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CAR Newsletter - May 2020

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Newsletter Archive | Statewide Accounting Manual | Forms | State Comptroller


Fraudulent unemployment insurance claims

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has seen an increase in fraudulent unemployment claims. Perpetrators are filing fraudulent unemployment claims using stolen identities and personal information.

To assist in preventing fraudulent claim payments, agencies must respond as quickly as possible when a notice of unemployment insurance claim is received. This is especially true if you receive a claim on a person who is currently employed and on the job, or if the claimant was never an employee of your agency. Many times these are fraudulent claims and should be investigated immediately. If you suspect a fraudulent claim, report it by emailing OESC at [email protected] or by calling 405-557-7164.

OESC provided the following information for what to do when a fraudulent claim is received:

  • Agencies should respond to the notice as appropriate.
  • The employee must write on the claim notice that he or she did not submit the claim and provide a copy of their Social Security card and driver’s license to OESC. They can do this:

The Attorney General’s Office has set up a page with information for individuals or businesses that receive bogus claims. The Oklahoma Unemployment Fraud Form should be completed and submitted to [email protected]. The claim will then be directed to law enforcement to be addressed.

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Employees teleworking - primary location outside of Oklahoma

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many state employees are working remotely. If employees are working remotely outside of Oklahoma, this requires the state, as the employer, to withhold income taxes for that state. Several states have issued guidance or passed temporary laws relaxing this requirement but not all have taken this approach. If an agency has employees working outside of Oklahoma, please contact the OMES Central Accounting and Reporting group at [email protected] so that we can determine the required withholding and reporting for those employees.

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Federal (IRS) W-4 entries in PS HCM

Employees should only be providing the 2020 IRS W-4 form to update withholding elections on the Federal Tax Data page in the HCM system. Any other version of the form should be disregarded and returned to the employee, with no changes made in the system.

Agency personnel must use care when entering employee federal W-4 changes. The “2020 or Later” radio button must be selected so that the appropriate Federal Withholding Elements are visible for data entry. If the information is not entered correctly, employees may have more or less withholding than desired which could impact them at year-end. In addition, not entering the information correctly based on the actual W-4 form would be an audit finding by the IRS and could result in penalties and/or interest being assessed to the agency.

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Employee direct deposit verification of bank routing number

Employee bank deposit slips should NOT be used to get the bank routing/transit number for setting up direct deposit information. A voided check from the employee is the most reliable method. If the employee does not have a voided check or wants to deposit into another type of account, have the employee call the bank directly to get the routing/transit number. A bank routing/transit number should never start with the digit “5”. This indicates a branch of the bank and will cause the direct deposit to fail. A direct deposit that fails will not leave OST to be paid and additional processing will be required of the agency.

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Using state vehicles to commute

O.S. 47 § 156.1, as amended, prohibits the personal use of state-owned motor vehicles but permits the use of the vehicles for commuting in very specific situations. 2007 OK AG Opinion 18 also addresses this issue.

When a state employee is allowed to commute in accordance with the statute or the attorney general opinion, the agency must notify the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In addition, when an employee is using a vehicle from OMES Fleet Management, the agency must complete DCAM/FLEET MGMT- FORM 022 Authorization for Commuting in State Vehicle.

The IRS considers commuting to be a noncash taxable benefit to the employee even when the use of the vehicle is for the benefit of the employer. There are very few exceptions to the taxability of commuting. Exceptions are for certain vehicles that are not likely to be used for personal use because of their design. These vehicles are listed in IRS Publication 15-B.

  • The method of calculating the taxable fringe benefit is dependent on the employee’s status.
  • Commuting Rule: Most state employees may use the Commuting Rule. Under this rule, the value of a vehicle provided to an employee for commuting is computed by multiplying each one-way commute by $1.50. If more than one employee commutes in the vehicle, this value applies to each employee. This amount must be included in the employee’s wages or reimbursed by the employee.
  • Cents per Mile: A cents-per-mile method may also be used by most state employees.
  • Automobile Lease Valuation Rule: Elected officials or employees whose compensation is at least as great as a federal government employee at Executive Level V (for 2020; $160,100) are not allowed to compute taxable income under the Commuting Rule. These officials and employees must use the Automobile Lease Valuation Rule to compute taxable income.
  • All valuation methods are described in detail in IRS Publication 15-B.

