Payroll Legal Alert

Under the Affordable Care Act, open enrollment for the individual health exchanges, or HEXs, begins Oct. 1, 2013. The outlook for the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOPs, through which small employers may buy health insurance is a bit more complicated. Here’s where things stand.

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Under the IRS’ Voluntary Classification Settlement Program, you can voluntarily reclassify independent contractors as employees for future tax periods on favorable tax terms: you’ll be liable for just over 10% of the wages paid to those reclassified workers for the past year and no penalties or interest will be due. Recently updated FAQs shed more light on this program.

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Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals will be able to buy health insurance ­policies through individual health exchanges (HEXs). States may create their own HEXs, and may create SHOPs (Small Business Health Options Program). This chart summarizes the states’ current positions on HEXs, SHOPs and whether they will expand their Medicaid rolls.

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Employees who are exempt from the FLSA need only be paid a proportionate amount of their full, weekly salary for their first and last weeks of work if they begin or terminate employment work midweek. A federal trial court has ruled that employers have a great deal of discretion when figuring this proportionate amount.

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You can’t hire a third party, like a payroll service bureau, to handle your payroll unless you sign Form 8655, Reporting Agent Authorization. Along with that form, the reporting agent may also ask you to sign Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization. Caution: Don’t sign forms blindly.

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Q: Does the authorization that appears in Part 4 of Form 941 apply only to the specific form being filed, or to all returns filed during the tax year? We want to determine if this section must be completed on each return, even if none of the information changes.

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Q: When does the employer/employee relationship begin? My boss believes that relocation expenses don’t need to be reported on a W-2 form because they’re paid before an employee begins working.

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In late 2012, the NLRB ruled in an unfair labor practice case that when lump-sum back pay awards span more than one year, the employer must report the awards to the Social Security Administration and reimburse employees for the excess federal and state income taxes that are attributable to those awards.

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If you’re tempted to say that to the teenagers in your house, and thankful that someone else will be employing them this summer, remember that somewhere out there other parents are saying the very same thing to their teens. And you may end up employing them.

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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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