Compensation and Payroll

 2017 Market/Equity Compensation Analysis

In our continuing effort to make progress towards market-competitive compensation goals, campus leadership has funded a dedicated pool to address identified market or equity adjustments. Market equity adjustments are not merit-based but rather reflect an analysis of salaries for identified similar positions in the marketplace in an effort to advance our ability to remain competitive in our relevant market. Necessary adjustments identified through the recent analysis efforts will be included in December 2017 paychecks for all impacted employees, with appropriate retroactive effective dates based on employee classifications (e.g., 7/1/17 or 8/1/17)

This round of market equity adjustments represents another incremental step in ongoing compensation planning. For these adjustments, Sibson Strategic Human Resources Consulting, an independent agency that works with higher education clients on setting compensation benchmarks, analyzed faculty salaries reported within the CUPA database, while staff salaries were benchmarked using the most recent CUPA data through an internal analysis process within the Office of Human Resources

In 2018, Sibson will evaluate both faculty and staff salaries with the intention of another round of market equity adjustments.

If you have any questions about the market equity adjustment process, please contact your supervisor or the Office of Human Resources.

UT’s Compensation Advisory Board (CAB) was launched in March 2010 to help guide the University’s compensation philosophy, structure and programs. The 13-member board serves in an advisory capacity and includes administrators, faculty and staff from every campus and institute. Dr. Richard Brown, Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations at UTC, was named as chair of CAB in 2011 and is dedicated to the University’s desire to improve the total compensation of its employees.

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Salary schedule for regular staff employees, effective July 1, 2016


Frequently Asked Questions

An employee (regular, term and student) may access Employee Self Service by using their university Net ID and password to log in, then click on the Employee Self-Service Tab and select the desired feature.

An employee does not have to be an IRIS user. For assistance with NetID or password, contact the Help Desk at 425-4000.

Employees can view, print, email and/or download their current pay statement as well as pay statements from the previous three years through Employee Self Service

An email notification will be sent to the employee's NetID@tennessee.edu email address on the day prior to a pay date.  This is a reminder that the on-line pay statement is available for viewing.  Read MORE...

The dates for the distribution of both electronic and paper W-2 forms for calendar year 2016 will be announced at a later date. If you do not receive this paper form, or need to re-print it for any reason, you may now do so by visiting https://irisweb.tennessee.edu/irj/portal/W-2. In addition, you may view, print, and download W-2 forms for any year back to 2002.

Inactive and terminated employees will continue to receive paper forms mailed to their home or US Postal Service addresses as recorded in the IRIS Payroll system. Active employees can confirm their mailing addresses or make changes through the My IRIS Web portal at https://irisweb.tennessee.edu or have the opportunity to discontinue receipt of the paper W-2 forms and receive the electronic version only by following instructions below.

For several years, the UT Payroll Office has offered an online version of the W-2 as a convenience to employees.  In the second phase of the Electronic W-2 Initiative, active UT employees have the opportunity to discontinue receipt of the paper W-2 forms and receive the electronic version only.  Some key benefits of electing to use the online W-2 are:

  • Enhanced security is realized since the online form is accessed using the NetID and password, and the presentation is done via a secure protocol in the My IRIS Web portal (https://irisweb.tennessee.edu/).  Sensitive personal information would no longer route through regular mail.
  • Electronic W-2 Forms are available in advance of the forms received via regular mail.
  • The reduction of paper use supports the UT Sustainability initiative.
  • The reduction of paper use and the reduction of postage costs result in cost savings for the University.
  • Electronic W-2 Forms are available online 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

The IRS requires that an employee must specifically acknowledge an agreement to receive an electronic version only, so no action is necessary for staff members who elect to continue receipt of paper W-2 forms.

Employees who decide to partner with us in the new efficiency opportunity may initiate this process by logging in through the My IRIS Web portal at https://irisweb.tennessee.edu.  After authenticating, take the following steps to access the W-2 paper opt out election:

Click on the Employee Self Service tab; click Benefits & Payment; click Opt Out of Paper W-2; click Election period open - new section will open up at the bottom of the screen titled Election Details; click Receive W-2 online; click OK on the confirmation pop-up;

The option to opt out of a paper W-2 will remain open through January 12, 2017. As of 1/13/2017, it will no longer be possible to opt out of receiving a paper W-2 for 2016.  Once the election to discontinue paper is in place, the election will apply to all W-2 forms for the current and future years until/unless the employee elects to revert back to the paper form using this same process. An election phase will be available each year before W-2s are distributed.

Inactive and terminated employees will continue to receive paper forms mailed to their home or US Postal Service addresses as recorded in the IRIS Payroll system. Active employees can confirm their mailing addresses or make changes through the My IRIS Web portal at https://irisweb.tennessee.edu.

Funds will be deposited on your pay date. Please refer to Payroll Calendars. Funds will not be available prior to that date.

You must complete a new authorization form as soon as possible. 

In the past, employees have been encouraged to attach a voided check or letter/form from their bank with their bank account number written out when establishing direct deposit or a change to their bank account. Effective immediately, in an effort to prevent fraud, the UT payroll office will not accept new direct deposit forms or changes to direct deposit without a voided check or letter/form from the employee’s bank.

You may direct deposit into two different accounts (a checking and a savings account, two checking accounts, or two savings accounts) and/or financial institutions.

If you choose to direct deposit into two accounts, you must designate one account as your primary account and the other as secondary. The secondary account will require a fixed dollar amount. Your pay will be split into the two accounts with the fixed dollar amount deposited into the secondary account and all remaining pay deposited to the primary account. If your net pay is less than the fixed dollar amount, all of the net pay will be deposited into the secondary account.

Using your university Net ID and password to log in, click on the Employee Self-Service Tab and select the desired feature.

