Employee Action Request

General Information | Processing Instructions | References


The Employee Action Request (EAR) document is a State of California form (Std. 686) used in lieu of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form W-4. This withholding allowance certificate is used within the Uniform State Payroll System (USPS) at the SCO to collect an employee’s legal name, home address, home address release authorization and federal and state tax-withholding information. The EAR is also used to document an employee’s birth date and prior State or public agency employment. All CSU employees must complete an EAR document. The only exceptions are individuals appointed in specific student classifications (class codes: 1870, 1871, 1872) who complete a "SPAR" document.

General Information

Instructions for completing the EAR are indicated on the back of the form. If required, the top page (white) is forwarded to the SCO or it may be retained at the campus; the yellow copy is retained in the employee’s official personnel file; the pink copy is provided to the employee.

  1. Employees with specific questions concerning their tax status should be referred to the appropriate tax agency and their tax advisor. Advice provided to an employee by campus personnel should be limited and applicable to the mechanics of completing the document.

  2. By signing the EAR document, an employee certifies that the number of withholding exemptions and allowances claimed does not exceed the number to which s/he is entitled.

  3. The IRS and Franchise Tax Board (FTB) requires the SCO to report any employee whose weekly gross earnings exceed $200, and/or who claims eleven (11) or more federal tax allowances or exemption from withholding status.

  4. Employees may not use a CSU address as a personal address on the EAR document unless the employee is authorized to and resides in a CSU-owned property, such as a campus dormitory.

  5. In instances where an employee’s name is legally changed, the employee must furnish a copy of the legal document to support the name change. The campus must also obtain a copy of the new social security card or other appropriate verification issued by the Social Security Administration. Name change actions may prompt an update of designee information.

  6. If an employee’s address is in a foreign country and the zip code conforms to the USA's 5-digit field, then enter the foreign zip code. Otherwise, if the foreign country has no zip code, or has more or less than the required 5 digits, enter a zip code value of ’00001’.   

  7. Form 677 is used to request non-disclosure of an employee (including student assistants) home address.

Processing Instructions

  1. New and Returning Employees

Information supplied on the EAR will apply to all state agencies paid through the SCO, including the CSU. Federal and state tax withholdings will be held at the maximum rate for new employees who do not complete an EAR document. Former employees re-appointed within one year will be taxed based upon the withholding information on file at the time of separation, unless an updated EAR is filed upon reappointment. Employees re-appointed after a separation of one year or more must complete a new EAR document. Refer to processing instruction #7-C below for information regarding separated employees with additional withholding tax.

  1. Noncitizen Employees

Federal tax withholding requirements for nonresident employees may vary based upon their current tax filing status. Campuses are responsible for ensuring that tax withholding requirements are appropriately administered

  1. Employees With Additional Positions

EAR changes for employees with more than one active position, should be processed through his/her primary active position (i.e., first active position on the PSN screen). In instances where an employee is employed by more than one campus or civil service agency and there is conflicting information provided on the EAR from one campus/agency to another, the most recently updated EAR document filed is the controlling document.

  1. Separated Employees

In the case of an address change for a separated employee, the campus should have other appropriate documentation on file to support the address change if they cannot obtain the separated employee’s signature.

  1. Deceased Employees

Address changes or withholding allowance changes for a deceased employee may be processed without an employee signature. Wages paid to a deceased employee are not subject to federal or state income tax withholding. An EAR (E03 Transaction) must be documented and processed with the S95 (Death) Transaction to exempt wages paid after death from income tax withholding. Enter "N" in Section V, Non Taxable Wages, on the EAR. This will generate "PERM" on the (SCO) EAR detail screen and no taxes will be taken from the employee’s wages.

  1. Withholding Allowance Change (E03)

If an error is made in any tax field, do not key a correction until the following payroll cycle. (The payroll programs cannot determine the proper sequence when more than one miscellaneous deduction is processed in the same payroll cycle.) Withholding allowance changes for death may be processed without an employee signature.

  1. Additional Withholding Tax

  1. If additional tax withholding is keyed prior to or on master payroll cutoff, it is a miscellaneous deduction effective the pay period in which it is keyed,  If keyed after cutoff, even during a green cycle, the deduction will not be taken until the following month.

  • Example #1
    Positive Pay employee: Additional tax withholding is keyed in February, before payroll cutoff, but the employee has not yet been paid for January. When January’s warrant issues, it will not have the additional tax withheld. The additional withholding will begin with February’s master warrant because the change was keyed in February.

  • Example #2
    Negative Pay employee: Appointment/EAR is effective in January, but is keyed after payroll cutoff (e.g., keyed in a green cycle, or keyed in February). When January’s warrant issues, it will not have the additional tax withheld. The additional tax withholding will begin with the February master warrant.

  • Example #3
    Negative Pay employee: Appointment/EAR is effective in January, but is not keyed until February after January’s pay has issued. The additional withholding will begin with the February master warrant.

  1. Active employee with additional federal or state withholding only. Note: If both fields for all conditions below are not keyed, then additional withholding tax may not be withheld properly.  If this occurs, then the campus must re-key the additional withholding tax entering both fields.  

  • Example #1
    An employee has only federal additional withholding tax or only state additional withholding tax and wants to add the other additional withholding tax, in order for the withholding tax to generate properly, the campus must key enter both the federal and state withholding tax.

  • Example #2
    An employee has both federal and state additional withholding tax, and wants to change only the federal additional tax (or vice versa), the campus must key both fields even though only one is changing.

  • Example #3
    Above would apply if deleting one of the fields.  Both fields must be keyed - one with the amount and one with the field to be deleted.

    1. Reappointment after a separation.  (Regardless if separation and reappointment are one day apart.)

  • Since additional tax is a miscellaneous deduction, when a separation is posted to the employee's record, this deduction will drop off of the payroll master file.

  • When the employee separates and is re-appointed, the additional withholding tax information must be re-keyed, (even though it is on the EAR detail screen) in order to generate the additional withholding tax.

  • Refer to processing instruction #7-A above for time frame guidelines for the Withholding Allowance Change (E03) to be keyed.

Note:  When requesting additional withholding taxes, Federal taxes can only be up to 9999.99 and state tax can be only up to 999.99.  The system will not allow anything over these amounts.

  1. Birth Date Correction/Change

When processing a correction or change to birth date and the message "CalPERS FLAG HAS BEEN SET" is displayed, this means that the campus cannot change the birth date via EAR Transaction. This message displays after the SCO has processed a CalPERS-initiated "RST" Transaction because of a discrepancy in the birth date. The EAR HISTORY/SYNOPSIS will display a "R02" Transaction; the INQUIRY PPT-1 SCREEN will display an "X" in the CalPERS FLAG field. If the employee submits a birth date change that differs from the R02 Transaction, contact CalPERS to resolve the discrepancy. The employee may be required to furnish proof of birth date.


SCO Payroll Procedures Manual, Section H-100



Last Updated: April 14, 2010