Seyfarth Synopsis: Yesterday, the Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) reported on guidance it received from the Department of Revenue regarding how employers participating in the Commonwealth’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program should report wages for the 4th Quarter of 2019.  Participating employers’ Q4 returns and contributions are due by January 31, 2020.

Report Only Q4 2019 Wages, Not YTD Wages

Employers that are participating in the Commonwealth’s PFML program (meaning they have not applied for and received an exemption for qualifying private family and medical leave plans) must file their returns and remit PFML contributions for October 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 by January 31, 2020.  Employers can file their returns and remit contributions electronically on MassTaxConnect.  Each employer has a PFML account on MassTaxConnect, where they will see an option to “File Return” for the quarter ending December 31, 2019.  Employers will be asked to include employee names, SSNs or ITINs, and applicable wages for the covered quarter.  The return also asks for PFML Eligible YTD Wages.  For Q4 2019, the DFML has clarified that employers should not provide actual YTD wages.  Rather, they should only provide PFML eligible wages from Q4, given that PFML contributions were not withheld for the first three quarters of 2019.  This means that the Social Security annual wage cap will only be applied against fourth quarter wages. 

The DFML has provided step-by-step videos on how to file returns on behalf of individual employees and how to file bulk returns on behalf of groups of employees on its website.

Once an employer has filed its return, MassTaxConnect will ask for payment of contributions.  Employers can make this payment through an electronic payment from their checking or savings account or with a credit or debit card.

Timing of Reporting for W-2 Employees and Covered Contract Workers

The DFML also clarified that employers must file their returns on behalf of their W-2 employees before filing returns for their covered contract workers.  This is particularly important if an employer outsources its payroll reporting for W-2 employees, but handles reporting for its covered contract workers itself.  Employers should be sure to inform their payroll provider to file their return on behalf of W-2 employees before the employer files on behalf of its covered contract workers.

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