USCIS Form I-9 Revised August 1, 2023

The USCIS has revised the form I-9 effective August 1, 2023.  This new form will be in effect until July 31, 2026.  Employers may use the 2019 Form I-9 through October 31, 2023.  Beginning November 1, employers MUST use the revised form, (which has been uploaded to our webpage under Employee Services).  The Spanish version is available on the USCIS website.

Overview of Form I-9 changes:

  • Reduced Sections 1 and 2 to a single sheet. No previous fields were removed. Multiple fields were merged into fewer fields when possible, such as in the employer certification.
  • Moved the Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area to a separate Supplement A that employers can use when necessary. This supplement provides three areas for current and future preparers and translators to complete as needed. Employers may attach additional supplements as needed.
  • Moved Section 3 Reverification and Rehire to a standalone Supplement B that employers can use as needed for rehire or reverification. This supplement provides four areas for current and subsequent reverifications. Employers may attach additional supplements as needed.
  • Removed use of “alien authorized to work” in Section 1 and replaced it with “noncitizen authorized to work” and clarified the difference between “noncitizen national” and “noncitizen authorized to work.”
  • Ensured the form can be filled out on tablets and mobile devices by downloading onto the device and opening in the free Adobe Acrobat Reader app.
  • Removed certain features to ensure the form can be downloaded easily. This also removes the requirement to enter N/A in certain fields.
  • Improved guidance to the Lists of Acceptable Documents to include some acceptable receipts, guidance, and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
  • Added a checkbox for E-Verify employers to indicate when they have remotely examined Form I-9 documents. Overview of Form I-9 Instructions changes:   
  • Reduced length from 15 pages to 8 pages. • Added definitions of key actors in the Form I-9 process.
  • Streamlined the steps each actor takes to complete their section of the form.
  • Added instructions for the new checkbox to indicate when Form I-9 documents were remotely examined.
  • Removed the abbreviations charts and relocated them to the M-274.

Employers must retain original I-9 forms for three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later.  The forms should be stored separately from other personnel files in its own filed labeled Employee I-9 and may be stored electronically.

WI Pay Tip of the Day – 50% Business Meals Deduction

Generally speaking, if you take a client out to dinner, 50% of the cost of the meal is deductible.  The IRS, as a means to stimulate the restaurant industry, removed the 50% limit on this deduction and replaced it with 100% deductibility for any meal expense incurred in 2021 and 2022.

To make sure that your deduction stands up to IRS scrutiny, it is recommended to document who, what, when, where and how much for each meal deduction.

  1. Who were you with?
  2. What did you discuss?
  3. When did you do this?
  4. Where did you go?
  5. How much (including gratuity) did you pay?

The key to having your deductions hold up in the event of an audit is proper documentation.  We upload all receipts to our QuickBooks file and in the memo line, we type in the who and the what.  Everything else is included in the QuickBooks entry and the receipt is attached for future reference.

Because of the temporary 100% business deduction, it is a good time to take advantage of this deduction which will end on December 31, 2022. 

WI Pay Tip of the Day – WI Unemployment Insurance Voluntary Contribution

The State of Wisconsin sometimes allows companies to “purchase” a lower unemployment insurance tax rate.  Wisconsin Pay has done the calculations on behalf of our clients and will be sending you an email if it pays for you to buy down your 2022 rate.  This service has been provided at no charge to you by your Payroll Department (a/k/a Kayla and Katie at Wisconsin Pay Specialists).

If your company will save money by making the voluntary contribution, you will receive an email from that will include the amount required to be paid to lower your rate and the tax savings.  You can go online and make this payment yourself or contact us and we’ll make it for you for a fee of $35.

The Voluntary Contributions must be made no later than NOVEMBER 30 in order to lower your 2022 rate.  If, you want us to make the payment on your behalf, we need to hear from you no later than Friday, November 26. 

