Payroll Legal Alert

Q: What’s the employer’s liability if, due to a mistake in entering the number of withholding allowances from an employee’s W-4 form into the payroll system, less than the requested amount was withheld?

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Sharing employee information among company departments, and even with outside vendors, usually makes life easier for you and your employees. However, in response to an inquiry, the DOJ concluded that an employer that sought to share ­employees’ Form I-9 or E-­Verify information with a paycard vendor may be violating the immigration laws.

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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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