Payroll Legal Alert

Q: HR’s latest benefit is a computer purchase program, which is an interest-free loan. The guidelines state its purpose is to encourage employees to purchase up-to-date equipment, increase their comfort level with technology and extend those educational and personal benefits to their families. Employees can borrow up to $1,500, payable over 24 months via payroll deductions. We’re concerned with two aspects of this program …

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The IRS has pegged 317 projects in its annual Priority Guidance Plan, commonly called the business plan. While that’s down from last year’s 324 projects, many of them will have a substantial impact on your payroll operations.

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Instead of stuffing all your year-end duties into December, you’ll lighten the load considerably by completing some of these key tasks now.

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Completing Forms W-2/W-3, and getting them into the hands of employees and the Social Security Administration on time, is tough enough. Your stress is further compounded if you also handle Forms 1099-MISC for the company’s independent contractors. Here’s what you need to know for the upcoming 1099 filing season.

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This is your monthly guide to critical payroll due dates.

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Q: A new employee wants us to direct deposit her paychecks into a business bank account. She’s provided proof that she’s the signatory on the account. Is this OK?

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Q: The company pays bonuses to employees every fall. We’ve run across several 2014 W-4 forms on which employees claim an exemption from federal and state income tax withholding. Can we still withhold using the 25% flat supplemental withholding rate for federal purposes?

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Don’t forget daylight saving time’s effect on the payroll department.

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Cafeteria plans may, but aren’t required to, allow employees who experience a change in status (such as a change in marital status) to change or revoke their elections. The IRS has expanded the conditions under which cafeteria plans may allow employees to revoke their elections to participate in group health plans to account for individual coverage that’s available on the exchange, which may be a better deal for them.

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Under final ACA regulations, open enrollment for the 2015 plan year begins Nov. 15, 2014, for small employers that buy group health plans through the federally run Small Business Health Options Program. State-based SHOPs can set their own open enrollment periods.

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