Here is an example of an employer whose Reserve Fund Percentage is 8.98% (which is close to the next level of 9%).  By making a contribution of $14.12 – this employer will save $193.51 on its 2022 Unemployment Insurance Tax.    They paid the $14.12.    The best one we found was a client who had to pay 90 cents and saved $860.00!  Happy Thanksgiving!!

WI Pay Tip of the Day – IRS Backlog

The Internal Revenue Service warned Thursday of a programming issue that’s affecting business taxpayers who need transcripts for requesting COVID-19 employment tax relief.

The problem affects transcript requests for Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return. Tax professionals have been filing amended versions of the Form 941 to help their clients claim the employee retention credit. But the programming bug won’t be fixed until Sept. 26, according to the IRS, which could further delay tax refunds for the businesses that need them.

The problem is only the latest in a series of technology problems plaguing the IRS, which has struggled to update its antiquated systems to handle all the many changes in tax policy and tax relief that have arisen since the start of the pandemic.

“There is a Transcript Delivery System (TDS) programming issue impacting business taxpayers who reported information related to COVID-19 employment tax relief on Form 941,” said the IRS in an email last Thursday to tax professionals. “Account Transcripts requested for Form 941 for all quarters in Tax Year 2021 may not generate properly. Transcripts are not being delivered to the Secure Object Repository (SOR) Mailbox for e-Services users. When viewing the transcript online, a message will display on the transcript indicating TDS has encountered an unrecoverable error processing the request. With the Postal Mail delivery method, no transcript is mailed.”

That will likely mean further frustrations for beleaguered tax professionals and their clients since even postal delivery is affected by the bug, and the overworked customer service reps at the IRS won’t be able to help. Tax pros will also be facing confusing messages from the system.

“As the Record of Account Transcript is a combination of the Tax Return and Account Transcripts, the Record of Account Transcript is also impacted and can display a message of ‘No record of return filed,’” said the IRS in its email to tax professionals. “IRS Customer Service Representatives are also unable to obtain these transcripts.” The IRS expects the programming issue to be fixed on Sept. 26, 2021.   Hang on… this too shall pass.

WI Pay Tip of the Day – Calculating Payroll Taxes

Payroll taxes are mandatory contributions that both employees and employers make including federal, state and local income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, and federal and state unemployment tax.  The percentage of payroll taxes paid by an employer is a minimum of 9.25% depending on state unemployment rates, so it is important to include the employer’s taxes when calculating the “real” cost of an employee (and don’t forget about your worker’s compensation).

The employer pays 6.2% for Social Security; 1.45% for Medicare, .6% – 6% for federal unemployment and an additional percent for state unemployment (dependent on employer).

The employee also pays 6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare.  The employee does not pay toward unemployment but does have federal and state income taxes withheld.  This amount varies by employee based on the W-4.  While the state withholding procedures have remained unchanged (at least in WI), the new federal W-4 has been a source of stress for many employees.

Basically, the Feds look at each paycheck and assume that is how much you will make each pay all year and taxes accordingly.  Therefore a check that includes a bonus may have substantially more federal income tax taken out and a check with only a few hours on it may have no federal income taxes withheld.  To determine how best to complete your W-4 or to see if you are on target, the IRS has created a Tax Withholding Estimator  Tax Withholding Estimator (

Sound confusing – it is! 

Let us help clear things up for you and your employees (and keep you compliant)!

WI Pay Tip Of The Day – ERC

Did you know that as an employer you may be eligible for the ERC (Employee Retention Credits)?  These credits apply to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020 and before December 31, 2021.  Eligible employers for the purpose of ERC either fully or partially suspended operations during any calendar quarter due to orders from the government due to COVID-19 or experienced a significant decline in gross receipts during the same period.

To date, we have done returns on behalf of several of our clients and they will collectively receive well over $100,000 in credits.    These credits are designed to encourage employers to keep their staff working even when sales are down.  However, the time frame to receive the credits is now estimated to be between 8 – 11 months from the time you file the return.   If you think you may qualify, please call Kayla at our office 920-499-8463 ext 1 and she will assist you in moving forward.  (Note – you do not need to be a current client in order for us to file for ERC on your behalf.)

