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Payroll Reminders for Year End 2023 and New Year 2024

MEMORANDUM

DATE: November 15, 2023
TO: Federal Personnel and Payroll System (FPPS) User Group Representatives, Servicing Personnel Offices, and Payroll Coordinators/Liaisons
FROM: Christine Zertuche-Rocha, Chief, Payroll Operations Division
SUBJECT: Payroll Reminders for Year End 2023 and New Year 2024


There are several upcoming changes that may impact employee leave and earnings for pay periods (PPs) at the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, and/or may be of interest to them. The Interior Business Center (IBC) is requesting Servicing Personnel Offices (SPOs), and Payroll Coordinators/Liaisons please share this updated information with all employees.

Section Categories:

(Some items may require employees to take action)

  • Calendar Details and Information: Leave Year, Number of Pay Periods, Payroll Schedule Calendar, and Taxable Earnings Year
  • Deductions: Benefits and Donations
  • Payroll Changes and Pay Limitations
  • Tax Related Deductions and Implications
  • 2023 Tax Forms

Calendar Details and Information:

Leave Year

  • The 2023 leave year ends PP 2024-02, January 13, 2024.
    • Employees in the six-hour leave category will get their extra four hours in PP 2024-01, the last full PP of the calendar year.
  • The 2024 leave year is from PP 2024-03, January 14, 2024, through PP 2025-02, January 11, 2025.
    • Employees in the six-hour leave category will get their extra four hours for 2024 PP 2025-01, the last full PP of the calendar year.

Number of Pay Periods

  • There are 26 PPs in calendar year 2023.
    • The final official pay date will be December 26, 2023.
  • Calendar year 2024 will also have 26 PPs.  

Payroll Schedule Calendar

Taxable Earnings Year

  • The 2023 taxable earnings year is from PP 2023-01, beginning December 18, 2022, through PP 2023-26, ending December 16, 2023. 
  • The 2024 taxable earnings year is from PP 2024-01, beginning December 17, 2023, through PP 2024-26, December 14, 2024.

Deductions (Benefits and Donations):

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)

  • All Federal employees participating in the CFC are directed to one giving system.
    • The Office of Personnel Management has contracted with the Give Back Foundation for employees to make CFC pledges. 
  • To sign up, select charities, and set up new donor contributions for 2024, visit https://cfcgiving.opm.gov/welcome no later than January 15, 2024.
  • According to 5 C.F.R. 950.701, payroll deductions will begin with the first PP after January 15, 2024 (PP 2024-04), for 26 PPs, and will end PP 2025-03.  

Dental and Vision Benefits

  • Dental and vision coverage authorized in 2023 automatically continues in 2024, though some premiums may change for 2024.
  • For additional information, to view the new rates or make open season changes, employees can visit benefeds.com.

Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB)

  • FEHB coverage authorized in 2023 automatically continues in 2024, though some premiums may change for 2024. 
  • Coverage under a newly elected health plan is effective the first day of the PP beginning on or after January 1, 2024; for IBC clients, this will be PP 2023-03, January 14, 2024. 
    • Enrollees will remain covered and receive the 2023 benefits of the previously elected plan until coverage under the new plan becomes effective.
  • Employees in terminating or reduced coverage plans should make a new election during the open season. For more information, refer to our user group communication dated November 3, 2023, with the subject: “Action Required: 2023 Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Open Season and Terminating Plans”.

Federal Employee’s Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)  

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

  • Unless re-authorized by the employee, pre-tax deductions for the FSA Program automatically stop after PP 2023-26.
  • For pre-tax FSA deductions to occur in 2024, new elections must be made during the Open Season from November 13, through December 11, 2023.
  • For additional information and/or to make open season changes, employees can visit FSAFEDS.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) – Traditional and Roth Contributions

  • In 2024, the maximum elective deferral limit for TSP contributions will be $23,000, up from $22,500 in 2023.
  • Deduction changes to be effective in PP 2024-01 can now be made through Employee Express (EEX) by entering “12/17/23” in the Future Effective Date field.
    • EEX allows changes to the Effective Date up to 90 days in advance. Employees can change TSP deductions at any time.
  • The combined total of tax-deferred traditional and Roth after-tax contributions cannot exceed the elective deferral limit in any year.
  • Unless changed or canceled by the employee, 2023 biweekly contribution amounts or percentages automatically carry over into 2024.
  • Employees who reach the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) maximum contribution limit before the end of the year will not be able to have further employee contributions and may lose any government matching contributions for the rest of the year, if applicable. 

