Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) are reporting that the supplemental payments (13thchecks) from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) are showing up in their bank accounts!

TRTA is proud of the work its members put in during the legislative session to create this great accomplishment.

The supplemental payment is only half of the good news, as the funding that retirees procured during the session are leading to a healthier, sustainable pension fund going into the future.

In 2019, TRTA’s advocacy put $589 million directly into the pocketbooks of retirees via this 13th check. In total, TRTA secured an additional $1.344 BILLION for TRS retirees and pre–retirees this past legislative session! If you haven’t already, be sure to join our organization. Also, be sure to encourage your friends and fellow educators to do so too. It’s only through a strong membership that we can attain results.

Additionally, if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, be sure to contact your legislators and let them know that you’ve received your check. You can thank them and let them know how you’re planning to spend it.

We have received some feedback from TRTA members who are receiving their letters from TRS that the letter indicates the taxes being withheld from the supplemental payment are zero. Many TRTA members have asked TRTA what this means and what they should do regarding tax withholding for this extra payment, asking if they should they set aside some funds to pay for those taxes at a later date.

The answer is that it will depend upon each individual’s circumstance, income and withholding. However, our members should know that this supplemental payment is considered income and will be taxed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at the end of the year. As a result, if TRS has not withheld taxes for that individual, it may require he or she to pay taxes later on. Retirees should consult with their financial advisor for any questions they may have about taxable income.

TRTA contacted TRS for an explanation, which appears in full below.

TRS Statement Regarding Tax Withholdings for the Supplemental Payment:

“We’ve been receiving some calls regarding the 13th check and tax withholding. Eligible annuitants have been receiving their notification letters of the 13th check that is on schedule to be issued September 10th– those with direct deposit will likely receive that day. Others will be mailed.

The supplemental payment is taxable by the IRS, and TRS withheld taxes from the supplemental payment in accordance with IRS rules. Therefore, TRS withheld income tax at the 2019 default rate, which is married with three allowances.

However, under federal law because the payments issued by TRS were less than $2033, there is no withholding required under the default withholding rate for payments issued to U.S. citizens or resident aliens. For payments to non-resident aliens, TRS withheld income at the required rate of 30% or according a tax treaty exemption, if the member provided a valid form W-8BEN to TRS.

TRS applied the default-withholding rate in an effort to get 13th checks issued to its members as quickly as possible and to comply with Senate Bill 12. Withholding at a default rate helped us accomplish that goal.

More information can be found by clicking this link.”