For more information, go to

 FAQs: Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act | Internal Revenue Service (


Let’s talk about referrals!  It is the way that most small businesses grow their business.  I tell you, you tell your friend, who tells her sister, who tells her mom and pretty soon business is booming. 

I usually only do business with businesses that are referred to me.  I feel that if you are willing to recommend a business to me, that business must have done right by you and will therefore, do right by me. 

When I refer you to a business that I have worked with, I am doing so with confidence that you will be treated well and taken care of.    I also know that if things are not going well, I can call that business on your behalf and help to get things moving smoothly. 

I don’t know anyone who grows up thinking they want to run payroll.  But I do know people who wake up wanting to help people run and grow their businesses.  By making referrals, I am helping both the business I am referring to AND the business needing the service/product.  It is truly a win-win!

For the month of August– Wisconsin Pay Specialists is offering a $50 gas card for a referral that signs on with us to do payroll or bookkeeping!  Don’t keep us a secret.

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Testimonials: What Your Clients Say

Wikipedia says that a testimonial consists of a person’s written or spoken statement extolling the virtue of a product or service.    But testimonials also demonstrate your credibility and expertise.   I rely heavily on testimonials – you should to!

 As a business, it is important for your potential clients to trust you in order to part with their money.  Testimonials are a great way to let others know of your ability to create results.   Here are some suggestions to get your testimonial tank filled up.

  1.  Word-of-mouth is and always has been a great tool.  In today’s world, word-of-mouth usually takes the form of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – so one person’s endorsement’s power has grown exponentially.    Keep in mind, getting the word out on social media is not always positive and may require some response from you.
  2. A more controlled method is to make a list of colleagues, clients, and co-workers who have seen you in action.  Think of anyone who has benefited from your guidance and expertise.  (Mom’s glowing praise does not carry much weight!)  
    • What results could they attest to?
    • If they are unsure what to say, tell them what type of clients you are interested in.
    • Perhaps have them explain a problem and how you resolved it.
    • If they are really struggling with what to say, create a couple of sample testimonials for them to approve.
  3.  Make sure all of your testimonials include your full name and the full name of your company so they are picked up in searches such as Google.  For example:

Wisconsin Pay Specialists and Kat Meissner rock the payroll and bookkeeping world!   I have never felt so good about my office management as I do now that I have hired them.  It was one of the best business decisions I ever made.     – Kat Meissner, Wisconsin Pay Specialists

4. It is also important to get first and last names, as well as full company names of the people giving the testimonial to lend credibility to their words.

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Let’s get into the 21st Century!!

Back in “the day” payroll checks were calculated using the infamous green ledger sheets and cash or handwritten checks were delivered to the employees on payday. This was ok until you realized you had a sneaky employee who mastered “doctoring” their check and wha-la their $1000 check is now a $1800 check.

Say hello to Paymaster!

And now it’s time to get into the 21st Century with Direct Deposit.

As an employer why direct deposit?  So glad you asked!

  1.  No more checks run through the washer so no more stopping payment on checks and no more cutting replacement checks.
  2. No more “I have to leave work early so I can get my check into the bank before 2.”
  3.  Employees can log into their bank account and see their pay – usually in the wee hours of the morning of payday – even before they get to work.
  4. Funds are available immediately – employees no longer must wait for the check to clear in order to access their pay.
  5. Even if your employees are off on payday – they still get paid – with no hoops for you to jump though.
  6. Your bank account information is more secure, as pay stubs for direct deposit do not include the employer’s bank account number.
  7. Your employees can distribute funds to multiple accounts to help with their budgeting and implement a savings strategy.
  8. Entering your payroll is now done with one entry rather than entering and waiting for multiple checks to clear – saves on bookkeeping time.
  9. With direct deposit, you can also have employee self-services.  No more worries about employees seeing other employees’ checks and finally
  10. You’re helping the environment!

