Proper compliance with the complex set of federal and state laws, rules, regulations, and guidelines that apply to state and local government employees involves four key parties:
- U.S. Social Security Administration “SSA”,
- U.S. Internal Revenue Service “IRS”,
- State Social Security Administrators “State Administrator(s)”, and
- Public (state and local government) employers.
The primary (or principal) responsibilities of each of these key parties are described briefly below.
The Social Security Administration is responsible for administering the Social Security Act, including the interpretation of individual Section 218 Agreements. SSA also administers benefits and maintains individual earnings records. See Chapter 7, Social Security Administration.
Contact the U.S. Social Security Administration with questions regarding the following:
- Social security benefits
- Section 218 coverage determinations
- Individual earnings records and quarters of coverage
- Verification of Section 218 terms
- Form W-2 records
- Problems with Social Security number
The Internal Revenue Service is responsible for administering the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), advising employers of their responsibilities, collecting taxes, and working with SSA and State Social Security Administrators on social security coverage and related tax issues. See Chapter 8, Internal Revenue Service.
Contact the U.S. Internal Revenue Service with questions regarding the following:
- Federal income tax
- Worker classification (employee or independent contractor) for employees not covered by a Section 218 Agreement
- Collection of social security or Medicare tax
- Completion and filing of Form W-2 and W-3
- Employment tax returns (941, 943, 944)
- Definition of public retirement system (FICA replacement plan)
- Is an employee covered under mandatory social security?
- Are certain payments subject to social security or Medicare tax?
- Do I need a new employer identification number?
State Social Security Administrator
The State Social Security Administrator is the designated official legally appointed to act for the state in negotiations with the Social Security Administration. This official acts for the state with respect to the initial Section 218 Agreement and modifications, the performance of the state’s responsibilities under the Agreement, and in all state dealings concerning the administration of the Agreement. Each state’s Section 218 Agreement (“Agreement”), and Social Security Regulation 404.1204, provide a legal obligation for each state to designate such an official. In many states the actual day-to-day responsibilities are delegated to the staff of the designated state official. The Colorado State Social Security Administrator is Joann Long. You may contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (303) 318-8060.
Contact the State Social Security Administrator with questions regarding the following:
- Existence or terms of a Section 218 Agreement
- Modifications to the Section 218 Agreement
- Treatment of a specific position under a Section 218 Agreement
- Other issues involving interpretation of state law
The following are the major responsibilities that apply to all public employers, regardless of their social security coverage and public retirement system:
- Properly classify workers as independent contractors or employees.
- Solicit and collect valid taxpayer identification numbers from all employees and payees.
- Determine which employees are exempt from social security and/or Medicare taxes.
- Withhold, report, and pay appropriate Social Security and Medicare taxes, or Medicare-only taxes, for each employee.
- Obtain clarifications of laws, regulations, and other appropriate information from State Social Security Administrators, IRS, and SSA.