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4.06: Gross earnings for defined contribution (DC) plans

4.06: Gross earnings for defined contribution (DC) plans

Employer and employee defined contribution (DC) and Personal Healthcare Fund contributions are calculated based on gross earnings and are reported on a Detail 4 - DC Contribution (DTL4) record.

Gross earnings include all compensation reported on a participant's W-2 or 1099R form as earnings for services performed for the employer, including many compensation types that are not reportable on a DTL2 record, such as bonus payments, severance pay, cash in lieu of an excluded benefit, and group term life insurance premiums if that amount exceeds $50,000 annually.

Gross earnings may include more than the amount listed in Box 1 (Taxable Wages) of the employee's W-2 form. Gross earnings also include items exempt from taxable wages, such as employee amounts contributed to a tax-sheltered annuity (excluded from Box 1 of W-2) and employee costs to an employer-sponsored healthcare plan (excluded from Box 1 of W-2).

Compensation types that are not part of gross earnings and not reportable on a DTL4 record:

  • Weekly workers' compensation (when paid by a third party).
  • Short-term disability.
  • Long-term disability.
  • Reimbursements of any kind.

Example of reporting gross earnings

$7,000  Taxable income reported on Box 1 of W-2
+$300  Pretax employee contribution to a tax-sheltered annuity
$7,300  Gross earnings (amount to be reported in the Employer Reported Wages field on the DTL4 record)

Last updated: 06/14/2022