Spillover Method for TSP Catch-Up Contributions (Formerly Thrift Catch-up Contributions (TCC) and Roth Savings Catch-up (RSC))

  • Beginning January 1, 2021, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board implemented a new method for catch-up contributions called the “spillover”.
    • Spillover will apply to all active employees who are at least 50 years of age, or older, and exceed the IRS annual deferral limit.
    • Employees will receive government matching contributions in the spillover method.
    • Eligible employees will have contributions automatically count toward the IRS catch-up limit.
  • Catch-up contributions can be made up to an extra $7,500 annually in 2024, unchanged from 2023.
  • Once the $23,000 elective deferral limit for TSP is reached, any additional contributions “spillover” into the extra $7,500 Catch-up limit.
  • Like in 2023, no elections will need to be entered into EEX.
    • However, spillover contributions should be included with regular traditional and/or Roth contributions when making elections in EEX.
    • Please refer to the ‘Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) – Traditional and Roth Contributions’ section above, regarding government matching contributions and when updates should be entered into EEX.
  • The chart below provides two examples (dollar amount contributions) for calculating PP election amounts in EEX. In each scenario, the TSP Traditional Maximum contribution must be met before any Catch-up contributions can “spillover”:

Example 1: 2024 Maximum TSP Traditional Contributions and Maximum Spillover Contributions

ContributionsPP Dollar Amount Contribution
Maximum TSP Traditional (Pre-Tax) contributions met:$23,000 
Maximum spillover catch-up contributions (Must meet TSP Traditional maximum prior to contributing to spillover):$7,500
Total Maximum contributions allowed:$30,500

26 PPs in 2024

(It is suggested to round up the biweekly deduction to $1,174. The last PP of 2024 (PP 2024-26), would have a reduced contribution of $1,150 to ensure the deduction amount does not exceed the limit for the year).

*$1,174
Effective date12/17/2023
Example 2: 2024 Maximum TSP Traditional Contributions without Maximum SpilloverContributionsPP Dollar Amount Contribution
Maximum TSP Traditional (Pre-Tax) contributions met:$23,000 
Spillover catch-up contributions (Must meet TSP Traditional maximum prior to contributing to spillover - example shown is less than allowable maximum spillover contribution amount of $7,500):$3,000
Total contributions:$26,000
26 PPs in 2024$1,000
Effective date 12/17/2023

Payroll Changes and Pay Limitations:

Aggregate Pay Limitation

  • For the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Fact Sheet, visit Aggregate Limitation on Pay (opm.gov).
  • As a reminder for 2024, the statutory limit on pay applies to most employees exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (see 5 U.S. Code 5307). 
  • Even though basic pay is never cut back, some allowances, differentials, bonuses, or awards may even be cut back and be deferred to the following year.
  • Retention, recruitment, or relocation incentives authorized under 5 U.S. Codes 5753 and 5754, may cause employees to exceed the aggregate limitations on pay and be reduced or suspended. 
  • The aggregate pay limitation is generally Level 1 of the Executive Schedule.  

Annual Premium Pay Limitation

  • For the OPM’s Fact Sheet visit Maximum GS Pay Limitations (opm.gov).
  • As a reminder for 2024, the annual premium pay limits defined in 5 U.S. Code 5547(b) apply. 
  • For employees exempt from the FLSA, if regular pay is projected for the year plus Title 5 overtime, night differential, standby pay, availability pay, administratively uncontrollable overtime, Sunday Premium, or Holiday worked to reach the limits, no additional premium payments may be paid. 
  • Compensatory time may not be substituted for overtime that is not payable.
  • The annual pay limitation is greater than the annual rate of GS-15, step 10 for each locality, or Level V of the Executive Schedule.

Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)

  • Employees should carefully review their LES for any changes that would affect their pay. 
    • If there are any questions, please have them contact the IBC Customer Support Center (CSC), using the information provided in the “Contact Information” section at the end of this memorandum.

Adjustments of Certain Rates of Pay

  • If there are any authorized increases to the rates of basic pay or salaries of the statutory pay systems for 2024, they will be effective the first full PP of the year, PP 2024-03. The processing PP will depend upon receipt of the tables and time for testing. A separate user group communication will be sent out regarding pay raise processing.

