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Posts Tagged ‘E-Verify’

USCIS annually disposes of E -Verify records that are 10 years old or older

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

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USCIS must dispose of E-Verify records that are over ten years old – those dated on or before December 31, 2007.  E-Verify encourages you to record the E-Verify case verification number on the relating Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, and to retain the Historic Records Report with Form I-9. For more information and guidance on downloading the Historic Records Report, see the Fact Sheet and Instructions to Download the Report. For more information on Form I-9 compliance, please refer to our Employer Resource Center.

 

 

 

 

Employee Notifies that I-9 Documents Previously Submitted were not Genuine: What’s an Employer to do?

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

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The OSC publishes responses to  TAL Letters (Technical Assistance Letters) that they receive from attorneys, employers and other stakeholders.  USCIS identifies this circumstance in the I-9 Employer Handbook as an employee who comes forward and indicates that their identity is now different than previously represented (Hmm…)  and now wants to “regularize” their employment record.  Or, what do you do if you become aware, for instance, that a social security number associated with a particular employee was not legally assigned?

Discussion starts on page 2.

OSC’s TAL implies that if an employer has not consistently-followed a policy of terminating individuals for providing false information during the hiring process, it couldn’t use that policy to justify a termination in this particular scenario.  Even if the employer did consistently terminate individuals who were dishonest during the hiring process, OSC implied that this was not necessarily a slam dunk argument either. It is important to note that OSC did not commit itself by concluding that such a termination under the circumstances would not constitute discrimination or be deemed to be a valid legitimate non-discriminatory reason for termination. It simply stated it would depend on the facts and circumstances.  Before you go down this road, remember –the USCIS Handbook for Employers provides that “Where an employee has worked for you using a false identity but is currently work authorized, the I-9 rules do not require termination of employment.”

There’s also guidance regarding this for DACA employees that you might wish to review.  For more on I-9 compliance please refer to our Employer Resource Center

 

 

 

 

E-Verify Announces Major Proposed Changes

Friday, July 17th, 2015

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USCIS released details of proposed new changes to the E-Verify program on June 8, 2015 that were published this week.  The notice, found here, proposes several changes to E-Verify and seeks public comments until August 7, 2015 and links to new Q&A.   These changes will affect all employer users, including Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) contractors.

The three critical changes entail:

1)  Requirement that employers re-verify the continuing work authorization of employees within three “Employer” days of the expiration of the employee’s “last” grant of work authorization.

a)  This requirement tracks the current continuing duty of employers to re-verify expiring work authorization of employees in Section 3 of the I-9 form or, in the alternative, to complete a new I-9.

b)  This differs from the I-9 process in that the E-Verify time frame for re-verification of the employment authorization is three days after its expiration, whereby the I-9 regulations state that an employer re-verify the expiring work authorization of an employee on or before the day it expires. In E-Verify, the proposed process cannot be started until after the expiration of the employment authorization.

c)  The re-verification requirement extends to employees hired before an employer began participating in the E-Verify program. Thus, the proposed change would require that employers re-verify an employee’s expiring work authorization regardless of whether they have previously created an E-Verify case for that employee or not. This again differs from the current E-Verify program rules that explicitly prohibit an employer verifying the work authorization of employees hired before the employer began participating in the program (with the exception of FAR E-Verify employers).

2)  Requirement that employers print the re-verification confirmation page and retain it along with an employee’s I-9 records or record the E-Verify re-verification case number on the employee’s I-9 Form.

3)  Provides a process for employees to seek review of E-Verify Final-Nonconfirmations.

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Immigration Compliance Group provides US inbound visa services to individuals and employers throughout the USA and abroad. We specialize in business immigration and have a depth of experience in the IT, healthcare, arts, entertainment and sports industries, amongst others. Our services include complex business visas for investors, multinational managers, skilled professionals, outstanding individuals of high achievement and PERM Labor Certification. We additionally provide employer compliance consulting services on proper I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) management, auditing, training, and work with our clients to develop a culture of immigration compliance.

