of the penalty due to SERS.
Q: What about employers that submit their payroll through an Information Technology Center (ITC)? Will we be penalized if the ITC is late in submitting our payroll?
A: Payroll is due the 15th of every month. It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that payroll detail and all contributions arrive to SERS by the 15th. Please inform your ITC that your payroll is required to be at SERS no later than the 15th.
Q: I sent my contribution/payroll report prior to the 15th, but received a penalty anyway. Why did this happen?
A: This generally happens if the contribution/payroll file contains certain types of errors, including incorrect header information, or if the file contains too many errors, including missing hours and days. If your report needs corrections before it could be uploaded into the system, the report will not be considered received until it has been corrected. If you have questions, please contact your contribution/payroll representative or email us at email@example.com.
Q: How can I avoid a penalty for coaches and other supplemental employees when I cannot get the information in a timely manner?
A: SERS will not assess a late enrollment penalty as long as you enroll the member prior to receiving the first contribution/payroll report for that member. If you have enough information to properly pay the employee, you should have enough information to enroll the member through eSERS.
Q: My payroll system is being replaced, and our vendor has just informed me that the new system will not be ready in time for this month’s reporting. What can I do?
A: SERS has much more flexibility in extending due dates than adjusting penalties after-the-fact. If you know that extreme circumstances will cause a delay in reporting or payment, please contact Employer Services as soon as possible to make alternate
Q: What is the Employers Trust Fund, and why is it mentioned in penalty discussions?
A: Any payment made by an employer to SERS that hasn’t been withheld from the employee, or made in lieu of an employee contribution, goes into the Employers Trust Fund. This includes employer matching contributions (14%), Surcharge, Service Credit Purchase (SCP), and Early Retirement Incentive (ERI).