Retirees Get PCS Tax Reimbursement
PCS TAX RELIEF, PAID PARENTAL LEAVE INCLUDED IN NDAA
posted December 12, 2019
FEA members taxed for government-providing moving services when departing or first entering federal service in the past two years will now be eligible for the same reimbursements provided to current employees when they relocate, thanks to a provision FEA/NEA pushed for in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
Thanks in no small part to the efforts of NEA Government Relations staff, especially lobbyist Sylvia Johnson, the final version of the NDAA being passed this week extends reimbursement of taxes on PCS moves to retiring/separating civilian employees returning to the States as well as to newly hired civilians being moved to their first overseas duty location.
In an even bigger accomplishment, the tax reimbursement was approved for affected PCS moves dating back to January 2018 -- the time the current tax code first made government-provided moving allowances and assistance taxable.
Since the current tax code was enacted at the start of 2018, federal civilian employees who receive government assistance -- flights, moving services, temporary housing, etc.--for Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves to/from a duty station have been taxed on the value of such assistance.
NEA, at the urging of FEA, was successful last year in lobbying for extension of the Reimbursable Income Tax Allowance (RITA) and Withholding Tax Allowance (WTA) to affected civilian employees to help cover their PCS taxes, but the government would only extend RITA/WTA to feds who were moved from one duty station to another in the service of the government.
Such tax assistance excluded incoming federal civilians being moved to their very first duty station, as well as excluding experienced civilian employees being moved back to the U.S. from an overseas duty station due to retirement or separation from federal service.
Those employees faced hundreds or thousands of dollars in taxes simply for agreeing to serve as civilian employees in an overseas location. In the case of retirees, it was a betrayal of promises made to them years or even decades earlier, when they first joined DoDEA.
Now, because of the provisions included in the NDAA being passed by Congress this week, incoming and retiring/separating federal employees who were relocated anytime in the past two calendar years can seek reimbursement of those taxes.
Exact procedures for those individuals to apply for the reimbursements are not yet know. FEA will report on those details when they are developed by the appropriate agencies.
Thank you very much to NEA Government Relations for their work promoting this legislative fix to the unfair tax that was imposed upon Overseas civilian feds.
PAID PARENTAL LEAVE
A second measure in the 2020 NDAA, long supported and promoted by NEA and other unions representing federal employees, provides up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave to federal employees who have a new baby or who adopt a child. It is the first time paid parental leave in any form has been made available on a wide scale in the U.S. for anyone who is not in the military.
Although the paid family leave does not cover providing for the health care of family members, it is still seen as a significant milestone and will greatly benefit FEA members throughout DoDEA once it is fully implemented.
NEA has a long history of supporting paid family leave for all workers, not just federal employees and will continue its efforts to see these rights expanded further.
Like the PCS tax reimbursements, the paid family leave provisions of the NDAA will take some time to implement. Expect to hear more about this issue from FEA and DoDEA in the months ahead.
Positive changes in federal policy such as those described above demonstrate the value and importance of having an organization with the influence of NEA working on behalf of our members. We again thank NEA's Government Relations staff for their hard work on behalf of FEA members worldwide.
In addition to the obvious benefits of the two specific programs described, the passage this week of the NDAA ensures that DoDEA funded for the remainder of the current budget year, thus removing the threat of a government shutdown for DOD agencies.