Oregon Adds Independent Contractors to Child Support Reporting Requirements

By Alysha Phelps & Hannah LaChance
Barran Law

Earlier this summer, Governor Kotek signed Senate Bill (SB) 184, which modifies the child support reporting requirements for Oregon employers. Starting January 1, 2024, employers will need to include independent contractors in their reports to the Division of Child Support of the Department of Justice. Employers will be required to report any independent contractors engaged or reengaged on or after this date.

Oregon employers presently play a significant role in the child support system. Under current law, employers must report newly hired or rehired employees within 20 days to the Division of Child Support of the Oregon Department of Justice. “Employees” include any individual who must fill out an IRS W-4 form, which includes temporary staff. “Rehired” employees include any employee who is returning after being laid off, separated, furloughed, granted leave without pay, or terminated from employment for more than 60 days.

Employers are still required to withhold income after receiving an “income withholding order” (IWO) for an employee until they receive an official notification to stop withholding income. Employers must send this income to the Oregon Child Support Program. When an employee whose wages are subject to an IWO ends their employment, employers must also notify the child support agency so the agency can contact the employee’s new employer.

Under SB 184, employers are now subject to similar reporting requirements for independent contractors. Employers must report independent contractors to the Division of Child Support of the Oregon Department of Justice within 20 days of their engagement or reengagement. Pursuant to the new law, “independent contractors” means someone who is required to complete an IRS W-9 form and who is expected to perform services for more than 20 days. “Reengagement” means an independent contractor who previously performed services for the employer, but who has not performed services for them within the previous 60 days.

These employer reporting obligations apply if the employer has employees or independent contractors working exclusively in Oregon, or in the case of multi-state employers, if the employer has designated Oregon as the employee’s reporting state to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Employers must report the employee or independent contractor’s name, first date of work, mailing address, and social security number. In addition, the employer must include the employer’s name, address, and tax identification number. Employers can file reports either through the Oregon Employer Services Portal or by completing the Oregon New Hire Reporting Form and faxing or mailing it to the Division of Child Support of the Oregon Department of Justice. Failing to properly report or withhold income can expose employers to liability, including damages, monetary penalties, and attorneys’ fees. Employers should review their child support reporting policies and procedures to ensure compliance with this new law prior to January 1st of 2024.

For questions about child support reporting requirements, or any other employment matters, contact Alysha Phelps at (503) 276-2183 or [email protected].

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