Board Chair, John Barmore, Retires
CMERS Chairman of the Board, John D. Barmore, retired January 31, 2018 after serving 33 years as a Fire Fighter. Mr. Barmore also served as a CMERS Trustee from January 2007 until his retirement and as CMERS Vice Chair 2010-2011 and Board Chair 2012-2018. Mr. Barmore is succeeded as CMERS Board Chair by Martin T. Matson, Milwaukee Comptroller.
2018 Federal Tax Withholding Update
The IRS has issued new 2018 tax tables for federal income tax purposes. The new rates will be effective with the February payments (checks and ACHs payable February 28, 2018). The State of Wisconsin tax withholding rates are not changing at this time.
New Medicare Cards in 2018
It has come to our attention that CMS (the authority that manages Medicare) will be issuing new Medicare cards starting in April 2018. This new card will replace the existing cards you have, and will include a new identity number called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The MBI will replace the HICN that is currently used (that looks a lot like your social security number). More information about this can be found on CMS's website at www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare.html. Your benefits will not be impacted with this change.
2017 Tax Reporting: Federal Form 1095-B
Note for Retirees with the City’s Health Insurance: As a health plan sponsor, The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires the City of Milwaukee to send out Form 1095-B to retirees who have health insurance coverage through the City. Please note that you DO NOT need this form to file your taxes; however, you should keep Form 1095-B with all your tax records as supporting documentation. This form is only used to verify medical coverage to the IRS that you (and your covered tax dependents on your federal income tax filing) had health insurance coverage during the year—no amounts are listed on this form. If you need to reference year-to-date deductions that occurred during 2017, please refer to your December 2017 payment stub. Receiving Form 1095-B does not mean you owe income taxes on the value of the health care benefits you receive. Please note that additional benefits such as dental plans, life insurance or disability (through the ERS) do not need to be reported to the federal government and will not be included on Form 1095-B. If you have not received this form by February 15, 2018, please contact our office.
1099-Rs for 2017
Forms 1099-R (tax reporting for your pension payments, similar to the W-2 you received as an active employee) for the tax year 2017 will be mailed by Friday, January 26, 2018. (All 1099R’s will be mailed on the same date, but they may arrive at your address at different times. The post office will be delivering millions of these forms at about the same time, so there is a possibility your form might be delayed in the mail.)
If you have not received your form by February 15, 2018, please call the ERS office to request a replacement. Please note that these forms are produced and mailed offsite; therefore, they will not be available on a walk-in basis. Requests will be processed in the order received.
1099-R forms may be returned to our office if we do not have your current mailing address – including seasonal moves. As we mentioned in several previous newsletters, ERS cannot take address changes over the phone. A change of address form is available on our website or you may change your address through Member Self Service. In addition, you may call our office and request a change of address form or simply take a standard-sized sheet of paper and provide the new information by mailing it in. Be sure to include your printed name and signature.
If you are a recent retiree and you received a GPS lump-sum bonus during 2017 and elected to rollover all or part of your GPS lump sum bonus, you will receive a separate 1099-R for your GPS lump sum bonus rollover. If you elected to receive all or part of the GPS lump sum bonus in cash, the payment you received in cash will be included with the 1099-R containing your monthly annuity payments.
If you receive multiple benefits from the ERS (e.g. your own benefit as well as a survivorship benefit from the account of your deceased spouse), you will receive a separate 1099-R for each benefit you received in 2017.
If you receive a Duty Disability benefit from the ERS, you do not receive a 1099-R because this benefit is not taxable or reportable to the IRS.
If you owe additional income tax this year or are getting a large refund, you might want to adjust the amount of your tax withholdings. You may download the tax withholding form from our website at: www.cmers.com under “Forms” – “Other” – “Tax Withholding Form.” If you do not have internet access, you may contact the ERS office, and we will mail you the required form.
The ERS staff is not allowed to give tax advice or answer tax questions. We cannot recommend how much you should have withheld or tell you if you need to file a tax return. Please consult the applicable IRS instructions or a tax professional. There are taxpayer assistance programs, often at no cost, through organizations such as AARP and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).
Attention All Members – Especially Those Receiving Duty Disability Benefits
Please be sure to retain all of your pay stubs, especially your December check stub or direct deposit advice. This statement summarizes your monthly annuity pay and deduction amounts for the calendar year. For example, you will see that all of your health insurance premiums paid for the year are found under the “Year-To-Date” column on your stub/advice. You may need this information when completing your tax return since health insurance deduction totals are not included on your 1099R form. IMPORTANT: If you receive a benefit which is not taxable and, therefore, not reportable on a form 1099R, such as a duty disability or accidental death annuity, this year-end statement will be the only record you will have of your payments. You will not receive a 1099R form; please refer to your final pay stub for this information.