Payroll Legal Alert

The ABCs of HRAs, FSAs and HSAs: It can be difficult to pick your way through the alphabet soup of group health plan add-ons, such as HRAs, FSAs and health savings accounts (HSAs). To help you along, this chart lists the characteristics of these accounts and how the health care reform law affects each.

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Q: A new employee must now pay back money she received from her old employer as a Section 127 educational benefit. We will assume this debt as part of our hiring agreement. The hiring manager said that since this was originally a tax-free benefit, nothing is taxable. This doesn’t sound right to me. Who’s correct?

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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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Regardless of what you call it, tips are amounts customers willingly determine and leave of their own accord; service charges, sometimes called automatic tips, are added to the bill. Tips are taxable when employees report them to their employers; service charges are immediately taxable. The IRS will begin enforcing this rule on Jan. 1, 2014.

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Question: Employees have three retirement incentives from which to choose: The company picks up their health benefit contributions for three years, they can take a lump-sum payment that equals our single premium rate for up to three years or they can keep their current health benefits and get a prorated cash payout. What’s reportable on their W-2s?

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Question: An employee who was let go last month requested an early 2013 W-2. I know we have 30 days to comply with his request. What notation should we put on the form to show that it’s not an “official form”?

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Holiday catalogs have been piling up on your entry hall table for quite some time now. So it must be getting down to W-2 crunch time for Payroll. Here’s the scoop on what you need to know to ensure a smooth W-2 process.

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Since you don’t have an elf to take care of all the December year-end payroll details, you have to do it yourself. Here’s help getting started.

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The demise of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) means that employers and same-sex married em­­­ployees are in line for payroll tax refunds. To expedite the process, the IRS is providing three optional streamlined refund procedures.

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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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