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Payroll Legal Alert

Nowadays, IRS auditors ask for your electronic accounting records. But software files often contain data beyond the audit years, and software programs routinely create metadata for every data file created. So how do you keep the IRS from snooping around the personal and confidential business informations contained in those files?

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The Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’t require you to provide employees with meal breaks. It does require you to pay employees whose meal breaks last for fewer than 30 minutes and those who work through their meal breaks. However, 40 states do have laws covering meal and rest breaks. This chart summarizes those laws.

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$3,400: That’s how much the tax gap—the difference between what’s owed and what’s paid—costs every single taxpayer in extra taxes. And the figure is only growing. Proposals to close the tax gap were raised at a recent congressional hearing.

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Few eligible small employers are claiming the health care tax credit, despite the IRS’ numerous public relations efforts, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Among the reasons given for the low take-up rate: It took too long and it was too hard to claim the credit.

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The IRS has been busy adding to its regulatory agenda. Here’s the latest news from the regulations front.

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Anita Bartels, the IRS’ senior program analyst for employment tax policy, appeared at the American Payroll Association’s 30th Annual Congress, held this year in Orlando, Fla., to report on some major initiatives and to clarify others. Here’s the rundown on three hot payroll issues.

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By the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to let us know whether some or all of the Affordable Care Act health care reform law will stand—or be struck down. The highly anticipated decision notwithstanding, it’s a good idea to get your W-2 reporting ducks in a row now.

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It’s almost summer, and some lucky kids will be working in their families’ businesses. Sole proprietors and partnerships where both spouses are partners can get some special payroll tax breaks for hiring their kids. But, regardless of your business structure, you must follow a few rules to keep the IRS out of your hair.

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The Affordable Care Act health care reform law requires plan sponsors of self-insured plans, including self-insured plans that cover retirees, to pay fees to support medical research for seven years, beginning with plan years ending on or after Oct. 1, 2012. Sponsors of insured plans who offer employees HRAs and certain health FSAs must also pay the fees.

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Q: We reimburse employees for the cost of their cellphones, as well as their wireless coverage. Is the reimbursement for the cost of the cellphone taxable?

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