Payroll Legal Alert

In the movie “Groundhog Day,” the protagonist was destined to repeat the same day over and over again. If you’ll be e-filing your W-2s using the Social Security Administration’s EFW2 filing specs, you can avoid repeating filing mistakes by taking a stroll through this checklist.

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You’ve been withholding and reporting the 0.9% additional Medicare tax for a year now. Good news: With the exception of clarifying the procedure you use to request relief from paying any additional tax if employees paid the tax with their 1040 forms, final regulations make no changes to the proposed regs.

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Q: An employee carries a company-issued smartphone so he can respond to emergencies over the weekend. He can usually resolve an issue with a phone call. How should we pay him—for the time he’s responding to an emergency or for all the time he has the phone?

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Reflecting a drop in gas prices, the IRS’ standard mileage rate—which you may use to reimburse employees who drive their own cars on business—drops to 56¢ a mile for 2014, down from 56.5¢.

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You’re not out of the 2013 woods yet. In a Program Manager Technical Advice memorandum, the IRS explains that if you fail to provide employees with Forms W-2 and payees with Forms 1099, you can be socked with a penalty.

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You can go some way toward meeting the Affordable Care Act’s requirements that your group plan provide minimum value and is affordable by setting up health reimbursement accounts or health flexible spending accounts for employees. But according to new IRS guidance, these accounts must be integrated into your group health plan.

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The ABCs of HRAs, FSAs and HSAs: It can be difficult to pick your way through the alphabet soup of group health plan add-ons, such as HRAs, FSAs and health savings accounts (HSAs). To help you along, this chart lists the characteristics of these accounts and how the health care reform law affects each.

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Q: A new employee must now pay back money she received from her old employer as a Section 127 educational benefit. We will assume this debt as part of our hiring agreement. The hiring manager said that since this was originally a tax-free benefit, nothing is taxable. This doesn’t sound right to me. Who’s correct?

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NOTE: Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays as observed in the District of Columbia are taken into account to determine due dates. Under the federal deposit rules, you’re allowed a deposit shortfall of the greater of $100 or 2% of your tax liability.

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Regardless of what you call it, tips are amounts customers willingly determine and leave of their own accord; service charges, sometimes called automatic tips, are added to the bill. Tips are taxable when employees report them to their employers; service charges are immediately taxable. The IRS will begin enforcing this rule on Jan. 1, 2014.

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