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‘Fiscal cliff’ law bumps up education, commuter benefits

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

In the waning hours of New Year’s Day, Congress passed a bill averting a plunge off the “fiscal cliff,” setting 2013 tax rates—and providing an unexpected boost for employee training and commuter subsidies.

The law made permanent the Bush-era tax rates for all but the highest earners. It declined to extend the “payroll tax holiday,” which in 2011 and 2012 lowered em­­ployees’ share of the payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2%.   

But the law also included several benefit-plan provisions, including making permanent an employee tax exclusion for up to $5,250 in employer-­provided tuition assistance and more favorable tax status for mass transit passes.

For details on the new law and links to the new IRS tax tables, read "Fiscal cliff averted: New law sets 2013 withholding rates; 'payroll tax holiday' expires."

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