Tax-related deductions and Implications:

 Form W-4 Claiming Exempt Withholding

  • To continue an employee’s exemption from withholding in 2024, the IRS requires those claiming exemption from withholding to fill out a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, no later than February 9, 2024. 
  • If entering the Federal Tax Exempt status through EEX, please enter that transaction no later than February 7, 2024, to allow time for processing.
  • If a new Form W-4 has not been entered into EEX or the FPPS between January 1 and February 9, 2024, the employee’s Federal withholdings status will be changed to the highest possible withholding. If action is entered after February 9, 2024, it may not update in time to avoid tax withholding for PP 2024-04.
  • The IBC will soon update the Federal Income Tax Withholding Formula for wages paid in 2024, to view visit Federal, State, and Territorial Income Tax Withholding Formulas
    • Before utilizing the formula, employees contributing pre-tax deductions should first subtract those deductions from their biweekly gross pay.

 Occupational Privilege Tax

  • Certain localities require an Occupational Privilege Tax be taken from employees in their jurisdiction.
  • When working within a specific district, the Occupational Privilege Tax is levied. 
  • While some localities withhold the tax in the first full PP of the year, the actual deduction will depend on the locality’s withholding requirements.

 State and Local Taxes

  • To ensure taxes are being withheld from the correct state and/or locality, we encourage every employee to review their LES.
    • If an employee notices taxes are being withheld for the incorrect state or locality, or if they are still being withheld for a city the employee no longer lives or works, they should contact their payroll liaison, personnel office, or the IBC CSC, using the information provided in the “Contact Information” section at the end of this memorandum, as soon as possible. 
  • For additional information related to tax withholding please refer to our September 22, 2022, User Group memo “Updated State, City and County Income Tax Withholding related to Official Duty Station.”
    • The Payroll Office has limited capability to correct prior year tax errors, and 2023 errors not identified until 2024 may require the employee to file a tax return to recover taxes withheld for the wrong tax entity.
    • Wages for non-taxing states are not reported on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statements.

Social Security (OASDI) Tax and Medicare Taxes

  • The Social Security Administration increased the 2024 maximum earnings to $168,600; there is no wage base limit for Medicare tax. 
  • For 2024, the Social Security and Medicare tax rates remain the same for all wages, at 6.2% and 1.45%, respectively.
  • Individuals with earned income of more than $200,000 pay an additional 0.9 % in Medicare taxes.
    • The tax rates shown above do not include this additional 0.9 %. 
  • The rates have not yet been updated but once available, visit the 2024 Social Security Changes - COLA Fact Sheet (ssa.gov).

Transportation (Commuting) Benefits

  • The IRS has not yet announced the 2024 rates, as they are contingent on legislation that has not been finalized.
  • Once rates are available, they can be viewed in the Publication 15-B, Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits, Fringe Benefit Exclusion Rules section, ‘Transportation (Commuting) Benefits’ subsection, ‘Exclusion from wages’ at Publication 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits.

Voluntary Tax Allotments

  • Since these allotments are remitted to the locality on the employee’s behalf, the amount of ‘estimated’ tax deductions withheld through a Voluntary Tax Allotment will be reflected on Form W-2 in Box 14 as item 8 - Estimated Local Tax. 
    • These amounts are only estimated.
    • Reconciliation occurs when the employee files an applicable tax return with the locality.    

2023 Tax Forms:

Form W-2

  • The target date for access to view and print the Form W-2 in EEX is January 13, 2024.
    • Currently, only approximately 55% of active employees have elected electronic Form W-2s via EEX. 
    • To ensure the protection of Personal Identifiable Information (PII), please encourage employees to elect to receive their Form W-2 electronically in EEX no later than December 26, 2023.
  • For all employees who did not elect to turn off the hard copy, a printed Form W-2 will be mailed to the employee’s address of record no later than January 31, 2024.
    • Please have employees who are expecting a mailed Form W-2, verify the address listed on their latest electronic LES in EEX.
    • To ensure receipt of the mailed Form W-2, any address change must be processed in EEX or by the SPO no later than December 15, 2023.

Form 1095-C 

  • The target date for access to view and print the Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, in EEX is January 13, 2024. 
    • Currently, only approximately 36% of active employees have elected electronic Form 1095-C via EEX. 
    • To ensure the protection of PII, please encourage employees to elect to receive their Form 1095-C electronically in EEX prior to December 26, 2023.
  • For all employees who did not elect to turn off the hard copy, a printed Form 1095-Cs will be mailed to the employee’s address of record no later than March 1, 2024.
    • For any questions about Form 1095-C, visit https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-1095-c.
    • Please have employees who are expecting a mailed Form 1095-C, verify the address listed on their latest electronic LES in EEX.
    • To ensure receipt of the mailed Form 1095-C, any address change must be processed in EEX or by the SPO no later than December 15, 2023.

Contact Information:

If there are any questions, please call the IBC CSC at 1 (866) 367-1272 or by email at Payroll_Helpdesk@ios.doi.gov.