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MARK R. WARNER coameris ‘nena FINANCE BANKING, HOUSING, AND ‘Wnited States Senate ee iia tn dtl Bical RULES AND ADMINISTRATION November 16, 2018 Honorable Emily W. Murphy Administrator, U.S. General Services Administration 1800 F Street NW Washington, D.C. 20006 Dear Administrator Murphy: Ithas come to our attention that federal agencies are not proactively helping federal workers to minimize the difficulty of paying taxes on reimbursed or paid for moving costs, and many federal workers are confused about how this new provision is being implemented. This is especially troubling for federal workers that are likely to have significant moving costs but modest pay, such as our military teachers being sent overseas as part of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). These public servants — voluntarily moving long distances to help educate the children of our military — cannot afford paying thousands of dollars of taxes up front, only to wait over a year for reimbursement. In April, we sought quick action to ensure federal workers could utilize the relocation income tax allowance (RITA) and the withholding tax allowance (WTA) for federal taxes on moving cost expenses, which became taxable following the 2017 tax bill. We were pleased when GSA. released guidance in May that authorized agencies to use RITA and WTA to cover substantially all of the increased tax liability. It now appears that some federal workers are only getting partial guidance on managing this process, being informed about the new tax costs and RITA, but not fully informed about WTA. RITA reimbursements can only be issued in the year following the additional taxes, meaning workers could be waiting months, or over a year, to get reimbursed. Federal workers may have to take on debt or borrow from their retirement accounts to carry these costs as they await reimbursement. In fact, there is a program designed to address just this issue: the WTA. The WTA provides funds much earlier than RITA, and can assist those federal workers who are unable to bear the delay of RITA reimbursements. Unfortunately, it appears that at least some federal agencies are not proactively informing their workers about the option to use the WTA. punwatner senate oo For most affected federal workers, this is the first time relocation expenses have such serious tax implications, and many remain confused about how it impacts them. It is important for federal agencies to present workers with all the tools available to manage these new costs. Beyond just informing federal workers about both RITA and WTA, agencies or departments in which relocations are common or which are likely to have higher moving costs, like DoDEA, should take additional steps to assist workers in understanding the new provisions and utilizing these options. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Mok. © Money Jae Joo MARK R. WARNER TIM KAINE United States Senator United States Senator Ce: Thomas M. Brady, Director of DoDEA