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DOMA-related issues top IRS’ 2014 business plan

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in Office Management,Payroll Management

The 2013-2014 Priority Guidance Plan is the IRS’ road map for regulatory and administrative guidance it hopes to publish by June 30, 2014. Commonly referred to as “the business plan,” the IRS has loaded itself up with 324 projects.

Of course, like the release of the business plan itself, many projects will be pushed beyond the June 30 deadline. As usual, Payroll figures very prominently on the IRS’ agenda. Here’s what to expect.

DOMA’s demise. At a minimum, the U.S. Supreme Court’s sweeping decision in Windsor v. United States that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional means that same-sex married couples are entitled to federal spousal benefits on a tax-free basis regardless of where they live. The IRS needs to further clarify the scope of this decision. (See "IRS extends tax-free benefits to all same-sex married couples.")

Health care reform and other issues. Guidance related to health care reform also continues to be a hot topic. High on the list is guidance on the tax credit for small employers that provide health benefits, regulations on employers’ comparable contributions into employees’ health savings accounts, final regs on free-rider penalties and regs on non-W-2 information reporting. Related to health care reform, the IRS still says that final cafeteria plan regs are coming.

The IRS is also planning to issue guidance in these payroll-related areas:

  • Final regs on designating third parties to act as employers’ payroll agents
  • Guidance on the use of electronic forms of fare media (e.g., mass transit fare cards) to distribute qualified transportation fringe benefits
  • Guidance on employers obtaining employees’ consent prior to filing a FICA refund claim
  • Final regs on the conditions under which em­­ployers may reimburse employees who incur local lodging expenses (i.e., expenses incurred when employees aren’t traveling away from home overnight).

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