Payroll Legal Alert

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the IRS has issued a package of payroll, 401(k) and individual tax relief measures. This relief applies to individuals and businesses located in the disaster area, and to those whose tax records are located in the disaster area.

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In the waning hours of New Year’s Day, Congress passed legislation averting a plunge off the “fiscal cliff” and making permanent Bush-era tax rates for all but the highest earners. Now employers can finally make concrete plans for their 2013 payroll operations.

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The IRS has named the states that will be subject to FUTA credit reductions for 2012 FUTA taxes. FUTA credit reductions arise when states borrow from the federal government to pay regular unemployment benefits and fail to timely repay the loans.

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Question: Three retirees receive monthly pension checks. Two have stopped cashing them and the post office keeps returning the other retiree’s check as undeliverable. We’ve searched the obituaries and looked in our old HR files for their next of kin, but we’ve come up empty. We have to provide Forms 1099-R to them by the end of this month. What do we do?

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Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of employer service liaison officers.

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Corporate HR departments love nontraditional benefits—perks other than leave, health insurance and retirement benefits—because they’re generally cheap and build loads of employee good will. But many so-called lifestyle benefits are taxable, much to HR’s chagrin.

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Employers should continue to use 2012 withholding tables and personal exemption amounts until further notice.

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The standard mileage rate, which you may use to reimburse employees who drive their own cars on business, increases one penny to 56.5 cents a mile for 2013. You can also use the standard mileage rate to value employees’ personal use of moderately priced company cars.

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The Fair Labor Standards Act is generally a fairly straightforward law—for most of the year. But winter weather—and the delays and closures that sometimes accompany it—can make wage-and-hour compliance more difficult.

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Under the health care reform law, employers of 50 or more full-time em­ployees during the preceding year will pay free-rider penalties if they don’t offer full-time em­­ployees (i.e., those who work at least 30 hours a week) affordable health benefits. How you determine full-time status is the subject of new IRS guidance.

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