Payroll Legal Alert

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is a busy time for many companies. Questions regarding overtime, holiday pay and temporary hires often arise. You don’t have to play Scrooge this holiday season if you know the rules.

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Question: The company sent employees to a seminar. The hosting organization gave each attendee an iPad. Are the iPads company-provided gifts, which must be valued, taxed to employees and reported on their W-2 forms?

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States have their own W-2 e-filing thresholds and specifications. Here’s a chart summarizing those requirements. Note: Some states didn’t release their W-2 e-filing information before this article was published. To get full details, contact your state tax department.

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Question: Door prizes at our wellness fair included gift cards. We know that employees who receive gift cards are taxed on those amounts, but what about spouses—are gift cards taxable to employees and reportable on their W-2s if their spouses win prizes?

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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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Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour, to standard time, at 2 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 3.

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Uncle Sam has released new cost-of-living adjustments affecting Social Security tax withholding and retirement plans for 2014.

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This open enrollment season may prove to be the most challenging in years, thanks primarily to two converging forces: the Affordable Care Act and the fact that employees barely understand their health benefits anyway. You can burnish your reputation in the company by having answers to employees’ questions.

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Many Payroll departments get hit with the double whammy of having to prepare Forms 1099-MISC for the company’s independent contractors, in addition to employees’ W-2s. Reminder: If you file 250 or more 1099-MISC forms you must file them electronically through the IRS’ FIRE system.

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Fail to deposit your payroll taxes on time and the IRS can go after anyone in the company it considers to be a responsible person. The IRS recently lost its bid to hold an office manager responsible after a federal trial court ruled that whether she was a responsible person was a matter for a jury to decide.

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