Confused about a specific term or acronym? Solve the mysteries of terminology with this informative resource. Updated regularly with industry-specific vocabulary and concepts, the Glossary provides easy-to-understand definitions of tax-related terms.


DBA See Doing Business As.

DDA See Demand Deposit Account.

DDF See Direct Debit of Fees.

Debit (DR) A charge that usually refers to the charging of taxes, Direct Debit of Fees (DDF), or an employer payroll tax debit.

Debit Elect If taxes have been under-deposited in a quarter, the taxpayer can choose to pay the balance due in the next quarter if the taxing agency does not require a quarterly return.

Debit Filter Automatically returns all ACH items for a designated Client account, except those that are pre-authorized. Authorized ACH Originators (ADP) are identified by providing the bank with a specific Company Identifier (debit filter number).

Decision Written opinion of a Hearing Officer or panel of Judges, based upon testimony and documentation taken at a hearing, that determines if a former employee (claimant) is eligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits or if an employer is liable to pay benefits.

Deductions An amount that is or may be subtracted from an employee's paycheck. They can be taken pre-tax or after tax depending on the type of deduction. The employee must agree to have deductions withheld from their paycheck

Default Failure of a defendant to file an answer, response, or appeal in a civil case within a certain number of days after having been served with a summons and complaint.

Default Judgment Decision made by the court when a defendant fails to respond to a summons and complaint.

Defendant Person against whom a civil or criminal proceeding has been initiated.

Deferred Compensation Plan

Deferred compensation plans are employee benefit plans, authorized by various Internal Revenue Code Sections, under which employees may contribute a percentage of wages to tax deferred savings plans rather than receive the amounts as current compensation. The most commonly used deferred compensation plan is the 401(k) plan (so named for its IRC section).<br>

Employee contributions to 401(k) plans are exempt from federal income tax and, in some states, state income tax, withholding but are not exempt from FICA withholding. Employer contributions, made on behalf of the employee, are also exempt from federal income tax withholding. Contributions and earnings thereon accumulate tax free until distributed to the employee at retirement.

The maximum amount that an employee can elect to defer for 2000 under a 401(k) plan in which the employee participates is $10,500. The limit is adjusted annually for inflation. The amount that an employee may actually defer, however, is usually lower as typical plan terms limit contributions to the lower of a specified percentage of current wages or the statutory maximum.

No special permission is required from the IRS to implement a 401(k) plan but the regulations surrounding these types of plans are so voluminous and complicated that a qualification ruling is usually sought.

Deferred compensation plans have strict requirements as to eligibility, participation, vesting, nondiscrimination, withdrawal of funds, and annual reporting and legal advice should be sought in their institution.

Delinquent Account An employer's account is considered delinquent if any of the quarterly contribution and wage reports and/or unemployment taxes have not been submitted to the state agency by the prescribed due date.

Demand Deposit Account The bank account used by an ADP client for the charging of payroll liabilities.

De Minimis Fringe Benefit Any employer provided property or service having a value so small that accounting for it would be unreasonable or administratively impracticable, may be excluded from income as a "de minimis" fringe benefit.

Dependent A person who is claimed as a dependent must:

  • be a child of the employee who is either under 19 or a full-time student under 24, or
  • be a child of the employee who is a full-time student over 24 who is reasonably expected to receive less than $3,000 of income during the taxable year, or
  • be reasonably expected to receive less than $3,000 of income during the taxable year, or
  • be permanently and totally disabled and receive income for services performed at a sheltered workshop operated by a charity or government
  • receive more than half his support from the employee;
  • be a citizen, national, or resident of the United States, or a resident of Canada or Mexico, or an alien child adopted by and living with a United States citizen abroad;
  • and be either:

    (1) a child, grandchild, stepchild, parent, grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, in law, aunt, uncle, nephew, or niece of the employee, or

    (2) a member of the employee's household for the taxable year and have the employee's home as his principal place of abode; and not file a joint return.

Dependents' Allowance Special allowances provided under some State unemployment compensation laws to beneficiaries with family support responsibilities as defined under the statutory provisions of the laws.

Determination An official decision by the Employment Security Department regarding the unemployment claim of an individual or the tax status of an employer.

DI See Disability Insurance.

Direct Debit of Fees The charging of payroll fees through an ACH transaction.

Direct Deposit The electronic transfer of an employee’s net pay directly into financial institution accounts designated by the employee, thus avoiding the need to receive a "live" paycheck.

Direct Send A direct daily transmission established at a bank to accelerate the posting of debit and credits and to obtain improved information on returned items.

Direct Wire Transfer See Wire Transfer.

Disability Insurance (DI) A monetary compensation plan provided by the government and/or an employer to support employees who are disabled due to illness or injury.

Disposable Income Earnings minus deductions required by law to be withheld. These required deductions include the following

  • Federal, state, and local taxes
  • Mandatory union dues or retirement/pension plan contributions (such as for government workers), if allowed for a particular lien type and jurisdiction
  • Any additional earnings or deductions specified on the lien notification
Note: Other lien deductions, such as support payments, are not considered “deductions required by law” unless specified on the lien notification

Disqualification State law specifies claimants are disqualified from benefits for a definite or indefinite period. These include voluntarily leaving employment without good cause; discharge for misconduct, felony, or gross misdemeanor; misrepresentation; refusal to work; participating in a labor dispute which results in work stoppage; and full-time attendance at school.

District Manager (DM) Refers to an ADP sales associate.

Divestiture When an employer sells all or part of its business to an unrelated entity.

Division A part of a company not filing under it's own federal and state account numbers. It is possible to have several divisions in one state under the same account number. (Also see: Subsidiary)

DM See District Manager.

Doing Business As (DBA) The name under which an individual or business operates.

DR See Debit.

Duration of Benefits The number of weeks of benefits a claimant may receive. May be expressed in total dollars available