The employee may choose to have the value included as taxable income or pay the employer for personal use rather than having it treated as wages. When treating the value as wages, the imputed income is subject to FICA and income tax withholding. The taxable amount, if not paid by the employee, must be processed through payroll so that taxes are calculated and amounts are reported on the employees’ W-2.

Process the taxable amount through the HCM system using the TRC Code of CAR, which will show as earnings code CAR. The amount will be included as taxable income and will be taxed on the paycheck.

We recommend the vehicle usage be included in the employee’s payroll each pay period to prevent a large sum being included in the employee’s last pay of the calendar year, resulting in a higher than normal amount of taxes withheld. Additionally, up-to-date reporting of vehicle usage will benefit the agency should the employee terminate during the year.

For more information, please contact Lisa Raihl at 405-521-3258, [email protected] or Jean Hayes at 405-522-6300, [email protected].

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Processing of taxable fringe benefits with payable wages

When processing non-paying taxable fringe benefits for employees through payroll, only include the amount when processing payable wages. Non-paying taxable fringe benefits such as vehicle usage (CAR/VEH), cash tips (CAT), moving (MOV) and miscellaneous (MIS) are subject to taxes and require payable wages in order to collect the employee share of taxes. Questions may be directed to Lisa Raihl at 405-521-3258, [email protected], or Jean Hayes at 405-522-6300, [email protected].

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Military differential wage payments – taxation and reporting

Military differential wage payments are payments made to an employee during the time the individual is on active duty for a period of more than 30 days and represents all or a portion of the wages an employee would have received from the employer if the individual was performing services for the employer.

Military differential pay is includable as wages for income tax purposes on Form W-2, but is excludable from Social Security and Medicare taxes. To correctly report military differential wage payments, Time Reporting Code MILDF (earnings code MLD) must be used.

The military differential pay is also included in wages for OPERS, OLERS and URSJJ retirement contributions and must be correctly coded in order for the information to be sent to the retirement systems correctly.

Please refer to O.S. 72 § 48 and OAC 260:25-15-44 for additional information related to leave of absence due to military service.

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W-9 requests for agencies

From time to time, vendors ask agencies for a W-9. Since OMES has responsibility for the state FEI number, this type of request should be forwarded to OMES Central Accounting and Reporting to have the form properly completed and signed by the state comptroller, Lynne Bajema. We will create the W-9 properly and forward it to the requesting agency or vendor. Please send requests as needed to [email protected].

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UPDATE: Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan changes

The 529 plan changes announced last month are more extensive than switching the vendor payment from a paper warrant to an electronic funds transfer. Employee payroll withholding contributions must be paid directly into their specific 529 account.  TIAA-CREF will no longer accept a bulk payment, either by paper check or EFT, to be manually distributed to employees’ accounts.

We have been in discussion with the plan administrator and they have allowed the state an extension of time so that we can complete programming changes in order to meet this new requirement. Until we have the programming in place, agencies should continue processing payments as they do today by paper warrant.

There is one change required immediately. The employee’s account number must be included. To do this, agencies must manually add each employee’s account number to the Deduction Register 529 Plan page prior to sending it with the warrant.

Employees have received communication from the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan regarding this change. Attached is a sample of the correspondence from the plan to participants; the third page has the account information. Please reach out to your current 529 plan employees to collect this information. Keep the documentation on hand for when we go live with the new functionality.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected].  

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Clearing and agency special account reconciliations (Forms 11 and 11a)

Due to the unusual circumstances related to the COVID-19 emergency, some agencies struggled to submit March Forms 11 and 11a reconciliations timely. We understand that the current situation is taxing on everyone. If you are not in a position to have the forms physically signed, scanned and submitted, the completed form must be submitted by the authorized signor. That individual can submit the forms with an email verifying that they have approved the reconciliation form. The submission needs to come directly from the authorized signor to the CAR accounting group email [email protected].