 

OSC Responds to E-Verify Concerns Regarding TX Executive Order RP-80

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

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The OSC responds to inquiry clarifying possible E-Verify conflict between the obligations that TX state contractors and certain TX state agencies have under federal E-Verify with the TX Executive Order RP-80 that requires state contractors use E-Verify for “all persons employed during the contract term to perform duties within TX”.

The OSC letter qualifies the following 2 issues:

1)  Whether TX state contractors (who are not federal contractors) may disregard the terms of RP-80 by choosing to E-Verify only new hires; and

2)  Whether a TX state agency may E-Verify current and prospective employees

USCIS has advised TX employers that federal E-Verify regulations are in effect at all times. Under federal E-Verify rules, most employers using E-Verify may only create E-Verify cases for new hires. Federal E-Verify rules provide an exception for employers enrolled in E-Verify as federal contractors. They must create cases in E-Verify for new hires and for existing employees performing work under the federal contract (if the employer has not already created a case for the employee), and may choose an option to create cases in E-Verify for all employees of the contractor.

 

E-Verify Records Retention and Disposal | I-9 Webinars On-Demand

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

As of January 1, 2015, E-Verify will begin disposing of E-Verify records that are over 10 years old. In order to retain case information, E-Verify employers may download and save the new “Historic Records Report.”  If you want a record of your cases that are more than 10 years old, you must download the new Historic Records Report before December 31, 2014.  The report will include all transaction records for cases more than 10 years old.  The report is only available until December 31, 2014.

NOTE – this Report will ONLY BE AVAILABLE from October 1, through December 31, 2014.  The Fact Sheet provides more information as to how to proceed to download applicable E-Verify records.

If you were not using E-Verify on or before December 31, 2004, you do not need to download the report. There will be no records to report.  Note that E-Verify will continue this practice on an annual basis.

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USCIS Now Offering I-9 Webinars On-Demand

On September 25, 2014, USCIS published the first Form I-9 Webinar On – Demand. Now you can watch the free Form I-9 webinar at any time.
Choose the chapters of your choice or watch the entire 22 minute video in one sitting. You will see how to complete Sections 1, 2 and 3, best practices
and much more. It’s a great training tool. Visit I-9 Central to learn more and view other videos in the multi-media section.

Form I-9 Webinar on Demand | USCIS uscis.gov

 

New Information: I-9/E-Verify FAQ’s between AILA and ICE/HSI

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

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The following are excerpts from a meeting between the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA) and ICE/HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) from November 19, 2013 that represents some material changes in regulations concerning several important issues such as pre-population, how many violations per I-9 is permitted, E-Verify and new hires, and more, as follows:

Electronic I-9s

 AILA Question: In the January 2013 liaison meeting with AILA, and again in April 2013, ICE HSI indicated that pre-population of Section 1 of an electronic Form I-9 did not comply with regulations. In the April 2013 liaison meeting with AILA, USCIS confirmed that pre-population of Section 1 in an electronic Form I-9 was not acceptable, regardless of whether the company’s representative signed the translation section.  AILA has received information indicating that HSI has recently announced that it has no position on pre-population of Section 1 of an electronic I-9.  Can HSI please clarify for AILA what its current position on pre-population is? Does HSI consider pre-population acceptable under certain circumstances? What are those circumstances?

ICE Response: What may constitute “pre-population” varies substantially. In reviewing any specific pre-population practice, ICE will examine the company’s practices overall to determine
whether a violation occurred and a sanction should be imposed.

How many Notices of Inspection did HSI serve in 2013?

ICE Response: ICE served 3,100 NOIs.

Multiple penalties for single I-9

AILA Question: AILA members have reported that employers have been assessed separate fines for every error on one Form I-9. In other words, a Form I-9 with five errors will generate a fine that is five times more than a Form I-9 with one substantive error. OCAHO cases and ICE’s “Form I-9 Inspection Overview” Fact Sheet indicate that “the standard fine amount” is calculated against each Form I-9 with substantive violations, regardless of the number of substantive violations on the Form I-9. Please confirm that a form with one substantive error would generate the same fine as a form with five substantive errors in the same Form I-9 audit.

