Payroll Legal Alert

Employees can take a lot of the guesswork out of their 2015 income tax liability by ensuring that their W-4s are accurate. Here are the 2015 standard deduction amounts.

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Q: An employee’s Social Security card lists her first name as “Michelle.” She says this is a mistake, and her name is really spelled “Mechelle.” When I told her that she needed to get a replacement Social Security card, she said that the Social Security Administration told her that she would need to first have her name changed in court before a replacement card could be issued. This sounds fishy to us. Does the SSA care about first names?

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The IRS made quite a splash when it concluded in an Affordable Care Act FAQ that all employers, regardless of size, that didn’t have a group health plan, and that instead reimbursed employees for their costs to buy health insurance either on or off the individual health exchange, would be liable for $36,500 in self-assessed excise taxes. We’ve taken some time to sort this all out.

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Whether the scare-mongers are right in predicting that the flu will decimate workplaces this winter is anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, the Fair Labor Standards Act has a lot to say about your sick-time policies.

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Use this worksheet to reconcile your four quarterly 941s and W-2s, so the amounts you report to the SSA and the IRS match.

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You have an extra weekend to ensure that employees’ W-2s are correct. Since Jan. 31 is a Saturday, employees must receive their W-2s by Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. The IRS must receive your fourth-quarter Form 941, and annual Forms 940, 944 and 945 by that date, too. Here’s what you need to do now.

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Under final tax regulations, employees who aren’t traveling away from home overnight, but who stay overnight at a local hotel, may have their substantiated lodging expenses reimbursed as a tax-free working condition fringe benefit, provided you have a bona fide reason to require them to stay overnight at the hotel.

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So-called excepted benefits—limited-scope dental and vision benefits—are exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s requirements to provide affordable group coverage that provides minimum value. Final ACA regulations modify those benefits, and add long-term care benefits and certain employee assistance plans into the excepted benefits category.

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This is your monthly guide to critical payroll due dates.

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It’s officially Payroll crunch time. The Social Security Administration is cracking down on employers that submit W-2/W-3 forms with errors … but you already have everything organized and ready to go, right?

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