Payroll Legal Alert

The IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services have released a raft of proposed and final regulations that implement the Affordable Care Act health care reform law, which becomes fully operational in nine months.

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Enforcement. That was the word from John ­­Tuzynski, the IRS’ chief of employment tax policy, when he spoke at the American Payroll Asso­­cia­­tion’s mid-year Capital summit, held in Wash­­ing­­ton, D.C., March 10-14.

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State laws usually require that employees voluntarily participate in direct deposit or paycard programs. States may also allow paycard vendors to charge em­ployees fees, beginning with the second transaction. Here’s a chart that summarizes the states’ direct deposit/paycard rules.

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Q: An employee who’s in line for a quarterly bonus has presented Payroll with a form that requires us to treat the bonus as regular wages and withhold accordingly. It’s our policy to use the 25% flat withholding method on all supplemental pay. We’ve never seen a form like this before. Must we honor it?

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Employers that outsource their payrolls to third-party payroll providers have reported receiving phony emails referring to “Password Change Notification” or “First Notice—Digital Certificate Expiration.” It’s a scam.

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Q. A contractor would like us to voluntarily withhold her federal income taxes. Accounts Payable isn’t equipped to do this, so it’s fallen to Payroll. Having her complete a W-4 form seems inappropriate, since she’s not an employee. Can we honor her request?

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Undeposited payroll taxes can pile up so quickly that the IRS has a name for them—pyramiding. It also has a very effective solution: personally charging a company’s responsible persons with 100% of the undeposited taxes. Relief: an express installment agreement.

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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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The IRS has made several permanent and temporary changes to its Voluntary Classification Settlement Program. Under VCSP, 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; no penalties or interest will be due.

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Final regulations issued by the Department of Labor implement the FMLA’s military exigency and caregiver leave provisions and make some additional clarifying changes to the FMLA regs in general.

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