Taxation with Proper Representation

Documentation of tax withholding is so in right now.  If you’re an employee of the university (or UPG), you’ve probably received your W2 by now (and if not, you can look it up in Academica under Employee Resources > Employee Self Service > Tax Forms).  If you are a research fellow (or if you have fellows in your lab), tax season is a little less clear.  Remember, fellows are not considered employees and are paid by stipend, which is not actual payroll.  In most cases, WSU does not withhold taxes for its U.S. citizen stipend recipients as there is no requirement to do so (the university DOES have withholding and reporting requirements for non-resident alien stipend recipients, however; country-specific tax treaties may apply, so know your country’s rules and take a look at the IRS requirements for international taxpayers if this applies to you).

 

Stipend monies may not be subject to withholding by the university, but that doesn’t mean they are not subject to taxation; they are: all income that doesn’t go directly to tuition, fees and benefits is taxable income.  As non-employees, stipend recipients will receive a Form 1099 instead of a W2.  If you or stipend recipients in your lab have not yet received a 1099, be sure to contact the office of Total Compensation and Wellness here at WSU.  If you have not already, check your quarterly tax reporting requirements.  Some stipend recipients may be subject to the payment of estimated taxes for the calendar year are due in four installments; April 15th, June 16th, September 15th and January 15 to avoid underpayment penalties.  If you’re unsure, check with an accountant to avoid future sanction.

Point of Less Return

Last Wednesday afternoon, Wayne State University announced a new indirect cost allocation structure, effective on awards received on or after October 5, 2015.  The new breakdown for distribution is as follows:

 

  • Central Pool – 49%  Central Pool allocations are used to support general fund expenses that support research activities – such as utilities, depreciation and administrative operations.
  • Department – 8%  ICR allocations to the schools, colleges, and divisions are budgeted in the units, to accurately reflect the budgetary control of those resources.  Before 2009, departmental ICR allocations were budgeted from the Division of Research.
  • Research Stimulation – 24%  The Research Stimulation Fund allocation is recorded in a separate, specifically designated budget in the Division of Research.  The Provost has authority delegated by the President to commit these funds.
  • School/College – 5%
  • Investigators – 5%
  • Research Facilities – 9%  The Research Facilities Fund is recorded in Central Accounts; federal regulations require Wayne State University to spend an amount equivalent to the portion of ICR revenues based on faculty and equipment depreciation on the purchase, repair, acquisition, renovation or improvement of research facilities and equipment.

 

To see how this compares to the current indirect cost allocation, take a look at the Wayne State University FY 2015 Budget Book, “General Policies and Practices” on page G-3 (or 125 in the PDF page search function).   You’ll notice that the biggest increase to re-absorption of funds is in “Research Stimulation;” this adjustment was explained as being due to the determination that “Wayne State University was somewhat unusual in the formula that it uses for decentralized distribution of indirect cost funds associated with extramural research funding, which diluted its capacity to strategically reinvest in its research portfolio.” Further, as a whole, the new allocation formula is seen by its creators as reflective of “the commitment of the university to further support our research mission, invest in infrastructure and enable larger programmatic initiatives to tackle major issues facing our community and society at large…”

 

To better understand how and why indirect costs are distributed as they are, the Wayne State Policy manual addresses this in 03-5: Facilities and Administrative Costs Distribution Policy.

Tips & Tools: Form and Function

As a reminder, this is the first month in which our new Tips & Tools meeting format will be enacted!  As the overwhelming majority of our attendees voted to put the meeting on a quarterly schedule, we will not have a physical meeting next week.  Our next meeting in Scott Hall will be held on April 15.

 

Can’t wait that long to get the lowdown on what’s new?  Never fear!  As promised, we will still send out a Research Administrator’s Digest on the third Wednesday of each month without a meeting.  Look for us in your inbox next week, and let us know if you have any questions or topics for highlighted discussion!

Study Sections: Know Your Place

The NIH loves to have its funded experts confer their vast knowledge on various new perspectives.  After all, what is the point of all that investment without the benefit of leverage?  In order to remove any barriers to expertise, there are deadline privileges that are associated with giving your time to the NIH; but there are separate classifications of study section servitude, and the benefits of each are directly proportional to the amount of time and effort given.  This is extremely important because there is a common misconception that service on study section automatically lends the right to a late proposal review, but this is not so.  Take a look at the difference and know where you qualify before you plan on adjusting your proposal timelines:

 

SINGLE STUDY SECTION SERVICE

The privilege that comes with serving on a single study section is that the NIH considers this service a reason why a late application might be accepted, provided that the service was conferred in the two months preceding or the two months following the deadline; that is, the NIH will take into account service on the section in deciding whether or not to accept the application for review.  Specifically: recent temporary or ad hoc service by a PD/PI that required a commitment of time that could have been used to prepare an application may be an acceptable reason (examples include: serving on an NIH extramural review group, NIH Board of Scientific Counselors or an Advisory Board/Council). For the most recent clarifications on late submission policy and other reasons late submissions might be accepted, take a look at NOT-OD-15-039.

The important thing to note here is that a PI does not have an automatic right to acceptance for review after the deadline by virtue of participating on a study section.  Any reasons for late submission must be in relation to the individual(s) with the PD/PI role on the application; if the NIH does not see a causal link, the application will likely be denied review.

 

CONTINUOUS SUBMISSION

Continuous submission allows members of standing committees (as opposed to temporary or ad hoc) and members with “substantial service” to submit proposals for standing deadlines when they are fully developed.  Eligible for events for credit toward the continuous submission standard are membership in chartered standing study sections, NIH Boards of Scientific Counselors, NIH Advisory Boards or Councils, NIH Program Advisory Committees, and/or peer reviewers who have served as regular or temporary members six times in 18 months.  You can check your eligibility by looking for your name on the list that is updated and posted on the standing Continuous Submission information page.  You may also check your eligibility and meetings counted toward the 6/18 standard by logging into your eRACommons account, selecting the “Admin” tab, followed by the “Accounts” tab, and then searching your name.  A table will appear that will indicate in a column called “CS Eligibility Details” whether you qualify for continuous submission:

cs_elig_screenshot

 

Clicking on the “Yes” or “No” in the “CS Eligibility Details” column will give you details as to what was counted toward your eligibility, and what to do if any meetings are missing:

 

cs_detail_screenshot

 

If you’re not sure whether you qualify for continuous submission, we can help you figure it out!  Just remember: the NIH is under no obligation to review your submission if you submit late by reason of participation on a single study section, so don’t extend your timeline and create unnecessary stress!