Income Withholding Information for Employers & Payroll Service Providers
An important component of the Wisconsin Child Support Program is the state statutory requirement that all orders for child support, maintenance, and family support include a provision for immediate income withholding by the payer’s employer. Income withholding is required whether or not the individual is delinquent in making payments.
A court order for child support constitutes an assignment to the agency designated to receive payments of all income, including commissions, earnings, salaries, wages, pension benefits, and other money due or to be due in the future. Current obligations, past-due support (arrearages), and annual receipt and disbursement fees are subject to income withholding per § 767.75, Wis. Stats.
Income withholding for child support has priority over any other legal process (e.g., a garnishment) against the same income. However, federal tax levies in effect before receipt of an income withholding notice have priority unless the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agrees to an alternative priority.
Timelines for Withholding Support
Employers must begin withholding support no later than the first pay period occurring five working days of the date on the income withholding notice. All support and support-related payments must be submitted to the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund (WI SCTF) within five days of the withholding. Income withholding orders remain in effect until further notice. You will receive a notice if the terms of the order change, or when the order is no longer in force. You must keep the income withholding notice on file and withhold the stated amount whenever the employee receives a paycheck. This applies to all employers, including temporary employment agencies, seasonal employers, and employers that periodically lay off and then rehire employees.
Costs and Charges for Income Withholding
You may deduct a fee from an employee's wages to offset withholding costs. You may deduct this fee from the employee's wages, commission check, or other sources of income, but not from the support payment. The fee does not affect the employee's gross income for calculating support amounts. By law, the fee must reflect the actual cost, but may not exceed $3.00 per withholding.
In general, you may charge more than one fee from the same paycheck if you send in withholdings to separate addresses or with separate documentation, such as:
- withholding child support and withholding R&D fees from the same paycheck (require separate documentation and mailing)
- withholding child support from the same paycheck for two child support orders if the orders are from two different states (remitted to two different locations)
You may not charge separate fees for two or more withholdings from one paycheck if the withholdings from one paycheck are all remitted to the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund with the same documentation. For example:
- withholding for two Wisconsin child support orders
- withholding for current and past-due support
You may not charge a fee for sending withheld premiums to an insurance provider.
Additional Information For Employers & Payroll Service Providers Regarding Income Withholding
- Calculators for Income Withholding
- Income Withholding Notices
- Submitting Withholdings
- Withholding R&D Fees