ICE Response: There can only be two violations per Form I-9: (1) a knowing hire, continuing to employ violation; and/or (2) a paperwork violation. Only one paperwork violation should be assessed per Form I-9. If more than one paperwork violation per I-9 is cited, attorneys should raise the issue with the ASAC or SAC.

Pervasive single error on I-9s: AILA Question:  We frequently work with employers who due to a training error make the same error on the Form I-9 (such as repeatedly omitting the List C issuing authority). As it is one pervasive error, it does not indicate the more pervasive problems or potential disregard for the verification process, as would employers whose forms I-9 have many different errors. Would HIS consider adjusting its penalty matrix or making some other accommodation to take into account the fact that one common mistake on multiple Forms I-9 should not lead to the same penalty as different or multiple mistakes on the same number of multiple Forms I-9?

ICE Response: ICE is considering this issue. ICE acknowledged that one pervasive error on multiple I-9s seems like a different level of violation than wide-ranging multiple errors. ICE agreed to consider ways to address this.

I-9s for owners of closely held corporations. AILA Question: The OCAHO decision in Santiago Repacking, 10 OCAHO No. 1153 (Aug. 24, 2012) held that an owner in a closely-held corporation, who also works there and draws a paycheck, does not need to have an I-9 form. Please confirm that HSI follows this decision.

ICE Response: ICE stated that it follows all OCAHO decisions.

NOI Notices

AILA Question: The current NOI notices include language that suggests that HSI will require employers to provide access to their electronic I-9 systems. Is this a current practice? If so, what have been the results of these audits? Has HSI considered any employer’s I-9s to be uniformly invalid due to non-compliance of the electronic system used, or does HSI determine whether the electronic I-9s have substantive/technical deficiencies on a case-by-case basis for each I-9?

ICE Response: In some cases ICE has asked the employer to provide a live demonstration, not just a canned demonstration. This applies to both commercially available software and in-house applications.

E-Verify Q&A

Roll-over of employer data. AILA Question: At recent meetings, USCIS has informed AILA that future releases of E-Verify would enable an employer who terminates its MOU (at least for reasons of merger or change in designated agent) to have continued access to its prior E-Verify records and allow transfer of historical data to the updated account. What is the status of this development? If an employer with a terminated MOU needs access to historical E-Verify information, what is the process for obtaining it?

USCIS Response: There is currently no mechanism for an employer to continue to have access to E-Verify data after termination of an MOU.  Once an account is closed, all access to the account and its associated records are terminated. USCIS is developing a method and/or feature for the retention of historical E-Verify data, but there is no tentative date set for this enhancement. At this time, the best workaround to preserve E-Verify records is for the employer and E-Verify Employer Agent to create and retain a complete user audit report for themselves and their clients. From within the Administrator’s functions, an employer can create an Excel spreadsheet with all of the information.  Note that this report would not relieve the employer’s responsibility under the MOU for either copying the E-Verify receipt number on the Form I-9 or attaching the E-Verify record to the form.

AILA Question: What if an electronic I-9 vendor or Employer Agent goes out of business: can an employer have direct access to the information?

USCIS Response: Under data privacy rules, E-Verify is required to “archive” old data, which essentially means that the data is no longer available. The protocol anticipates archiving at the ten year anniversary of data collection, but so far, only pre-1996 data is subject to immediate archive.  Eventually all E-Verify data will be subject to archiving rules. Verification recommends as a best practice that employers print-out and retain the E-Verify records.

E-Verify and Re-hires

AILA Question: It appears that Verification recognizes that an E-Verify query is not always necessarily a rehire situation where the employer is allowed under I-9 regulations at 8 CFR §274a.2(c)(1)(i) to continue to rely on the re-hired employee’s original I-9.  The following guidance is posted in E-Verify FAQs:

Do I need to create a case in E-Verify if my company rehires an employee?

