Payroll Legal Alert

Under the employer play-or-pay provisions of the ACA, employers of at least 50 full-time employees must offer them affordable group health benefits that provide minimum value and cover a menu of benefits or pay free-rider penalties. This can put new employers and employers on the cusp of employing 50 full-time employees in a bind, since any growth in their payrolls may put them unexpectedly in the cross hairs. The final ACA play-or-pay regulations provide relief to these employers.

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Q: An employee will receive a noncash award worth $24,000. The federal income taxes owed will exceed the employee’s paycheck. Can the taxes be spread out over multiple pay periods?

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The IRS has concluded that for tax purposes, Bitcoins and other virtual currencies are property, not currency or legal tender. Upshot: You may choose to pay employees in Bitcoins, but you must peg your Bitcoins to U.S. dollars. And all the usual withholding, depositing (in U.S. dollars) and reporting rules apply, as well.

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Q: We process payroll for several companies. A new client says that company owners are exempt from all payroll taxes. Is there some law out there that we don’t know about?

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Performing general Payroll maintenance tasks is essential for your day-to-day operations. It’s also the key to a successful year end. Get started now!

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Q: We have an agreement with a former employee to continue to pay him quarterly bonuses for clients he referred to us. Can we issue him a Form 1099-MISC or are the payments considered wages, which must be reported on a Form W-2?

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State bans on same-sex marriage continue to be challenged in court. Here’s a chart to help you make sense of where states currently stand in this fast-changing area of the law.

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Q: A recently divorced employee refiled her Form W-4 to claim fewer withholding allowances. She included her name and address, but only the last four digits of her Social Security number (SSN). Payroll requested that she complete another form with her full SSN, but she balked, saying that wasn’t necessary, since the W-4 is an internal form only. Is this a valid form?

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June brides who take their husbands’ names and newly married couples who hyphenate their names must get new Social Security cards reflecting their new names. Reminder: Don’t change your payroll records until newlyweds show you their new Social Security cards.

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This is your monthly guide to critical payroll due dates.

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