Payroll Legal Alert

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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Q: Are amounts paid for wellness programs and on-site medical clinics reportable in Box 12 of employees’ W-2s? Also, can you explain when dental and vision plan costs are reportable on Form W-2? What qualifies these benefits as “separate” plans?

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Nothing upsets your well-oiled Payroll machine more than the influx of summer hires and their paperwork. Use these tips to tame the summer hiring process.

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It’s a frequently recurring headache for employers and the IRS: Determining whether the value of frequent-flier miles employees accumulate when they travel on business is a tax-free fringe benefit or taxable compensation. Share this latest guidance with your colleagues in the payroll department.

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