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Domestic Partner Medical Premiums (rev. 8/17/11)
Q1)  For what members are employer-paid domestic partner medical premiums considered "subject" salary, to be reported to PERS?
 
A1)  Domestic partner medical premiums are not considered "subject" salary for Ch. 238 Tier One/Tier Two members.  ORS 238.005 states that "salary" does not include:  "(I)  Payments made by an employer for insurance coverage provided to a domestic partner of an employee." 
 
Domestic partner medical premiums may be considered "subject" salary for OPSRP Pension Program members. ORS 238A.005 does not have a specific exclusion for such payments from "salary" as Ch. 238 does. Therefore, domestic partner medical premiums paid by the employer fall under the general rule that payments to OPSRP Pension program members that are included in the employees' Oregon taxable income and are not excluded from salary by statute would be considered "subject" salary.  It is the employer’s responsibility to determine whether domestic partner medical premiums paid by the employer are Oregon taxable income.  If the employer determines that the payments are not included in the employee's Oregon taxable income, then the employer would not report the payments as subject salary. 
 
Q2)  What is a "domestic" partner?
 
A2)  This determination is made by the employer, not PERS. For OPSRP Pension members, if the employer is paying domestic partner health insurance premiums and the premiums are included in the OPSRP Pension member's Oregon taxable income, those premiums should be reported as subject salary for that member. The employer must make the determination that the domestic partner health insurance premium is or is not included in the member's Oregon taxable income based on Oregon Department of Revenue guidelines, not on PERS guidance. Employers should note that the nature of the domestic partnership, i.e., opposite sex domestic partners, same-sex but non-registered domestic partners, and same-sex registered domestic partners, may be relevant to the employer’s determination whether the payment should be included in the member’s Oregon taxable income. Employers may wish to consult the Oregon Department of Revenue's Oregon Individual Income Tax Guide, which contains information specific to Registered Domestic Partners under General Filing Instructions, or pose taxable income questions directly to the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR).
 
Q3)  What role does "imputed" salary play in reporting domestic partner medical premiums?
 
A3)  The term "imputed salary" is not defined in PERS' statutes and may mean different things to different employers.  Rather than address an undefined term, the question as presented above is the real distinction: is the payment included in the member's taxable income and not excluded from salary by statute?  If yes, it's OPSRP Pension subject salary.
 
Q4)  What is the affected time frame?
 
A4)  From January 1, 2004 to the present.
 
Review of EDX functionality indicates the reporting status for this payment category can be changed at this time.  PERS management will review information received in response to the February 5, 2010 employer information request and determine procedures for ongoing and retroactive reporting for this payment category.  Those policies and procedures will be forthcoming in the near future.