Payroll Legal Alert

The IRS recently announced that it has begun conducting correspondence audits of employers that took the 6.2% Social Security tax credit authorized by the 2010 Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has concluded that the audit program remains error-prone, and that those errors affect taxpayers’ rights.

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April is the cruelest month not because it rains ­buckets, but because it’s time to file your first-quarter Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return. Here’s help for Payroll:

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A federal trial court has ruled that an auto body shop’s inside CPA/controller was personally responsible for 100% of its unpaid payroll taxes. It was enough, the court said, that the CPA had some authority over the company’s finances; exclusive authority wasn’t necessary.

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The IRS has retired Form 941-M, which is filed monthly by employers with serious payroll compliance problems. Also retired are the special deposit rules, which required deposits to be made into a special trust fund account within two banking days of payday.

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Q. A new employee was mistakenly paid through Accounts Payable for January, so no federal or state taxes were withheld from his pay. It’s still early in the year, so we’d like to take out the taxes that should have been withheld from later wage payments. But we don’t want to leave him with no net pay. According to our calculations, it should take us two months to withhold the additional taxes. Is this OK?

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Allowing wage-and-hour problems to fester can land you in hot water, which puts a premium on performing a self-audit of your company’s pay policies. But be aware that you may have to provide this so-called self-critical analysis to employees’ attorneys, should they sue you. Take these steps to minimize this possibility:

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A federal appeals court has ruled that an employee-tax protester can’t sue his employer and individual employees for withholding taxes. The court also rejected the employee’s Title VII claim that he was unlawfully terminated for complaining about the withholding.

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Under proposed regulations, staffing agencies that send health care workers into clients’ homes would be fully covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In-home health care workers who are employed by families would retain their FLSA exemption.

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Here are digests of recent benefits rulings that will affect your Payroll operations: 1. Payroll off the hook for CLASS Act withholding. 2. Compliance with summary of benefits and coverage rules postponed. 3. HRA reporting under the Medicare-as-secondary-payer rule.

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Employers that use the standard mileage rate to value employees’ personal use of company vehicles are restricted to supplying them with vehicles of modest value. For 2012, the value of company cars that qualify for the standard mileage valuation method is $15,900.

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