If you rehire a former employee within three years of his or her previous hire date, you may rely on the information on his or her previous Form I-9.  If you rehire an employee for whom you never created an E-Verify case and the employee’s and the employee’s previous Form I-9 lists an expired identity document (List B), then you may either:

–  Complete Section 3 of the employee’s previous Form I-9 and not create a new case for the employee in E-Verify or

–  Complete a new Form I-9 for the employee and create a new case for the employee in E-Verify

See the Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274) for more   information on rehires.  The above guidance, however, does not address the proper way for an employer to treat employees in the most common rehire circumstances – (1) where the rehired employee was not subject to E-Verify at the time of the original hire; and (2) where a rehired employee was previously run through E-Verify and does NOT have an expired identity document. The current guidance suggests, but does not state explicitly, that an E-Verify query based on the rehire date is required in situation (1) and that an employer should not re-query the rehired employee in (2). It was suggested that USCIS provide further clarification to the E-Verify rules for rehired employees and suggested the following amendment to the FAQ as follows:

An employer may rely on previous E-Verify queries for rehired employees in certain circumstances.  If you rehire a former employee within three years of his or her previous hire date, you may rely on the original Form I-9 as long as the work authorization (List C) documentation originally presented by the employee is still valid. If the rehire date is more than three years from completion of the original I-9, or if the employee’s work authorization has since expired, you must complete a new I-9 and run a new E-Verify query using the rehire date as the date of hire.  For purposes of E-Verify, where the employer can rely on the original I-9 and the rehired employee was subject to an earlier E-Verify query, you may continue to rely on the earlier query. If the rehired employee was not previously subject to an E-Verify query and the employee’s identity document is still valid, you may run the E-Verify query based on the data in the original I-9, but using the rehire date as the E-Verify hire date. If, however, the rehired employee’s identity document (List B) has expired, you cannot run an E-Verify query as the system will not accept expired documents. In that case, then you may either:

– Complete Section 3 of the employee’s previous Form I-9 and not create a new case for the employee in E-Verify or

– Complete a new Form I-9 for the employee and create a new case for the employee in E-Verify,  using the rehire date as the E-Verify hire date.

USCIS Response: USCIS updated the rehire section in the newest version of the E-Verify user manual and now provides the following guidance:

If you never created a case in E-Verify for the employee, you must have the employee complete a new Form I-9 and create a case in E-Verify. If you previously created an E-Verify case, but did not receive an employment authorized result, you must have the employee complete a new Form I-9 and create a case in E-Verify.  If you previously created a case in E-Verify for the rehired employee and received an employment authorized result, complete Section 3 of the employee’s previous Form I-9 and do not create a new case for the employee in E-Verify. Alternatively, you may choose to complete a new Form I-9 and create a case for the employee in E-Verify.  Employers are reminded that if you rehire your employee within three years of the date that the initial Form I-9 was completed, you may complete a new Form I-9 for your employee or complete Section 3 of the previously completed Form I-9. If more than three years has elapsed since the initial Form I-9 was completed, employers must complete a new Form I-9 for a rehired employee and create a case in E-Verify for the rehired employee.

That’s all for now.  We will continue to update as announcements are made concerning new interpretations concerning I-9/E-Verify compliance matters.

Compliance Audits are Recommended for Employers at the Beginning of the New Year

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

SSCard_iStock_000008528169_ExtraSmall (2)DHS/ICE continues to issue Notices of Intent to Fine (NOFs) at an unprecedented rate for Form I-9 related infractions.  Mistakes occur in the I-9 process, it’s inevitable.  While establishing a written compliance policy, training and careful prevention is the best approach.  All employers should take time at the beginning of each year to conduct an internal audit and self-examination of their systems, operating procedures, and past and present practices for handling I-9s, as well as to access training needs for the employees charged with handling and supervising the I-9 process.  We also recommend that you review your E-Verify submissions, as well as revisiting just how compliant your I-9 software really is with your vendor if you are using an electronic system.