Completed and accurate reports must be submitted timely (by the 20th).  If you need assistance, please let us know.  While we cannot currently meet in person to assist you, we will try to find a way to work with you through other means. As we are nearing year-end, we must ensure that transactions are posted timely so that we can close the fiscal year as planned.

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Central Accounting and Central Purchasing are moving

The exact move date has not been set but will happen some time before June 30 so watch for updates to come.

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Asset management

OMES Capital Assets Management establishes procedures and standards and provides information for the administration of inventories of tangible assets owned by state boards, commissions, institutions, agencies and the institutions comprising The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education and the University Hospitals Authority as authorized pursuant to the provisions of O.S. 74 §110.1 and the Administrative Procedures Act. 

All agencies must submit an annual report of current inventory of tangible assets owned by the agency as of June 30 of the preceding fiscal year to the department by Aug. 15.  The report shall include all tangible assets based upon the threshold stated in OAC 260:110-1-3.  IT assets are reported at $500 or more and the NON IT assets at $2,500 or more. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, OMES has extended the annual reporting deadline to Dec. 31, 2020, but we encourage agencies to provide your reports as early as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Whiteman at [email protected].

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New online booking tool procedures

The latest Online Booking Tool Procedures are now available for review. The manual explains the role of the State Travel Office and provides information about the new travel management company. The procedures include information on setting up the OBT and how it can be used for booking airfare, lodging and local transportation. Also included under Appendix A is a step-by-step guide for booking a trip with Concur.

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Electronic payment requirement

O.S. 62 § 34.64 requires that funds disbursed from the state treasury must be sent electronically. State agencies are able to request an exemption from this requirement with cause. All exemptions granted by the Office of the State Treasurer for FY 2021 will expire June 30, 2020. State agencies can obtain the FY 2021 Request for Exemption beginning Wednesday, April 29. State agencies must complete and submit the FY 2021 Request electronically via email to OST at [email protected]. Only requests submitted using this document and to the web address noted below will be considered. Agencies should submit their requests by May 20, 2020, to ensure their exemption(s) can be processed before July 1. If you have questions about how your agency can send electronic payments, please contact Deidra Salim, Banking and Treasury Services director, at [email protected].

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OK Invest program

The Office of the State Treasurer’s OK Invest program pays interest on the cash balances of many state agency and university programs. Most programs are eligible, and the application process is simple. Forms are located on the treasurer’s website and at OKI Enrollment and OKI Acknowledgment. If you receive federal funding under the CARES Act, use the relevant fund number on the OKI application. Fees are minimal and interest is paid monthly on each account’s average daily balance.

Email the OKI Enrollment and OKI Acknowledgment forms to [email protected].

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Volume 30, Number 11
Fiscal Year 2020
May 13, 2020

In This Issue ...


There are no trainings scheduled at this time.

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State Comptroller:
Lynne Bajema, CPA
[email protected]

OMES Services CAR Accounting:
Jennie Pratt, CPA, CGFM
[email protected]

Agency Business Services/Deputy State Comptroller:
Steve Funck, CPA, CGFM
[email protected] 

Financial Reporting Unit:
Matt Clarkson, CPA
[email protected]

Transaction Processing Manager:
Steve Wilson
[email protected]

Statewide Accounts Payable:
Courtney Cowart
[email protected]

Replacement Warrants:
[email protected]

Voucher Processing:
[email protected]

Payroll Transaction Processing:
Elsa Kunnel
[email protected]

Payroll Reporting:
Lisa Raihl, CPA
[email protected]

Purchase Cards Assistance:
Linda Powell
[email protected]

Travel Office (and online booking tool):
[email protected]

Vendor Registration:
Victoria Baker
[email protected]

Vendor File Maintenance:
[email protected]

Vendor Remittance Updates:
Updates to remittance contact for vendor payment notification.
[email protected]

OMES Service Desk:
405-521-2444 or toll-free 866-521-2444
[email protected]