  • Home Address Update – You may change your home address and you may add up to 4 additional telephone numbers for fax numbers, cell numbers, and alternate telephone numbers. You may also change your disclosure declaration limiting how much information is published within the University. Each time you make a change on this screen you will receive an email notification that your information has been changed.
  • Office Phone Update - You may change your office telephone number and add up to 4 additional telephone numbers for fax numbers, cell numbers, and alternate telephone numbers. You may also change your disclosure declaration limiting how much information is published within the University.
  • IRS Form W-4 Update – This screen allows you to change the tax withholding declarations used by the payroll system when calculating your federal income tax withholding. For example, if you get married or you want an additional amount withheld you may want to change your current declaration. Each time you make a change on this screen you will receive an email notification that your information has been changed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Why are there tax withholdings on my tuition waiver?

All graduate tuition and fee waivers are taxable unless exempt under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code.Under the University’s Graduate Student Assistantship Plan that is in compliance with IRS Code

  • 127, $5,250 per calendar year (January to December) in tuition and service fee waivers associated with Graduate Assistantship (GA) appointments are excluded from taxable income. If the amount of the tuition and service fee waiver exceeds $5,250, the excess (the amount above $5,250) is deemed taxable income under IRS Code and taxed accordingly. 

Is this a change in University policy?

No. Under federal tax law, a university employee who receives a graduate school tuition waiver in excess of $5,250 in a calendar year must treat the excess amount as additional taxable income (unless exempt as noted below). As a result, the University is required to withhold tax on the excess amount of the tuition waiver for Graduate Service Assistants (GSAs) and report this amount on the W-2. However, tuition waivers for certain service assistantships may be tax exempted under IRS Code §132 and Treasury Regulation 162(a) which allows education benefits from employers to be tax exempted for certain courses of study. 

Are all GA positions included in this IRS Code or are some assistantships allowed to exclude their graduate tuition waivers from their income?

IRS Code §117 exempts teaching (GTA) and research (GRA) graduate assistant tuition from being taxed. Therefore, the tuition and service fee waivers that exceed $5,250 are not taxable for teaching and research GAs. Non-teaching/research GAs, that is GSAs, were specifically excluded from this exclusion thereby making the tuition waiver related to these assistantships taxable.The University considers a GTA or GRA as a graduate student who is involved in the following teaching or research activities:

TEACHING: For University tax purposes, teaching activities may include, but are not limited to, the following: providing or coordinating classroom instruction, including lab or discussion sessions; tutoring students; grading tests and assignments; developing instructional materials; accompanying/coaching musical or vocal performances and proctoring exams.

RESEARCH: For University tax purposes, research activities may include, but are not limited to, the following examples of applying and mastering research concepts, practices, or methods of scholarship: conducting experiments; organizing or analyzing data; presenting findings; collaborating with others in preparing publications; and conducting institutional research for an academic or administrative unit. 

What is the Graduate Assistant Position Description form and who must complete it?

The purpose of the Graduate Assistant Position Description form is to determine the type of graduate assistantship and then determine if the assistantship is taxable or exempted. If the GA is teaching or research, then it is exempted by definition under IRS Code §117. If the GA is a service assistantship, then the “Assistantship Duties and Responsibilities” are designed to allow the University to determine if the assistantship is taxable or exempted under Treasury Regulation 162(a) by comparing the duties of the assistantship to the course of study.The Graduate Assistant Position Description form must be completed for each graduate assistantship position. Every department or unit employing a graduate assistant(s) must complete a form for each position. Failure to complete the form may result in the position being classified as a service assistant and not exempt from the taxation. 

When will tax withholding start?

Beginning March 2012, once the value of your tuition waiver is above $5,250 it will be included in your taxable income. The tax withholding will start on that pay period. 

What will be provided to me to show taxation of my tuition waiver?

Students whose tuition waiver and fees are taxed will receive a 1098T. The waiver and award will appear in Box 5 of the 1098T. 

How much is the withholding?

If you hold a GAA, the value of the waiver that exceeds $5,250 will have tax withholding of 30%. 

What happens to the taxes that are withheld?

Both the amount of taxable income associated with the waiver and the taxes that the University withholds with respect to such income are reported on Form W-2. The taxes that the University withholds are forwarded to the IRS and credited to your tax liability for the year.

Is it possible that the tax withholding will result in my take home pay in the pay periods to be significantly reduced or reduced to zero?

Yes. Your tax liability may result in a zero paycheck depending on the value of your waivers and the pay you receive for the services you perform for the University.

Who should I contact if I have specific questions? Please contact the Office of Human Resource at 423-425-4221 or the UTC Graduate School at 423-425-4666.

Staff who are classified as graduate level students taking courses required by their employer or to maintain or improve skills needed in their present job are exempt from taxation.  To claim this exemption, please complete the Job Related Tuition Waiver Form. This form requires both the signature of the employee and the department head.  Once the form has been completed, return the form to the University Wide Payroll Office at P115 Andy Holt Tower, Knoxville TN, 37996 or email it to rchance@tennessee.edu. 

Beginning Spring Semester 2012, the university will begin withholding taxes on the non-qualified graduate fee waivers once the $5,250 excludable amount has been reached for the calendar year.  The in-state and out-of-state graduate fee waiver value will be prorated over several months and taxed according to the following schedule.

Semester Month(s) including additional tax withholding
Spring February, March, April
Mini-Term May
Summer June, July
Fall September, October, November

 

Because the fee waiver value (over the $5,250 in a calendar year) will be added to the taxable income on your check and taxed at the W4 graduated rate, you can take your specific tax situation in consideration and submit a new W4 to your campus Human Resources/Payroll Office to adjust the amount withheld.  Please see your personal tax advisor for further advice.