While there are many checklists and do-it-yourself guides and webinars available on the Internet and elsewhere, consulting a licensed attorney or specialist in the field who is familiar with I-9 and E-Verify compliance issues can save employers hours of research, provide a solution tailored to your organization, and save you thousands of dollars in fines and penalties should ICE knock on your door.

When ICE notifies an employer of their intention to perform an audit, it opens the door for an onslaught of inquiries and investigation from other government agencies that range from SSA mis-match issues to Department of Labor (DOL) wage and hour, USCIS, IRS, and more if you have areas of incompliance in your operating procedures.  This is not the time during an audit when under pressure to clean up compliance problems.

New employers are often more at risk because many are not even aware of the I-9 requirement, and probably are also unaware of the need for all employees to complete the I-9 Form.  Some are aware, but they lack knowledge concerning the regulations that govern the form; such as, timeframes, acceptable documents, form retention, and other important details that are integral to the process. Particularly, there are problems with industries such as IT consulting, healthcare, staffing agencies, and other organizations with multiple locations in regard to completing the I-9-Form remotely with the employer’s designated agent and employee in different locations.   

These are just a few reasons why we urge you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your present compliance program, and start the New Year fresh with a renewed commitment to implement best practices that will provide the foundation upon which you can develop and maintain a more compliant business and workforce.

You might be interested in joining our LinkedIn group, I-9/E-Verify: Smart Solutions for Employers,” and signing up to receive via RSS feed or email our Blog posts.

E-Verify Update —–New/Revised MOU’s Released

Friday, November 29th, 2013

NEWS_iStock_000015711880XSmallOn December 8, 2013 E-Verify will release new and revised Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that are tailored to each access method.

The changes were made in response to customer feedback and to update the MOUs with policy and process changes. Users will find that the new versions have more plain language and are easier to understand, with new titles that clearly identify the access method to which the MOU applies, and bullets that have been changed to letters and numbers to make searching and citation easier. Also, the lengthy sections have been broken up.

Please take the time to review and become familiar with the new MOU’s that apply to your access method; refer to the Fact Sheet and the preview of the new MOUs hereYou can also access this information under “View Essential Resources” by logging into E-Verify to review the new and revised MOUs.

What you need to know

  • Current E-Verify users will not be required to execute a new MOU, but are bound by any and all enhancements to the E-Verify program including the new or revised MOUs that apply to their access method. Current users should become familiar with the new or revised MOU that applies to them.  The effective date of the MOU for existing users is January 8, 2014.
  • The E-Verify enrollment process has not changed.  New Users will review and execute the new or revised version of the MOU that applies to their access method during enrollment.  The effective date of the MOU for new users is December 8, 2013.
  • The new and revised MOUs include several updated provisions such as enhanced privacy protections and instructions for reporting privacy and security breaches.

 Revised Memorandums of Understanding

TeleConferences

 Two teleconferences will be hosted by USCIS to introduce and discuss the revisions schedule as follows: 

 1)     For General Audience:  December 11(Wed.) 2:30 – 3:30 EST.  Will discuss the revisions made to the existing MOU’s and will open up for Questions.  Register here 

2)     For E-Verify Users:  December 12 (Thurs.), 2:30 – 3:30 EST.  USCIS officials will provide an overview of the three new MOUs for Web service participants, and be available to answer questions. Register here

If you have any questions regarding the registration process, or if you have not received confirmation email within two business days, please email us at Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov.

 

E-Verify Now Open and Provides Instructions on Shutdown Issues for New Hires, TNCs and FNCs

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

E-Verify has resumed operations following the federal government shutdown. All E-Verify features and services are now available.

The following information addresses questions on how the federal government’s shutdown affected E-Verify and Form I-9.

Information For Employers

Form I-9

The Form I-9 requirements were not affected during the federal government shutdown. All employers must complete and retain a Form I-9 for every person hired to work for pay in the United States during the shutdown.