If you are a Wisconsin employer, you can require employees to be paid via Direct Deposit.  If you have an employee who does not have a bank account – no worries, we have Pay Cards – which are debit cards that we load their pay onto. It is time.

Through hard work and perseverance, I’ve gone from living paycheck to paycheck – to living direct deposit to direct deposit.

W I Pay Tip of the Day – Required Documentation To Claim Tax Credits for COVid19 Related Paid Leave Payments

Updated DOL/IRS Guidance on Required Documentation

To Claim Tax Credits

for COVid19 Related Paid Leave Payments

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave and paid leave under the Expanded FMLA provisions in the Families First Act established five primary “qualifying reasons” justifying up to 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave:

  1. Quarantine or isolation order by federal, state, or local authorities related to COVID-19
  2. Employee has been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider due to concerns related to COVID–19. (Note: this could include advice based solely on an employee’s high-risk status, with no exposure to an infected person or symptoms of infection.)
  3. Employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis
  4. Employee is caring for an individual who is quarantined
  5. Due to school or childcare closures, an employee is unable to work to care for children

Up to 10 weeks of Expanded FMLA Paid Leave may be taken, but only for reason No. 5 above.

Employers making payments under this Act are entitled to reimbursement in the form of quarterly tax credits on their federal payroll taxes. The Department of Labor has indicated that in order for employees to be eligible for these paid leave benefits, and for employers to be eligible for reimbursement via quarterly tax credits, employers must obtain specific documentation, established by the Internal Revenue Service, from employees requesting either type of paid leave.

The IRS released guidance last week specifying the documentation that will be needed for employers to receive these tax credits. These guidelines require that each employee seeking leave must provide written documentation containing the following information in connection with their request for Paid Sick Leave (“PSL”) or Emergency Family and Medical Leave (“EFMLA”): (1) employee’s name; (2) the date or dates for which leave is requested; (3) the “qualifying reason” for the leave; and (4) a statement that the employee is unable to work (either on-site or via telework) because of the qualified reason for leave.

Employees must also provide additional documentation depending on the reason for taking the PSL or EFMLA:

  • To take PSL because the employee is quarantined, the employee must also provide the name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order.
  • To take PSL because the employee has been told to self-quarantine, the employee must also provide the name of the health care provider who advised the employee to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • To take PSL because the employee is caring for an individual for COVID-19 reasons, the employee must also provide either: (1) the name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order to which the individual being cared for is subject; or (2) the name of the health care provider who advised the individual being cared for to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19. The IRS Guidelines further require that the employee provide the name of the individual being cared for and his or her relation to the employee.
  • To take PSL or EFMLA to care for a son or daughter due to school or childcare closure, the employee must also provide: (1) the name and age of the son or daughter; (2) the name of the school, place of care, or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable; and (3) a representation that no other suitable person will be caring for the son or daughter during the period for which the employee takes PSL or EFMLA. Additionally, with respect to the employee’s inability to work or telework because of a need to provide care for a child older than 14 during daylight hours, the IRS requires a statement that “special circumstances” exist requiring the employee to provide care.

Additional Employer Records and Documentation Required to Obtain the Tax Credit

In addition to the information set forth above, employers must also create and maintain (for four years) records that include the following information:

  • Documentation to show how the employer determined the amount of PSL and EFML wages paid to employees that are eligible for the credit, including records of work, telework, and qualified PSL and EFML.
  • Documentation to show how the employer determined the amount of qualified health plan expenses that the employer allocated to wages.
  • Copies of any completed Forms 7200, “Advance of Employer Credits Due To COVID-19,” that the employer submitted to the IRS.
  • Copies of the completed Forms 941, “Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return,” that the employer submitted to the IRS (or, for employers that use third party payers to meet their employment tax obligations, records of information provided to the third party payer regarding the employer’s entitlement to the credit claimed on Form 941).