E-Verify

Employees who received a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC)

If an employee had a TNC referred between September 17, 2013 and September 30, 2013 and was not able to resolve the TNC due to the federal government shutdown, add 12 federal business days to the date printed on the ‘Referral Letter’ or ‘Referral Date Confirmation.’ Employees have until this new date to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resolve their cases. If you have an employee who decided to contest his or her TNC while E-Verify was unavailable, you should now initiate the referral process in E-Verify. Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because of a TNC.

Employees who received a SSA Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) or DHS No Show result

If an employee received a Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) or No Show because of the federal government shutdown, please close the case and select “The employee continues to work for the employer after receiving a Final Nonconfirmation result,” or “The employee continues to work for the employer after receiving a No Show result.” The employer must then enter a new case in E-Verify for that employee. These steps are necessary to ensure the employee is afforded the opportunity to timely contest and resolve the Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) that led to the FNC result.

Creating Cases: Three-Day Rule

You must create an E-Verify case for each employee hired during or otherwise affected by the shutdown by November 5, 2013. If you are prompted to provide a reason why the case is late (i.e., does not conform to the three-day rule), select ‘Other’ from the drop-down list of reasons and enter ‘federal government shutdown’ in the field. Federal Contractor

Deadlines

During the federal government shutdown, federal contractors could not enroll or use E-Verify as required by the federal contractor rule. If your organization missed a deadline because E-Verify was unavailable or if it has an upcoming deadline for complying with the federal contractor rule, please follow the instructions above and notify your contracting officer of these instructions.

Information For Employees

If the federal government shutdown prevented you from contesting a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC), you will be allowed additional time to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If your TNC was referred between September 17, 2013 and September 30, 2013, and you were not able to resolve the mismatch due to the federal government shutdown, you should:

  • Add 12 federal business days to the date printed on the ‘Referral Letter’ or ‘Referral Date Confirmation’ that your employer provided you after you contested the TNC. Federal business days are Monday through Friday and do not include federal holidays.
  • Contact SSA or DHS by the new date to resolve your TNC.

If you received a Final Non-Confirmation (FNC) because you could not contact DHS or SSA during the federal government shutdown, or because you could not contact DHS or SSA in the first ten days after the government reopened, please contact your employer and request that the employer re-enter your query. For more information about contesting your TNC or FNC, please refer to Employee section of the E-Verify website.

Customer Support

E-Verify Customer Support expects an increase in requests for assistance. Due to this increase, customers may experience longer than normal delays and response times. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience. For any questions or additional information about how the federal shutdown affects E-Verify, please email E-Verify@dhs.gov. For questions about Form I-9, please visit I-9 Central or email I-9Central@dhs.gov. Employers and employees may also contact E-Verify at 888-464-4218. Customer Support representatives are available Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm local time.

If you would like to become a client of our office or have any questions psertaining to this blog post, please give us a call.

 

 

Form I-9 Processing for DACA Recipients

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

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On June 15, 2012, President Obama signed a memo calling for deferred action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and have pursued education or military service here. Applications under the program which is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) began on August 15, 2012. Individuals that meet particular criteria, are awarded employment authorization (a/k/a an “EAD Card”) by USCIS.

USCIS does not alert employers when EAD cards have been issued to existing employees, and the employee is under no obligation to present the document to the employer. However, should they do so, the employer is obligated to examine the document. 

The Attached Fact Sheet identifies the employer’s obligations during the Form I-9 process and provides specific guidance to employers on the treatment of EADs issued by USCIS to DACA recipients, whether they be current employees who come forward on their own, or new hires.

Note that DACA guidance does not direct employers to perform E-Verify queries on current employees who present DACA work authorization.  Rather, it states that employers should complete a new Form I-9 and perform an E-Verify query in certain situations involving material changes to identity information.  More on this topic can be found in the new M-274 Handbook on pages 23-24.

Should you like to become a client of our office or have particular questions pertaining to this topic, please feel free to contact us.